Elizabeth and I were eight years old when we got our first American Girl dolls for Christmas in 1995. Several of our friends had them already, but they were all girls slightly older than us. Claire and Erica had Kirsten. Kathleen had Felicity. Our Sunday School teacher had Samantha. We couldn't wait! We got the catalogs in the mail beginning in Spring 1995. Elizabeth wanted Kirsten . . . blond, blue eyes (she's always been keen on blond dolls!). Not me. Addy, the escaped slave girl, was brand new --- and I was totally in love with her! $82.00 for a doll was a lot of money back then, so these were serious toys to put on your Christmas list. But our Mom and Dad were wonderful and made it work so that two long white boxes were under the Christmas tree that morning! As of right now, I can't find a photo of us with Kirsten and Addy that day, but here is a picture showing us one year later (on Christmas Eve of 1996). Mom had just given us new homemade dresses for them, and they are proudly showing them off to the camera.
Addy has been my special friend ever since. In fact, just a few weeks ago, Elizabeth and I wondered if we shouldn't decide to part with our American Girl dolls. But I couldn't. Not with all of them, anyway. Addy is just too special. She and Kirsten are now 23 years old and still look great for their age. Here are some photos taken just this afternoon --- and you can see that Addy is still wearing the same dress! She has other options, but this is really her favorite.
Click on any thumbnail photos to enlarge.
On Christmas Day of 1996, one year after Kirsten and Addy's arrival to the snow covered porch at Ruth Avenue, two more white boxes waited under the tree. Felicity and Samantha were added to the happy group, and we now had the perfect amount of dolls for tea parties and any imaginable play. This is everyone that afternoon.
I didn't take pictures of Felicity today, but she still looks pretty good. Her hair has faded a bit and almost all of the color on her face has faded, but this seems to be common with Felicity dolls of her age. The pictures on the left and right below show her (taken quickly a couple weeks ago) and Samantha as they look today. The center picture shows them as they looked in late 2000 or early 2001.
All was wonderful and happy, and then it happened . . . a new catalog showed up in the mailbox announcing the September 1997 release of a new historical American Girl: Josefina. I LOVED her! Almost as much as Addy. But thinking of getting a third doll for the third Christmas in a row seemed like an awful lot to hope for. We woke up that Christmas, and even though she had been on my list, there was no long box under the tree. But Mom had it all planned! She really had ordered Josefina a month earlier, and Dad had the box all wrapped and hidden upstairs. They brought it down at the very end of the morning, and I can still remember the feeling of opening her and the amazing smell, which I think was due to the little leather moccasins (she still smells like it a bit!). So far, I haven't turned up a picture of her from that Christmas either, but it must be in an album somewhere. She's worn a variety of outfits over the years, and these photos show some of them. She needs her braid fixed soon, so more photos of her will come one of these days.
Click on any thumbnail photos to enlarge.
That was our collection for a while, and we had great fun. Mom made amazing clothes for them, and we took them on outings, had doll parties, school days, etc. The catalogs stopped coming, and we gradually played less and less and did more admiring. The dolls were all in a glass-front cabinet in our room, and we still changed them and posed them. Then, in 2000, a catalog showed up out of the blue with the newest historical character, Kit. She had a short blonde bob and freckles. So, you guessed it, we had to place an order. We were old enough by this time to have some money of our own, plus we had a garage sale and made enough money that way for each of us to order our own Kit. They arrived in a large box, along with a pair of aviator outfits that looked really cute on them! Mom also made some outfits for them. They were renamed and now called "Patty" (seen in cowboy outfit) and "Amanda" (in the pink birthday dress).
