You didn’t think she’d be an only child, did you???

I’ve decided I’m not going to say that I don’t have anymore room for dolls because every time I do, someone else joins the party!  It doesn’t help that new dolls keep coming out too.  But I can’t even blame this on them.  This was all my doing.

I’ve got several of the more recent Girl of the Year dolls–Saige, Lanie, Lea (Sophia), Kanani, Isabelle (Zara).  I was only missing one that I’d had any interest in, and I wasn’t even 100% sure I wanted her.  I went back and forth more times than I care to think about.  Finally I decided I would like to have her.  But Ebay prices–yikes!  And after the issues I’d had with Allie, I wasn’t sure I wanted to buy her from Ebay at all.  Then I found out that a friend was going to the Madison Children’s Museum sale.  Hmmm…dare I ask.  I finally decided to go for it, telling her that if she didn’t want to bother, I completely understood.  Honestly, I’m not sure I’d want to lug around a doll for someone else, but much to my surprise and happiness, she agreed!  Now we just had to have our fingers crossed that they would still have her when she got there.  Luck was on our side, and now she’s here and ready for her closeup!

Meet Allie’s sister–Christine Irene Rhodes!

I liked Grace, but like I said before, I wasn’t fully convinced I wanted her. Really, it’s kind of ridiculous, especially considering I have more of Grace’s collection than any other GOTY. And then when I got the doll that would become Allie, I thought they would make a cute set of sisters. Yeah, they have completely different coloring, but lots of sisters do. They have each inherited different traits from their parents, but their basic face shape is the same.

I promised when I unveiled Allie that I would tell you where her name came from. Christine’s isn’t too far off from where Allie’s comes from either. My favorite band is the Gin Blossoms. And my favorite song of theirs is “Allison Road”. Get it? I always used to joke that it would be fun if your last name was Rhodes to name your daughter Allison. Since my last name isn’t Rhodes and I don’t have a daughter, this was the next best way to do it! The story behind the song is kind of funny too, the lead singer was driving through Texas with a friend when they saw a sign for Allison Road. The friend’s sister’s name was Allison, so they decided it would be funny to stop and take a photo of it. Some time passed and one day the idea for the song came to him, and he started writing it. He has said it’s one of the fastest songs he’s ever written!

“Christine Irene” is another song by the Gin Blossoms, but not quite as popular as the other. I just thought it would be kind of funny to keep with the same theme. The post about Allie contained several hints too, I’m really surprised that no one figured it out. The title of the post “I’ve Learned Not To Say Never” is a line from their song “29”. Allie’s comment “No Chocolate Cake” is a reference to the name of one of their albums. And the girls are from Arizona which is where the band is from. Plus Allie is a fan of 90’s alternative which is the time period where the Gin Blossoms really hit it big with their album “New Miserable Experience”.

The girls are really happy to be here and excited to see snow. I haven’t burst their bubble. (shhhhhhh)

Allie is the oldest, she’s 13 (almost 14) and Christine is 12. Christine is a little bit nervous about starting at a new school, but Allie keeps telling her she’s going to be just fine.

Look out Kennedy, the Rhodes girls are here! 😉

The Sisterhood of the Dolls (Or should that be Fandom of the Dolls?)

Back in 1990 when I got my first American Girl doll, I remember thinking it was a little bit crazy.  A grown 20-something woman wanting a doll geared towards an 8 year old kid.  But then again, my mom collected Barbie dolls, so it wasn’t all that weird, was it?  It was a Christmas gift and I was so excited to get her.  Fast forward to a couple of years ago when I decided to buy Rebecca and if you’ve been reading my blog since the early days, you know that my collection has expanded a bit.  Alright, not just a bit, A LOT.  I guess I got past thinking it was weird.

Starting this blog 3 years ago was something I did just for fun and as an experiment.  Never in a million years did I ever think that I would still be doing it at this point (and no signs of stopping).  Nor did I expect the kind of responses I’ve gotten from people.  I just figured it would be one of many blogs out there that once in a while had someone pop in and read.  Boy was I wrong!  I’ve had people from all over the world visit.  And comment.  There are days when I go in and look at the daily stats for visitors and I’m totally blown away.  The best part is that quite a few of these people have not just become readers, but friends.  People who I e-mail, text and have phone conversations with on a regular basis.  I’ve even managed to meet one of them in person several times, and I hope to meet several more someday.  These are awesome friendships, forged from a mutual interest.  You have no idea what that has meant to me over the past few years.

