Maud Humphrey

Maud Humphrey

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

An Arklu LOTTIE Doll, Mini American Girl Addy, and a trip to the AG store!

So, today I came home with this little cutie:

This is English Country Garden Lottie, by Arklu.  She is adorable, right?  This purchase was completely unplanned.

I was out of the house today on a super rainy afternoon (it is currently flooding in many parts of our area--we received a record 2.75" of rain yesterday!).  And there were gusty winds.  But out of the house we went, my youngest and myself, braving the storm to do this:

Picture with Santa!
I don't know how many more years she'll appease me with a photo of a figure she no longer believes in (sniff sniff), but she's still good-natured about it so I'll take what I can get!  Plus, it was a chance for her to wear her new Christmas dress for the first time. 

Anyway, the store where we visited Santa just happened to be in a little strip mall which also houses a wonderful, local toy shop.  So of course, we had to pop in and check out what's new.  And that's where I found Lottie.

The back of her box.  Apparently, there's a little picnic accessory pack that can be purchased separately, but the toy shop didn't carry it.

She cost $19.99 at the toy shop.  I later went online to Amazon to check her out there, but she wasn't any cheaper.  Besides, I try to support this local toy shop and buy from them whenever I can.  I think it's important to give these small stores our business.

The box was easy to open at the top and the inside cardboard just slid right out.  There was only one plastic tie around her neck and a couple around her feet holding her in so I had her free in no time at all.

Free at last!  She is about 7" tall and can stand on her own.

Her clothing is nicely made and has lots of detail.  It fastens with Velcro.  Her hair is long and silky and nicely rooted.

I especially like how she can sit without her legs splaying wide open to the side.

Here she is with my mini American Girl Addy.  She's a wee bit taller and a little more slender than Addy, but I think that Lottie could probably wear the mini AG clothing.

And speaking of Addy, she is also a newer purchase!  An American Girl pop-up store opened near us for the holidays.  I begged my husband to take me, and he was kind enough to drop off my daughter and myself to check it out while he circled around in downtown traffic.  Because it's just a pop-up (temporary) store, it was rather small.  They did display all the dolls, but not much else.  There was maybe one accessory or outfit available to purchase at the store...anything else would have had to be ordered.

The Truly Me display

My daughter really liked the new historical, MaryEllen Larkin.  She's cute, and I love her strawberry blond hair.  No plans to add her to our family anytime soon, though.

We took our Rebecca along with us (on the left), and here she is, posing with the AG store's Rebecca.  She is one of my favorite AGs.  I just love her time period.

A new Bitty Baby with red hair!  This one may come home to our family eventually as I love red hair.  I have become very partial to this hair color ever since my red-headed daughter-in-law joined the family!  She and my son have my first grandchild, and I am holding my breath to see if his blond hair eventually turns red.  Apparently, my daughter-in-law was blond as a baby as well before it turned red, so I am crossing my fingers.

The minis display.  This is where I picked up Addy.  I have many other minis in my collection, but this is my first mini with the all-vinyl body.

I love everything about her!  I wasn't sure if I'd like the all vinyl body as compared to the cloth ones they used to have, but it really didn't matter to me at all.  She still feels like a really nice quality doll.

Her dress is so pretty.

And that hairstyle!  I simply adore it.

She has darling little bloomers underneath, and cute boots that Velcro in back.

The only thing I didn't care for about this doll was the mini book that accompanies her.  It is cheap and flimsy compared to the darling little hardcover books that the minis used to come with.  And there are NO pictures, either!  Just super-tiny text that I can barely read, even with my glasses on.  I think it's really sad that American Girl has cut corners in this area.  But I guess it happens. 
Mini Addy cost $24.95 at the AG store.  You can purchase her cheaper on Amazon (currently $20.03), but I really wanted to purchase something while I was at the store.  The helpful sale's lady told me that a permanent AG store might end up in our area, depending on how well the pop-up store does during the holiday season.  Hopefully, my purchase helps them make the decision to stay!

I love miniature things, especially dolls.  I have many of the AG minis, as well as the Target minis.  Stay tuned for a post on those soon!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Simplicity 1179--A Drop-waist Dress, Coat & Hat for 18" Dolls from the Titanic Era

I bought this pattern several months ago and finally got around to stitching up a couple of the pieces.  I just love this era of clothing...reminds me of the Titanic and Downton Abbey.

First, I decided to make View C, the sailor dress.  I have a huge weakness for nautical style clothing.

I think this is the FIRST time I've ever sewed a pattern where I pretty much followed the instructions as written.  I almost always end up making major changes.  But this time, I resisted the urge and followed the instructions, step by step.

The hardest thing for me was not lining the bodice--I love to line bodices!  I just think it makes them look so much cleaner and finished inside.  However, I restrained myself and made simple neck facings, like the pattern called for, and it actually turned out quite well.  I did finish all the raw edges with a tight zig zag, just to keep everything looking neat and tidy.