Seven dolls seemed like plenty, and we really didn't have any thoughts of adding others. In fact, they've been put away until recently --- when we decided to pull them out, go through them and decide what to keep. Thinking to sell Kirsten and Samantha, I've been doing some research into pricing, etc. In the process, I found an ad of Craigslist for a Kaya doll for $20.00. How could we resist that. Elizabeth had always liked her and really wanted one. She has loose limbs (due to stretched elastic inside), but so do the Kit dolls. Elizabeth is going to re-string the two Kits and figured it wouldn't be any problem to add Kaya to the group. So, we drove out and picked up the newest addition. The picture at left shows her as we got her. Her hair definitely needed the ends trimmed and a new hair-do. She didn't want to spend the rest of her life with those two long braids in her way! So, I studied websites by people kind of enough to show hair tutorials to those of us who have never touched the hair-dos on their own American Girls. And on a Sunday afternoon, when I was feeling brave, I decided to give it a go. The photos below show her as she looks today. Oh, and she's been renamed "Leonor" (called "Leo" or "Nora") after a very special relative.
So, that's a quick introduction to our group of American Girl dolls as they stand now!
For the last couple of weeks, Mom has been cleaning out her dresser full of old linens. There were just too many to fit inside, so it was high time to sort through and weed out a bit. Some we've sold, some we've donated . . . and some we're trying on eBay.
Well, I thought I'd post pictures of this cute little child's dresser scarf, since I can only find one other result in any online searches for something similar. This was made by the George Shamyer Company, a New York textile (linen) importer since at least 1917. This particular piece is marked "C. 1953 Geo. Shamyer & Co Inc." The only other result coming up online seems to be a matching dresser scarf depicting Little Red Riding Hood. Our runner here shows the classic bedtime story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
Shamyer was quite an interesting figure and very well known in his day. Sadly, there are hardly any online results for him today. So, here is a bit of nostalgia for those Mid-Century linen buffs . . .
Click on any of the photos below to see at full size.
Click on any of the photo thumbnails to enlarge them.
We picked the real necessities: a large paper shopping bag with handles, a small paper bag from a park gift shop, park maps for each of the four WDW parks and Disney Springs (as well as a generic one for the whole of Walt Disney World Resort), four souvenir postcards, five Fastpass ride tickets, a map of each doll's chosen Disney Resort, and a Disney Autograph book. The maps unfold just like the official ones you get at the parks (see the sixth photo below).
The autograph book is the real fun piece. I wanted something that looked like the real thing, so I made the cover in such a way that it looks and feels like the shiny covers on the real books. There are forty pages inside . . . but what is the most impressive thing is that it is filled with 45 Disney character autographs!!! Elizabeth took care of that part, and it just goes to prove that Josefina is obviously willing to stand in a LOT more lines than I am! She even has the signatures of Anna and Elsa. It fits right down in the little Disney Parks gift bag, along with a map from whichever park I care to imagine Josefina having visited to purchase her autograph album.
For the souvenir postcards, Josefina picked up a generic Disney card from each of the four parks. Her FastPass tickets are from Space Mountain, Soarin', Peter Pan's Flight, Winnie the Pooh and Star Tours. I was really hoping to make one for the Seven Dwarf's Mine Ride, but I couldn't find a picture of a paper fastpass for that one . . . maybe they don't make the paper slips for it anymore, but if anyone ever has one and gets a picture of it, I'd really appreciate it if they'd share it!
I also wanted one of the resort maps for the little souvenir set . . . the problem came in trying to decide which resort Josefina would choose. Grand Floridian hosts the huge Easter Egg display, so that seemed like a good choice. That was, until I saw the map for Pop Century. It's so colorful and cute that Josefina can't decide where to stay. Anyway, I printed all kinds of resort maps in her size, so she and her friends have a lot of choices now!
So, that is the set of American Girl doll Walt Disney World souvenirs so far. I'd like to make a pin trading lanyard eventually, also find a plush Mickey Mouse her size (am thinking a plush key chain would work for that).
Just click on any photos below to see at full size.
Don Loper Salon
Lord and Taylor
Saks Fifth Avenue
Marshall Field and Company
Chanel No. 5
Yves Saint Laurent
It's Oliver's 13th birthday today! And, it's the first time that his birthday actually falls on Easter! Very appropriate, since his nickname is "The Bunny" --- so, today he's a real Easter Bunny!
All in all, Oliver is rather unaffected by his birthday. He was really hoping for a whole can of Henry's kitten food to himself, but since he doesn't expend energy like a kitten, he settled for Turkey flavoured Merrick food. :) Happy Birthday, Oliver!