I had no idea just how many adult collectors there are for just American Girl and other 18 inch dolls of similar styles.  I love how passionate these people are for their collections too.  There are those (like me) who collect a variety; GOTY’s, historicals (they will never be BeForever to me!) and others.  Then there are those who find their niche and stick to it.  It’s a great community though, and even though there are times where we may not all agree 100% on everything, there is one thing we can all agree on for sure–that we love dolls and for us, there is no age limit.  Whether you are 8 or 80, dolls are such a universal thing.  Truthfully, you can say that about almost any toys, but I think dolls are probably one of the most varied items in that category and there is something for everyone.

San Diego recently had their giant convention where people from around the world get together to enjoy all sorts of different areas of science fiction, comic book, adventure–well, quite frankly, just about anything you can think of.  I hadn’t really thought about it much until someone posted a photo on Twitter that showed the crowd (or lack thereof) on the day of the very first one.  A couple of guys walking around in front of a large building.  Then there was a photo of the most recent one, a big crowd.  Now it’s a huge event, with people buying tickets well in advance and it sells out every single year.  Amazing.  Something that people thought of as weird, unusual, and only for “nerds” has become so popular that the biggest celebrities in the industry show up year after year.  Who would have thought?  I’m sure the guys who set up the first one never imagined someone as big as Stan Lee (the godfather of comic books) would eventually be making regular appearances at these things.

This got me to thinking–we are sort of like our own little “club”.  (I hesitate to use the word sisterhood because I know that there are a few male doll collectors!)   All brought together by a mutual love of dolls.  I always feel terrible when I hear of someone who has been made fun of because they collect dolls (or something else).  Collectibles have a way of giving you a great amount of pleasure, no matter what they are.  Whether it’s taking you back to a moment in childhood, or something you always wanted but never got for Christmas, there is that moment of excitement when you’ve found that particular item.  And it’s a feeling many of us share.  I recently listened to an interview with the lead singer of one of my favorite bands who has an large collection of lunchboxes.  He talked about how it was fun in the early days of the band (before the internet) to go scrounging through the phone book of the various places that they went, looking for stores that sold collectibles, antiques, etc, hoping to score that great find.  For him it was a “Lost In Space” lunchbox, the one he always wanted as a kid.  As I listened, I could totally relate, not just from my own view point, but also from that of so many of my friends, readers and fellow bloggers in this awesome doll fandom.  I not only enjoy when I find something incredible, but also when I see that one of my doll cohorts has come across a terrific find somewhere.  While we might be slightly envious at times, we are also genuinely happy for someone because we know how it feels.

A couple of years ago I read an excellent post by an author whose blog I followed.  Unfortunately I can’t share it because her blog isn’t exactly suited for kids.  But I’ll give you the basic gist.  As a kid growing up, her family had very little money.  Her “holy grail” of toys was an American Girl Samantha, but the reality was that when you barely have enough money to put food on the table, a doll that costs that much just isn’t happening.  A couple of summers ago she was vacationing with friends and while in a store, she noticed a Samantha doll in one of the displays.  She had recently released a book that did better beyond her belief, and she decided that Samantha was going to be her reward for that.  She didn’t care how much she cost, she was prepared to wipe out every penny in her wallet to get her.  And then an amazing thing happened.  When she asked the woman who ran the store (who was also the owner) about Samantha and if she was willing to sell her, the woman said no.  She gave Samantha to her.  I can remember reading that, with tears pouring down my face because I was so happy for her, and I totally got how she felt.  Samantha later appeared in further blog posts with some hilarious results, and it was no doubt a moment that she was never going to forget, and neither was I.  It was great to see someone get their hearts desire, that item that had been missing from their past.

