And, for the first time in years -- we've come really close to having snow for Christmas! This is the whitest December in over ten years or more for us. We've had two really beautiful, classic-looking snowfalls. The latest one came with this huge front moving across the US last week and has stayed. We're still white outside, but it's warming up today and the forecast says rain. We may not have the snow on Christmas, but it came very close this time! These pictures are from a few days ago, but it still looks just like this!
Just click through the slideshow photos below to see our whole two acres covered in snow!
It's the time of year for the fun Christmas in July gift exchange on the Disney Pin Forum! Being a Secret Santa is a lot of fun, and they have exchanges in December and July. Lizzy and I have been working away on our boxes and mailing out today. Well, my package from my own Secret Santa just arrived! This was such a special package, too! Everything just such thoughtful gifts. They all arrived in very festive wrapping . . .
And there was even a package for Nanea (who has a Hawaiian/Aulani pin collection of her own). She was pretty excited!
She opened her package first, of course. It's a gorgeous Aulani Resort pin that she's had in the Want List for ages! This is going to be a lovely addition to her little board.
The other things were equally wonderful. There was a pack of Star Wars Itty Bitty pins from Hallmark that Elizabeth and I have been trying to trade for for a long time. Just look at how cute that little Han Solo is!
There were some great Mickey patches and a ribbon to use in some kind of craft. This is going to be fun!
And the most amazing book!! It's the travel-version of the Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, which I can see getting a lot of use around here.
What a bright spot in the week! This was some really fun and thoughtful mail. A big thank you to my Secret Santa!
Here we are, down in Florida and visiting at Gramma's house! We've already gotten to go to Disney Springs for some pin trading -- and that means a little souvenir shopping, too. I thought I'd post a review about the 18" plush Beast from Beauty and the Beast. I just had to have this for my bed, so we picked one up at The World of Disney on Thursday. There was a whole bin of them to choose from, and the gift card that I got for Christmas kept me from balking at the $40.00 price tag. I mean, how often to you come across a real plush Beast? And he's one of my favourite Disney characters.
The following day (Friday) we decided to pop into the Disney outlet store that is a few miles from Disney Springs. Boy, were we surprised (and thrilled) to see a whole display of 18" plush Beasts for only $17.99. Wow! So, I set about picking one with a happy face and noticed that he had much nicer fur than the one I'd picked the day before. Not bad. The hang tag was different, so I figured these plush were the previous versions. We were all really surprised to compare them when we came home, so I took some pictures before returning the first one.
In all the photos, the first edition Beast (found at the Outlet Mall) is on the left --- and the later edition found at World of Disney is on the right.
Notice the very visible differences in their heads and faces! The earlier Beast has very nice long fur that covers his head, just like Beast in the movie. The later edition plush has shorter fur, and there is none on the top of his head at all. The first Beast also has a sculpted face with cheeks and plush teeth and mouth. The second Beast has a flat face with appliqued polyester fabric teeth and mouth.
The jackets appear to be the same blue velvet (see photos in the slideshow below), but the bodies and vests have some major differences. Beast's legs are made of black fabric to look like his pants, and on the first edition of Beast (left) the pants are a really nice black velvet. On the second edition Beast the pants are a cheaper black polyester -- the type that plush animals you'll win at a fair or in a game machine are made from. Also, first edition Beast has a torso made of matching brown fabric to look like the colour of his fur. The yellow vest is a nice yellow velvet. On second edition Beast the torso is the vest, and it's made of the same cheap polyester (only in yellow) as the pants. This makes his torso and legs one piece, sewn to look like he has clothes on. On first edition Beast, the decorative "brooch" on the neck scarf is a sewn piece with embroidered decoration. On second edition Beast this "brooch" is a flat piece of material (un-hemmed) tacked to the scarf.
Another big difference can be seen on the arms. On first edition Beast, his hands and arms are all one piece made of a very nice velvet-type plush fabric with stuffed plush claws. On second edition Beast, the hand is the nice velvet-type fabric with the arm being made of the cheap polyester fabric like the pants and vest. His claws are also just pieces of stiffened felt.