Well, another needle-felted doll is finished. I started him in January and actually got him done in record time! This is Oin, another dwarf from The Hobbit film trilogy. He is one of the oldest dwarf characters and will be holding an ear horn . . . at a later date. Elizabeth and I plan to sculpt an ear horn out of clay and paint it, but that may be a bit before we get to it. He is one of the taller dwarves, standing at 9-1/4" tall. He weighs 4-1/4 ounces and took approximately 64 hours of work to complete.
Oin was a really fun doll to make and one of the characters that I've been looking forward to felting for quite a while. In the end, it turned out that he is made of all natural-colored, undyed fibers --- save for his skin tone and a Merino underskirt that does not show unless the doll is tipped upside down. (I just can't stand tipping a doll upside down and seeing all the way up the legs!) The coat is made of American Buffalo fiber with just enough wool carded in to keep it firm for felting. The coat trim is made from Camel Cashmere, and the boots are Coopworth wool with Brown Tasmanian Polwarth soles. His hair is also wool.
Perhaps the neatest part of him, though, is the Stansborough wool! Stansborough is a special breed, found on just one farm in New Zealand, and is the special wool used in all the wool fabric and yarn in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films! This makes Oin very authentic. :) I've never felt wool as soft as the curls on his boots! His pants are made of a piece of woven fabric from the Stansborough looms, his boot tops are made of some scraps of Stansborough pelt, and his hoodie is knitted from single-ply Stansborough yarn. The hoodie is really the prize piece on this doll, since it was such an undertaking. To keep it from being to large in scale and too bulky on a doll of this size, I used the single-ply yarn (thinner than crochet thread) on 0000-gauge dollhouse scale knitting needles. That means really tiny work . . . and twenty hours of knitting! But it seems well worth it when viewing the final result.
Here are some pictures of him, all you have to do is click any to enlarge. More later . . .
Doing the best job we can at aging Henry from the various signs of kitten-hood, we've placed his birthday at August 18th. We might be off a bit, but it's worked out to that for more than three weeks now, no matter how we try to figure out his age --- so, we've settled on that one. That being the case, here are some pictures that show him at 11 weeks and 3 days old.
Henry loves to eat. The good thing about him, though, is that he is NOT picky. He likes a real variety, whether it's kitten food, chicken, turkey, pumpkin or scrambled eggs. This is the first week where he is able to digest his food like a real cat, because his intestinal bacteria seems to be now developed. To help him through that stage, we had been feeding him boiled chicken, pumpkin and scrambled eggs. Well, he has developed such a taste for all of them that he loves a variety. Check out the last picture in the slideshow above, and you'll see his little plate of all flavors. Of course, he doesn't really know that there have been probiotics on his food lately, so we won't add that to his favorite list.
One thing that Henry would love is a sleeping buddy. None of the big cats are ready to let him into their beds during nap time quite yet, so the little fellow has to sleep by himself. To help him feel better about that, I gave him a fluffy plush dog that I have (named "Charlie George"), and it makes a great companion. Henry loves to cuddle and bite him and sleep with him!
Right now, Henry's biggest problem is teething. When they aren't actually breaking through, he is a very sweet little fellow and self entertaining. When his teeth are coming through, though, he has to chew everything and he gets mean. Usually he can be distracted with a dangly toy, etc., but it's quite a job! Can't wait for all his little teeth to be in. More later.
They are finished! Mom and I finished Elizabeth's blanket a couple nights ago, and last night we finished mine! It's no secret that the two of us are really crazy about "Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit". Anything Middle Earth is really enjoyed around here. We've got swords hanging in our room (all replicas of the movie props) and even have a full-size replica of the Black Arrow hanging on our beam! Well, we were really thrilled to find out earlier this year that some fabric was released at JoAnn's with "Lord of the Rings" patterns. One of them was a flannel in blacks and browns with the logo and Frodo's picture and name all over it. Cool! We bought a bunch of it (actually, the first time we found it, we had a great coupon and bought the whole bolt!) and decided to make large throw/blankets out of it. We both like to cuddle under a blanket when watching movies, and we've been meaning to make some for years. This seemed the perfect opportunity. No other flannel really seemed to look like a great match, because we really wanted it to look like a "Frodo blanket", not a pieced quilt or anything. After discussing some different options, I told Mom that I really wanted to try making it out of the one fabric. So, that's what we did! They may not win any prizes for construction or originality, but they are amazing!!