The dress opens completely down the back and fastens with five buttons.  The sixth button (at the waistband) is decorative and sits over a snap.  The main fabric is a pretty, woven plaid which I've had for years.  I like it because it doesn't have a "right" or "wrong" side.  The collar, sleeve cuffs and welts were made from a lightweight linen.

The collar is removable. Here is the dress without it.  I think it looks cute both ways.  I love the detail of the sleeve cuffs and the little welts at the front of the skirt.  I couldn't resist and also made a matching hair bow.

Next up, I made the coat and matching hat.  How cute is this???  Again, I followed the pattern instructions exactly.  It wasn't as difficult to do, since the coat is completely lined--just like a real garment.  I used a recycled, light blue linen skirt which I had picked up at the thrift store long ago for the outer fabric, and a quilter's cotton from my stash for the lining.

It fastens down the front with four buttons, and there are four, additional buttons which are attached to the tabs at each side of the top of the pleated skirt.

Back view--I did have to run to the fabric store to buy the trim which I attached to the collar.  I just didn't have anything in my stash that was small enough and in the right color to work.  Oh, and I had to pick up buttons.  I do have a large button jar, but finding eight, matching buttons just wasn't going to happen.

I LOVE this little coat and hat!  The hat, by the way, was super simple to make.  Just a large, circle of fabric which is gathered to a band.  

And here's a peek of the lining.

Sewing for dolls is so much fun.  

Sunday, August 30, 2015

New: Petitcollin Dolls ZOE and JOELLE

Several months ago, I saw these wonderful new dolls advertised on one of my favorite on-line doll shops, Petalina.  They are designed by Sylvia Natterer, who creates some of the most beautiful faces in the doll world, I think.  These are the 13" cuties in the series called "Minouche": 
From left to right they are:  Joelle, Natalie, Samira, Jeane, & Luc
The "Finouche" series is so far comprised of these three 19" beauties:

Alice, Zoe, & Smilla
After falling in love with these dolls, I put in my order and waited.  And waited.  And waited.   A few weeks ago, I was notified by Petalina that the dolls had finally arrived and were ready for purchase!
The hardest part was choosing which ones I just had to have, although I pretty much new from the start that gorgeous, red-haired Zoe would be coming home to live with me.  But the little ones?  That decision was much harder.  I mean, they're all just so CUTE.  At first I was leaning heavily towards little Natalie, another red head, but in the end I decided on Joelle because I really did want a little blondie, and I loved her sweet outfit.
After placing my order, I waited another 13 long days before the postman arrived at my door with a rather large package.  My dolls had finally arrived!  Oh, the excitement.  It almost felt like Christmas!  Here is my first glimpse of Zoe, through her box:
And here is little Joelle:
Poor little Joelle's hair had become pretty mussed from her long journey overseas from England.
"Please, stop taking pictures and get us out of our boxes!" they cried.
The back of Zoe's box, which is written in French and English.  Petitcollin is a French company which now manufactures their dolls in Spain.
Joelle's box
Finally!  Released from the confines of their boxes.
Little Joelle is just the sweetest.  She will definitely need some sort of hair bow or clip to hold back her wavy locks.  Her hair is nice and thick though, cut in layered waves.
Joelle stands 13" tall.  She is jointed at the neck, shoulders, and hips.  Her head can tilt in many directions.
And here is Zoe:
Zoe's hair is some of the loveliest hair I've ever seen on a doll.  The color is gorgeous.  It is silky and shiny and thickly rooted.
But it does like to hang across her pretty face, so I think I'll need to tie it back...
There!  That's better.  Now we can see her hand-painted features.
Back view
I think they make sweet sisters.  I like how their legs bend when they sit down, and don't splay outwards too much like some other doll brands.  Their bodies are nice and sturdy and stand on their own.
Out of curiosity, I brought over one of my Hearts 4 Hearts dolls, Lauryce, and my Corolle Les Cheries doll for comparison.  Lauryce is the tallest, at 14", and has a chest measurement of 6" and a waist of 5 3/4".  Joelle's chest is 6 3/4" and her waist is 7".  My 13 1/2" tall Corolle's chest is 5 3/4" and her waist is 5 1/2".  So Joelle has a chunkier, more child-like body than the other two, but I think they are still close enough that they'll be able to share clothes.
Speaking of clothes, Zoe and Joelle's outfits are adorable and beautifully made.  The fabrics are quality cotton with cute trims.  They each wear a one-piece type knit underwear.  I would have preferred that their clothing fastened with snaps or buttons instead of Velcro, but I guess that would be more labor intensive and end up costing more. 
And here is a comparison of Zoe and a slim-bodied Gotz doll, Louisa:  both stand 19" tall.  Louisa's chest measures 9 3/4", and her waist is 9".  Zoe's chest is 9" and her waist is 8 1/2".   So Zoe is more petite but close enough in size to Louisa that they should be able to share clothes nicely.
I ordered my dolls from  I highly recommend this doll shop as they have so many beautiful dolls to choose from and excellent customer service.
I love my new dolls and couldn't be happier!