And you can see the same differences in the claws on his feet. Also, first edition Beast has stitching to sculpt his little toes on the bottom of his foot -- where second edition Beast has just a stitch in the center of the bottom of his foot to sort of imply some sculpting.
So, if you're in the Orlando area, I recommend checking out the Disney Outlet Store on Vineland Ave -- particularly if you'd like to pick up a really cute, quality plush Beast at a nice price!
Nothing like a long time between blog entries, right?!
Lately, Elizabeth and I have been having a lot of fun putting together two "Secret Santa" boxes for people on one of the Disney Trading Pin forums. You receive a filled out questionnaire from someone and get to make up a Christmas package for them. They don't know who is sending the package to them (until they open it . . . if you choose to identify yourself), and you will receive a package from someone totally different.
We'd never done this before, but it's been really fun, and we thought we'd share photos of what we put in. Maybe it will provide some ideas for someone else working on a project like this!
For the first box, the recipient really liked Stitch and Star Wars, so we collected things to match -- and made some things!
You have to include at least one real Disney trading pin in your box, and the questionnaire asks what types/themes you collect and if you have any "grail" pins (super special "wants"). Our Secret Santa partner had listed the "I Heart Gaming" pins as grail pins . . . and Elizabeth and I were SUPER thrilled when we were actually able to get two of them!
Now, to mention the items shown above . . .
We also had a Star Wars mug in there, but I couldn't fit it into the group photo. Here are some pictures of it by itself . . . it's got lots of characters on it!
The Stitch Keepsake box was Elizabeth's idea. She had this really nice box that was meant for jewelry or something, and she painted a Stitch-coloured design on the flap. For the Stitch decoration, she used a trading pin -- removing the pin and using strong glue to attach the "pinless pin" to the top of the box. Here are some pictures below to show the box and things that we made to go inside.
The squished penny came from Disney Springs when we were there earlier this year. I made the holder for it in Photoshop. Cutting the slits in it to hold the penny wasn't the easiest thing, but we only ended up with one ruined card!
The engraved stone was made by Elizabeth. She put "Stitch" on one side and "Ohana" on the reverse. She engraved those onto the stone and then inked over the engraving to make it dark.
Once we had everything made and collected, it was time to wrap it all! That was a lot of fun. We even got Minnie and Mickey wrapping paper for the occasion.
One more box to go, but that recipient hasn't opened it yet . . . so, I will post photos of that one later!
As it seems like I've been putting up a lot of entries lately about our American Girl dolls, I've decided to move them to a blog of their own. So, if you're wanting to follow those posts, check out the new place:
See you there for doll news . . . and this blog will continue with the regular goings and comings, as well as needle-felting, my cat Samwise and more!
It is a big day for Nanea and Benny! They have been wishing for one of Lea's Rainforest Houses for a long time. In fact, Nanea has been wishing for one of these since she arrived. That's a big wish, since it's a large item and an expensive one! Well, we saved up enough money to get one, but finding them at the price we wanted is not an immediate thing, you know. There was one listed on Craigslist for $300, up in the very Northern Cleveland area. It would be about two hours' drive for us, but that wasn't terrible. Then, someone told me that the Rainforest House was going to be at the new American Girl outlet mall opening in Hershey last weekend --- for only $150! Not bad, because our friends live not too very far from there . . . and we've been as close as sisters for over three years now and never actually met. So, that sounded like a good way to meet. They were willing to go over on opening weekend to get one, then we could drive out to pick it up. It would be close to the same price as the Cleveland house, but we'd get to meet!
Well, they went over, but all the Rainforest Houses had sold. Back to the drawing board. There was one listed in Cincinnati Craigslist for $275, but that was farther away than the Cleveland place. It didn't seem like a viable option. That is, until Dad volunteered to pick a friend up at Columbus Airport this afternoon. That was almost half way down there, and then Mom found that the same person listing that had two houses. They listed one on eBay for $200 plus shipping --- and they were willing to sell one to us for $200, if Dad picked it up! Wow! Add about $40 dollars in gas, and there is a brand new (giant) box in our living room!
It will take us a little while to decide just where to set this up, but Benny and Nanea cannot wait!
This is a fun week coming up for them, because the AG store in Columbus is holding a "Nanea Celebration" day on Sunday afternoon, August 26th. We're planning on going for that, so Nanea has gotten on a new dress for the occasion.