CLICK TO ENLARGE.
These pictures show the blanket. It's the same on both sides. We didn't want batting or anything fluffy inside, so we decided to use something different. Elizabeth's has a white 100% cotton table cloth in there, which makes it very drapey and cuddly. Inside mine, I picked an old cotton "summer-weight" blanket that we've had for years. It's really thin and cuddly --- and absolutely no static in the winter! They are quite large, as you can see. That is my double bed above, and it spreads out to cover it (not draping down, of course). We didn't want anything too small, because it's nice to totally cuddle up in a chair.
The flannel isn't the quality of good quilting stuff. It's like the typical JoAnn's "Snuggle" flannel, so lower quality fabric. We pre-washed and dried it before sewing the blankets. Doing this on high in each machine makes sure that everything shrinks as much as it is going to before actually putting anything together. The blanket and tablecloth, of course, were also totally pre-washed and dried as well. To make the blankets wider than the yardage (which was about 40" wide once washed and dried), we cut three 2-yard lengths. One of those lengths, we took and cut in half the long way (making a piece approximately 2-yards long by 20" wide). Then, we sewed a 20" wide piece to each of the full 40" pieces. The finished blankets are about 60" wide by 75" long. They are each slightly different, due to the different inside layers and the seams needed for those. It was a lot easier to sew the flannel to the cotton blanket, because the pieces of fabric stuck to each other. The cotton tablecloth was pretty tricky, because everything was prone to sliding around.
All in all, it was really fun to make these, and the results are so cuddly. I can't imagine sitting without this! It's also really exciting to have the Frodo theme. We can't wait until our annual "New Year's Trilogy Week" where we take five days to watch all the Hobbit movies and Lord of the Rings films in order. (We watch "Two Towers" and "Return of the King" back-to-back on New Year's Day, because they really are better when seen in a row.)
So, that's the newest project we've been working on. Lots more sewing to do, but most of it will probably have to wait until after Christmas. We've got a trip to Florida coming up soon, too, so looking forward to that! More later.
Why, oh why, does the time have to change??? I just can't stand this time of year --- and just when I get used to it, the time will come for the clocks to move forward again!
We've been busy. Henry is teething. Things have been a little rocky in the cat world. Henry is adjusting to life in the house pretty well, and the other cats are starting to get used to him and establishing their "pecking order". Sammy is still nervous, but it takes him a while to get used to any changes. Years ago, I decided to put a throw pillow on my bed. It was two weeks before he could even go near the bed again! What's been sad is the fact that the big cats have some kind of virus or something. It's something that swells their breathing passages and throats up, making it difficult for them. We actually took Sammy to the vet (his first time since getting fixed) and even had him x-rayed. Nothing wrong inside, no obstructions or anything like that. So, it's just a matter of waiting it out, making sure they eat and drink and sleep. Lots of praying, most of all!
Henry is now eleven weeks old, getting bigger and really teething! He chews everything. You can't leave anything around that might be chewable. We have put all kinds of things down for him to play in and chew on, and he's enjoying his new life. He really misses his mother, and since none of the big cats are willing to cuddle with him yet, I gave him a furry plush dog that I have. He seems to really like that and curls up with it quite often.
Henry is particularly cute when sleeping, so here are a few pictures. You can click on them to enlarge to full size.
Aside from the cats, we have gotten a little time this week to do other things (though not too much, because the felines have really been taking a lot of time). Elizabeth spent a day in the kitchen working on baking. She made some fabulous bread, but the best were . . . bagels! They were amazing! She even made a salt bagel for me. Totally scrumptious.
While Elizabeth was busy baking, Mom and I actually got some time to sew! It was SO fun!! We're working on making blankets for TV watching. The two of us really want blankets made of the "Frodo" flannel that we got this Summer. We almost finished one blanket already and the other is about half finished. I'll post photos of those as soon as they're done!
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."