Updated Dollhouse Tour

Last summer I gave a tour of the dollhouse since it was “finished”.  I remember someone, I think Nonna, joking about how you are never really finished.  She was right!  Since then, I’ve picked up some new pieces, swapped out some things, changed stuff, and rearranged a bit.  I have managed to stick with my “it has to be better than what I have already” mantra when buying new items, and so far it has worked out exceptionally well.  I thought that I might show you some of what has changed in this updated tour post.

Let’s see, where to start…I think we’ll start with Kit’s room.  If you want to see what her room looked like before, you can see it here:  https://sayhellotomylittlefriends.wordpress.com/2015/07/31/dollhouse-tour-kits-room/

I swapped out two pieces in her room and added a third:

room 1

I found this awesome trunk at Hobby Lobby, I thought it was perfect for her room.

room 3

And then one day while surfing Ebay, I came across a lovely nightstand.  I first thought about buying the nightstand they originally made for her, but not only is it very expensive, I don’t care for the color.  When I came across this one, I thought it was perfect.  It’s by a company called Syndee’s crafts which unfortunately is no longer in business.  The chair is the one I picked up not that long ago at the Salvation Army.  I’ve gone from being “meh” about her room to really pleased with these changes.

room 2

On to the living room! I’m still not 100% pleased with it, but it’s coming along. You can see the original version here: https://sayhellotomylittlefriends.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/dollhouse-tour-the-living-room/

I swapped out the sofa and entertainment center and did a bit of rearranging. I’m still not 100% pleased with the sofa and I definitely need a big picture to hang in that giant empty wall space! I do have an idea already for the sofa though. And I now have that overstuffed chair I picked up recently. Always tweaking…
room 10

room 11

In between the kitchen and living room we have a small entry area/laundry room.  The only thing that I changed here was the bench, originally it was a much smaller one, but I liked this one a whole lot better.  The other one was a bit on the small size and is going to be rehomed with Barbie Girl for her “Barbs” gang.

room 9

Next we have Marie-Grace and Rebecca’s bedroom. Original set up here: https://sayhellotomylittlefriends.wordpress.com/2015/07/08/dollhouse-tour-rebecca-and-marie-graces-bedroom/

room 4

I replaced the desk I made with the My Life As desk I picked up last summer. I LOVE that desk, I think it is so cute and well done. I also replaced the white chest of drawers with the purple one I redid, I liked the layout on it better.
room 5

The kitchen (which I never intended on doing!) has gotten a bit crowded. Here’s where you can see the before:
https://sayhellotomylittlefriends.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/dollhouse-tour-the-kitchen/

And how it looks now:
room 6

Not only did I rearrange things a bit, but I also added the snack cart as a workstation of sorts. I thought it looked cute, plus it weighs quite a bit, so this makes it easy to get to when I need it for other things.
room 7

I also made a backsplash in the stove and sink area.  I want to hang some things there, just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

room 8

Alya and Shivan’s room was one of the last rooms I finished last summer:  https://sayhellotomylittlefriends.wordpress.com/2015/08/18/dollhouse-tour-alya-shivans-bedroom/

Their room underwent a significant change.  Believe me, I didn’t plan it that way, it just kind of happened.  American Girl had a special offer on a bed set last year during the holiday season.  I thought it was cute, but didn’t jump on it.  Then as frequently happens, I was wishing I’d bought one.  Ebay prices were ridiculous (of course) so I just forgot about it.  You can imagine my surprise one morning when I was perusing the AG sale listings, and there it was for only $36!  Then I had an idea to order 2 and use them for a bedroom set up for Kanani and Fiona.  However, there was a flaw in my plan.  If I did a room for them, it would have to be one that folded up to be put away.  Once I got these 2 beds and put them together, I hated the thought of taking them apart, they were so cute.  After a bit of thinking, I decided to switch out some stuff, and put them in Alya and Shivan’s room, along with the nightstand I got in the same sale.  Now I can leave them out and look at them whenever I want!  (Sorry Kanani and Fiona!)  I also added some artwork above their beds.

room a

So, now you are wondering where Shivan’s bed went to, huh? That takes us to Cassandra’s room. Before pics here:
https://sayhellotomylittlefriends.wordpress.com/2015/07/29/dollhouse-tour-cassandras-bedroom/

I really did debate on doing this, but once I had it set up, I liked it a lot!
room c
Meatloaf decided to come check it out too. He got attached to Cassandra while Alya was in Ireland.