Dolls. I love them. Doesn't matter if they are Gene Marshall, American Girl, felted wool . . . you name it. I like dolls! Anyone who knows me, also knows that I inherited Mom's passion for England and British history as well, so you would probably say that it was inevitable that I would end up with a Girl for All Time doll. These are a line of hard vinyl 16" dolls made for the British market. They look British. Well, I really liked the one called "Matilda", because she looks particularly British, has brown hair and grey eyes. Also, her face appealed to me.
We found a deal on eBay that had the doll with her entire bundle pack (which included her meet outfit, traveling cloak, ball gown and nightdress with cap), along with her pet dog. I was so excited. She was listed as "display condition only, adult owner", and the price was a bit less than buying new. Not bad. So, I ordered it and waited impatiently for the mail. Several days later a Priority box arrived in the foyer --- and I knew things weren't looking too good. For a 16" doll, the box was only 12" inches wide, after I had asked that she be shipped carefully wrapped and stretched out straight. We opened the box and there she was, bent in half with a little piece of bubble wrap thrown on top of her and no packing for anything else.
The packing was very disappointing, but the doll was (surprisingly) not harmed. But the smell! We've never gotten a box in our house that smelled so bad. Just like dirt. People dirt, house dirt, unwashed dirt. I held my breath while look at the doll and found that there was brown crusty stuff all over her shift. We shoved everything back in the box and closed it up as fast as we could. The living room smelled so bad that we had to open all the windows and air everything out for two hours. It was so awful. I was so disappointed and went to file for a return on eBay.
The seller never sent any kind of e-mail or anything, but the return was accepted and a return label promised. The following day, a label was uploaded and we went to print it out. For anyone not familiar with eBay returns, the item must be returned in the same packing as it was sent and via the same postage rate as was paid. We had paid $18.90 for a decently heavy Priority Mail box. The uploaded return label supplied by the seller was for 13 oz. via First Class mail. You can't mail anything heavier than 13 oz. via First Class, and it was totally against the eBay system rules to try uploading a label like this. Had to call eBay and report it. After ten days or eBay notifying the seller, telling them that they had to supply the correct label --- and no response from the seller --- eBay closed the case and issued a full refund. They said to keep the doll or throw her away. That seemed a real shame, so Mom and I decided that we wouldn't lose anything for trying to clean it all and wash the clothes. We wouldn't be out anything.
We got a beautiful morning yesterday, so I made a makeshift table outside, and we filled three bowls -- one with shampoo in water, one with laundry soap in water and one with plain rinse water.
Mom and I put gloves on and took the box outside. That helped, because the smell was able to dissipate without getting in the house. We put all the clothes into the soapy water immediately, rinsed them off and hung them on the clothes line to dry. Even the little plush dog got hung on the line!
For the doll herself, we shampooed her hair with wig shampoo, and then I washed her with baking soda paste. Here she is after being washed, letting her hair drip a little.
Everything dried by last night, and we were really amazed at the quality of the clothes. Everything got dunked in the soapy water except for the shoes and costume mask (which wouldn't survive getting wet -- just aired those). The smell was gone, and the clothes washed amazingly! I really didn't expect that, because doll clothes tend to not do so well. And a lot of this was faux fur and velvet to boot!
So, she was alright in the end, and I've decided to name her "Eleanor Violet" (after this amazing adopted relative). I think that I'd like to make 1830s clothes for her, but she's happy with her medieval outfits for now. Here are some pics of her modelling her various clothes this morning!
She is a very quality doll. Nothing cuddly about her, and you don't get the same "Mothering" impulse that comes with American Girl dolls. These Girl for All Time dolls look like quality, old-fashioned dolls. Like something that would have been in an expensive mail order European catalog in the 1980s or '90s. I've always like the 1840s German wooden dolls, and this is larger and gives the same period feeling. So cool! Her wig is not the most beautiful thing, being very fine hair and appearing rather thin. However, it is very long and meant to be styled into old-fashioned hair dos. I think it is perfect for that and really looks very realistic.