Friday, August 21, 2015

I'm Back! and New Project Dolls

Well, hello!  After taking a bit of a break from blogging, I'm back to share my projects with you once again.  Our summer has been unseasonably long and hot; needless to say, I am SO looking forward to the cooler days of fall.  While our house does have central air, it really only works on the main level of our home--the upstairs, where my sewing/doll room is located, becomes an oven when the temperatures rise.  So there has not been much sewing going on at all during this summer.  However, I have managed to visit the local thrift stores on a regular basis, and found some neat treasures I didn't know I needed!
Just look at this sweet, little waif.  She is a vintage, 12" Madame Alexander "BETH" from Little Women.  She is all original, from the ribbon in her hair down to the socks and shoes on her feet.  I found her for just $1.99.  Her joints are extremely loose and floppy, so she will need to be restrung.  Her hair is in need of a gentle combing and reset, and her clothes could benefit from a gentle wash and ironing.  But when all that is done, I'm sure she'll look good as new!
I don't normally purchase Madame Alexander dolls, but I just couldn't resist this one.  Especially since she represents a character from one of my favorite books.
I've been coming across these 17" singing Disney princess dolls lately, finding one here and one there. 
The very first one I came across was Snow White, and I brought her home just because I thought she was so pretty.  I really didn't know anything else about her, so I spent some time on Ebay and the internet and discovered that the Disney Store had issued her, along with many of the other princesses, a few years ago.  They are no longer in production.  As far as I can tell, there are 13 dolls in the series: 
I pulled this picture from the internet, but I don't know who it belongs to so I can't give proper credit.  Anyway, it looks like there's Merida, Pocohantas, Cinderella, Tiana, Anna, Elsa, Rapunzel, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine, Belle, Mulan, and Ariel.
After I found Snow White, I suddenly started discovering more of these dolls every time I left the house!  Over the next couple of months, I found Rapunzel, Tiana, Belle, Ariel, and finally Merida.  All were nude except Merida, who came completely clothed and Ariel, who still had her bra top.
They really have sweet faces, don't you think?  Disney did a great job in capturing their personalities from the films. 
They all have a battery compartment in their backs which allows them to sing!  It took me a while to figure this out, but when a small switch on their left hip is flicked to the "on" position and you touch a tiny, metal knob on their right hand, they start singing in the same voice from their movie.  I haven't been able to get Merida to say anything (does she even sing in the movie?  I can't remember)--there may be a glitch with her computer chip.  But I don't mind.  I like the dolls even if they can't sing.  I had initially planned on selling these dolls on Ebay.  I have never really been interested in fashion dolls.  But somehow, they have grown on me, and I plan on keeping them around for awhile.  I went to the fabric store and picked up lots of small pieces of satins in different colors so I can hopefully recreate their original costumes.  I don't like sewing for small dolls, so we'll see how this goes!
And now, for my best find in a long time...drumroll please...
A real, genuine, American Girl doll!!!
I had really given up on the thought of ever finding one at Goodwill, because they NEVER put AG dolls out on their shelves.  But lo and behold, I saw two, 18" doll style legs poking out from among all the toys in the over-packed shelves, and when I pulled her out, I just about fainted!  She is marked American Girl on her lower neck in very small letters, and also has a body tag that identifies her.  Some Goodwill employee just wasn't paying attention that day, lucky me!
Now, after my initial excitement, I did realize that she needs WORK.  But not as bad as you might think.  Her major flaw is her hair.  From my research, I believe my doll is a Just Like You #46 with the Sonali face mold.  This is what she looked like brand new:
'Sigh'.  What a difference a beautiful wig makes.
This is what is left of my doll's wig:
The back
Side view
On the plus side, her joints are nice and tight and her cloth body is clean.  Her vinyl limbs are in good condition, but she does sport black polish on her finger and toe nails.
My first step will be to remove the polish and remove any slight scuff marks from her vinyl.  I hope to find her a replacement wig.  I really wish that you could buy wigs directly from American Girl, but you can't.  (It's a scam, I tell you!)  So I will check around at the upcoming doll shows, and then maybe order one online if I can't find one locally.  I only paid $3.99 for this doll, so even if I have to spend a bit more on a quality wig, it will be worth it.
Oh, and I almost oldest son is getting married in two weeks and I am making my dress and my youngest daughter's flower girl dress!  I have almost completed my dress using a 1950's vintage reproduction pattern from Butterick, and I will start working on my daughter's dress today.  So stay tuned for updates!