Look at all those Minions!!!

room d

There you have it, the new and improved dollhouse! Everyone is back from all their travels, school starts next week, so they are trying to fit in fun time together before they get busy. Here are some shots of everyone hanging out:
room 12

room 13

room 14

room 15

room b

room e

Thanks for stopping by! Y’all come back now, ya hear?!

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Voting has officially closed on who gets to go on vacation with us. There were 39 votes, thank you to everyone who voted! It was a close race, but the winner, with 10 votes was:

KIT KITTREDGE!!!

happy Kit
She’s so excited! She said to say “Thank You” to everyone that voted for her.

Congratulations Kit, you get to go on a trip with me and Mr. Flo.  So, I suppose you are all wondering where we are going???  It’s a surprise!!!!  Hee hee, stay tuned, Kit will get to write all about her adventures in October.  Now to figure out what she wants to take with her, Cassandra already said she could borrow her Minion suitcase…

The Elephant in the Room

I had something completely different in mind to post today, but something happened that made me change my mind.  I’m going to address something that annoys the heck out of me.  And I suspect it annoys a lot of you too.  What is it?

American Girl’s Website

I’ve never seen such an epic fail when it comes to website maintenance in my life.  My issues started several years ago when I tried to sign up for e-mail notifications.  I got nothing.  I tried again using the same e-mail address.  Nothing again.  So I used a different e-mail address and I finally got somewhere.

Then there was the day I went into one of their big sales.  Traffic was heavy but I was actually able to get in.  You can imagine my frustration AND surprise when I clicked on an item I wanted to look at, only to be taken to a completely unrelated item not in the sale!

More recently I had issues with their rewards program.  Evil Twin and I had gone together to place a rather large order, but when it came time for me to get the points I was due, I was shorted.  I e-mailed to complain, was told it would be fixed.  It was, but a few days later, the correction was reversed!  I was furious, and I sent them another nasty e-mail.  So nasty in fact, I got an actual phone call from them, apologizing profusely.  I finally got my points straightened out and got the rewards certificate I had coming, but it should never have reached that point of ridiculousness in the first place.

I think what concerned me more than anything was the fact that when I said something to the person I was talking to about issues with their website beyond this, she acted like she knew what I was talking about and that she was aware of the problems and that they were being worked on.  So why aren’t they fixed?

This morning they had some price reductions on a few things I wanted to get.  Only one problem–no “add to bag” buttons on ANYTHING on their website!  How the heck does that happen?  So I called to order and even that turned into a hassle because of the fact that they had two e-mail addresses for me due to the original glitch I encountered way back when.  Good grief.  I finally got my order placed, but I’ll be honest, this whole experience has left a very bad impression on me.

It probably doesn’t help matters any that I know that I am not alone in my frustration.  Several weeks ago I got an e-mail from someone who said she knew of several people who thought perhaps their credit card information had been stolen via American Girl.  I’ve had my suspicions myself about that, I had not one, but two credit card numbers stolen last year and AG was the common denominator.  Apparently LOTS AND LOTS of people are having problems with their rewards not being properly credited to their accounts and have had to call multiple times as well to get it fixed.  This shouldn’t be happening.  And then there is the whole issue with outages and not being able to get in during times of heavy traffic.  That should NEVER, EVER be happening.  If it is and it happens as frequently as it does with their site, then something needs to be done about it.  It’s that simple.

I shop a lot online, and have for years.  I can say in all honesty, I’ve never encountered a retail commerce website with as many issues as the AG website.  I shop regularly at Lands End, Amazon, Walmart and numerous other places that would run circles around AG with their sheer number of products, customers and sales.  And not once have I ever encountered a problem with any of these sites.

AG has had a huge reduction in sales over the past few years.  They keep trying to figure out how to fix that.  There are several issues that could be the culprit, and I suspect it’s actually several things.  But it sure doesn’t help matters any when your website continually has issues.  Instead of spending all this money on trying to come out with the next best thing every time the wind blows, perhaps it’s time to invest some of that money in your core infrastructure.  Instead of having a half-baked website that is not only full of glitches, but not exactly user friendly, maybe it’s time to spend some money on a real IT department.

I only bring this up because I know that it’s not just my problem.  I’ve read comments on other blogs where people have vented their frustration with the same or similar problems with the AG website.  We are not alone.  Keep in mind, I’ve only mentioned a few of the issues I’ve had, these aren’t all of them.  I suspect if we all got together with our complaints, we could write a book.  (insert head shake here)

There, I said it.  Talk amongst yourselves…