First off, here are photos of Eleanor dressing into her ball gown. She has bloomers on that don't show in the photos. Then, there is her shift, followed by her slip and necklace. The gown is a two-piece shirt and skirt set. The clothes are all beautiful and very quality --- no velcro on any of these things. The shoes are not much and could be easily made at home.
And here are photos showing Eleanor in her meet outfit and travelling cloak. It's velvet and very gorgeous! And yes, we even washed the hat, and it looks like new! You'd never know that it had been dunked in soapy water. There are a couple of photos in here showing the doll holding her pet dog, who is actually a plush made by "Aurora".
And finally, here she is ready for bed, wearing her nightgown and bed cap. She is so cute! This looks very like a Jane Eyre type of outfit, and there's something endearing about her in it!
So, this is the newest addition to the doll world around here, and now Mom is going to get one for herself. I hope this helps someone make a decision to add one of these beauties to their own doll family! They are really neat!
More coming about Nanea and Benny really soon!
Slideshow of pics below, just click on thumbnails or arrows to navigate.
I can't believe how cute this little fellow is! He has loads of personality, and there is nothing "girly" about him. It's interesting to see that removing the eye makeup on Nanea really changes it. There is not as much little girl look, even when dressed as a girl. I wonder if that's why they put it on Nanea in the first place?!
Benny is still getting introduced to all the other dolls here, and he's glad that there are six other fellows in the house to play with him! He and Nanea are now practically inseparable, though, and making all kinds of plans to practice their swimming and diving together (pretend water, of course). Pop is going to build a Rain Forest hut for them to live in, and they are hoping to find a pet parrot along the way!
This is a post that I've looked forward to the day of writing for a while! Ever since picking out my own fabulous Nanea doll at the store in May, I've wanted to find a cheaper used Nanea to use for some custom wig experiments. She just looks like she has the most fabulous face for short hair. However, since the doll has not been out for quite a year yet, she doesn't exactly come up used too often --- or at a cheaper price.
So, last week, I could barely contain myself when someone on an American Girl forum listed a bald Nanea doll who had already had an eye swap to brown eyes and the painted eye makeup removed! Wow! Elizabeth and I have not ventured into the field of eye swapping, so this was cool. And wigless meant that I could try anything I wanted right away! I e-mailed the seller immediately and then had to contain myself for seven or eight hours until they e-mailed back (talk about a test of patience)! I was never so thrilled to hear that I was the first of a whole inbox full of e-mails expressing interest in that doll! So, I paid right away, and today she came!
Here's the box just after it arrived . . .
Slice open the box, take out some packing paper, and this is what you see:
And here is the amazing doll . . . just waiting for a new look and hair!
Now came the fun part . . . trying on wigs. I photographed every wig that we have in the house on this Nanea doll, because I'm hoping that this helps others who are wondering if they would like to customize a Nanea of their own! The doll came with some kind glossy stuff painted on the lips. This is now removed, but it was still one when all the photos were taken. Also, keep in mind that this doll does have brown eyes (rather than the original Nanea hazel eyes) and the eye makeup removed.
Monique Dutch Boy Wig - Black
This wig looks really cute on her. It makes her look more Asian, that's for sure. Personally, I really liked this one! It's best if you seat the wig slightly back on the forehead, too.
Monique Johnny Wig - Dark Brown
This was a really cute one and the closest match to Nanea's hair color and waviness. It is not a two-tone wig like Nanea's black/brown hair --- rather, it is solid dark brown, but very much like her color. You can adjust the front of the hair to part on either side of the forehead, too, so that is nice.
Monique Dutch Boy Wig - Carrot
Mom and I laughed when I went to put this one on, but it actually looked pretty cute! It sort of grows on you. It also looks cuter in real life, but lighting all those shades of brown and red together is tricky. The last photo in the slideshow above shows the color a lot better. She's pretty cute this way!
Monique Johnny Wig - Auburn
This was one of the cutest, and it didn't photograph as fabulously as it should have! It actually makes the doll look very Nicaraguan! There's a photo of her next to original Nanea at the end of the slideshow. Honestly, I would have kept the doll like this, if it had not been for the one other option that I recognized as what I wanted (see the next blog post).
Kemper Tyler Wig - Black
For some reason, I forgot to take individual photos of the Nanea wearing the Kemper Tyler wig. Here, though, are two photos showing the same exact wig on three different dolls! They are TM #26, Nanea and Kaya.
Truly Me #62 Wig
This make the doll really appealing, but I don't think that the face mold looks as unique as it does in other wigs. There is a photo showing her standing beside normal Nanea, which gives an idea of the difference.
Truly Me #28 Wig
Again, this wig doesn't show off the unique face shape as well (or make it as obvious, should I say), but I think this was one of the most appealing looks of all. It seems like this would be something little girls would love.
American Girl Marie Grace Wig
My sister has a Marie-Grace wig here, so I tried that on. This makes a sort of Nanea-type of Kanani doll!
LollyLueStephens Caramel Posy Wig
Click on the photos to see full size.
I bought this wig on Etsy (the same seller is also on eBay). It's a gorgeous wig . . . but I don't care for it on Nanea. :) Thought I'd include it anyway, in case someone is wondering about this style.
Well, I hope this gives everyone a good idea for their own customization dolls. Nanea has a lot of cute looks, and I'm sure there are a ton more that these short wigs have not even touched! As far as Nanea wearing short hair, I have only been able to find one photo online of a Nanea in Lindsey's wig . . . which was cute! So, I hope this fills a bit of the gap.
To find out what I chose for this really fun doll, go to the next blog entry (should follow tomorrow or later today)!
The subject has been coming up about Luciana's bangs and the two different styles showing up on dolls. So, the last time we went to the store, I photographed every Luciana display model that was out. These photos show the two different styles (either a wig made with separate bangs, or a wig with the front section just trimmed to create a banged look). They all kind of hang in Luciana's eyes, so I don't know if one is better than the other. These photos will give you an idea. At the end of the slideshow below, I did add a picture of what the dolls look like in the boxes. With the hair nets on, I don't think it would be easy to tell what you're getting, though someone who knows what they are looking for should be able to!
First four photos shows a doll with what is considered the original style. These bangs are made as a separate area of the wig (see third and fourth photo).
Fifth and sixth photos show a doll with the second style of bangs, being just a trimmed area of the wig.
The rest of the photos show various models, and I think the Columbus store actually had more of the second style wigs!
SAMWISE: MY HONEY-POT
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.
BEATRICE: MY HONEY-BEE
Edward James Eliot
My "favorite" member of the Clapham Sect. Not very much is known about him, but what is preserved keeps a beautiful memory alive of an exemplary Christian man.
William Wilberforce Quote:
May I look to Him for wisdom and strength and the power of persuasion, and may I surrender myself to Him as to the event with perfect submission, and ascribe to Him all the praise if I succeed, and if I fail say from the heart thy will be done.
For you Jesus Christ came into the world. For you he lived and showed God’s love. For you he suffered the darkness of Calvary and cried at the last, ‘It is accomplished.’ For you he triumphed over death and rose to new life. For you he reigns at God’s right hand. All this he did for you, though you do not know it yet.
Where there is one, there is a majority of one; and when the rights of the majority take away from the rights of the one, then the many will themselves suffer.
~Henry David Thoreau~
I often think of Bag End. I miss my books, and my armchair, and my garden. You see, that's where I belong. That's home. That's why I came back, because you don't have one. A home. It was taken from you. But I will help you take it back if I can.
~ Bilbo Baggins ~
FAVORITE BOOKS & FILMS
Gone With the Wind (Mitchell)
Genesis of a Legacy (K. Ham)
Prisoner of Zenda (Hope)
Amazing Grace (2007)
Bertie & Elizabeth (2002)
Farmer's Daughter (1947)
Ride Clear of Diablo (1954)
Secondhand Lions (2003)
He was born with a gift of laughter & a sense that the world was mad.
The future is to be read with certainty only in the past. Man never changes.
PRIDE & PREJUDICE:
A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony, in a moment.
PRIDE & PREJUDICE:
Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion.
WINSTON CHURCHILL ON
KING GEORGE VI
"His conduct on the Throne may well be a model & a guide to constitutional sovereigns throughout the world today & also in future generations."
"For 15 years George VI was King. Never at any moment in all the perplexities at home & abroad, in public or in private, did he fail in his duties."