So why am I writing this post?  Well, for several reasons.  I just want to take a moment to thank everyone who has read this blog for the past 3 years for all of your support, well wishes, laughs and friendship.  It’s been an amazing journey thus far, and I look forward to seeing where it ends up next.  I’m still surprised at how things have turned out, and since my brain doesn’t seem to quit working when it comes to all things doll, I’m sure I have at least a few good years of ideas to go.  Time will tell.

I also wanted to tell everyone to stay passionate about your fandom.  Whether it’s dolls, lunchboxes, Sherlock, Doctor Who–whatever–don’t let anyone discourage you.  If it is something you love, don’t let others tell you it’s stupid, or that you are too old for it.  My mom was 89 when she passed away, and her dolls were a tremendous source of joy and fun for her.  I’m always a bit disheartened when I hear someone say “oh, I’m too old for (insert item here).”  No you aren’t.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise either.  If you want to get rid of your dolls or toys because you truly aren’t interested in them anymore, that’s fine.  Maybe further down the road you’ll find that interest again, or you’ll find something else to fill that space.  Whatever you do, don’t let anyone bully you into thinking that you are too old for something you enjoy, or that it’s weird.  If it gives you true happiness and it’s not hurting anyone else, that is what is genuinely important.  And I’ll let you in on a little secret–some of them are either jealous or secretly have dolls/toys hidden away somewhere, but are afraid to admit it! 😉

So, to the Sisterhood/Fandom of the Dolls (and whatever else you collect)–thank you and to many more years of fun! (And in case you are wondering, yes, he did finally get the “Lost In Space” lunchbox. 🙂 )

Super 8 Project–a dresser and nightstand!

Welcome to another installment of the Super 8 Project–in other words, my inexpensive version of the Grand Hotel set from American Girl.  So far we have the backdrop and the sink.  I haven’t had a lot of time to work on some of the more labor intensive items just yet, plus with the hot weather we’ve been having, the dining room (where I have space to work) has turned into a no-go zone!  Fortunately, cooler weather should be here soon, and I already have my ideas in place, so it won’t take long to get them finished.  In the meantime, I have something that didn’t really need much in regards to adapting, and it was a simple project.

Not long after I started on this project, I decided to make a run on several of our area thrift stores.  I found some fun things, not just for the dolls, but for me too!  I was about to head home when something told me to take a bit of a drive to a thrift store I hadn’t been to for a while.  Little did I know…

As I walked through the store, I  headed immediately to the housewares section.  I started looking around, and there it was!  Just what I was looking for.  But there was a little girl messing around with it, and I was afraid she was going to try and talk her mom into it.  So I looked at some other stuff, all the while keeping my fingers crossed.  Luck was on my side because after she left, it was still there.  Are you ready to see what it was?

This awesome jewelry box! I loved the configuration of the drawers on it, to me it was perfectly suited to be the dresser in the hotel room. Where the empty space was is a drawer that was being repaired when I took the photo. It also had something spilled all over it, but it all came off with some serious scrubbing with a disinfecting wipe. The interior was a bit dirty and it apparently had been previously used for some sort of craft storage as it had bright blue glitter scattered around in the top compartment. Thank heavens for a vacuum cleaner! I sucked that all up before it ended up scattered around my house, and then set to work.

I decided to line all of the drawers with scrapbook paper.  It was a lot of cutting, but well worth the effort.  The top part I left alone because I doubt I’ll ever use it for doll stuff since there will be things sitting on top of it.  I even contemplated gluing it shut with hot glue just so it won’t come open.  Still thinking about that.

I decided to line one of the deep drawers in white, and then put a divider in it so it is a pull out refrigerator! Originally I was going to put a hinge on the broken drawer, but it didn’t want to work very well, so I decided this was the next best thing.

Then it was time to touch up all of the nicks and dings. I dug out my trusty Sharpie furniture markers!

I was really pleased with how it turned out when I was done. Not bad for a $9.99 purchase!

Sophia thought it was pretty cool too!

Not too long after I finished that project, I had a trip to TJMaxx. I’ve found quite a few doll sized things there, and I always keep my eyes opened. The Super 8 gods must have been smiling down on me because I found this interesting pen/pencil holder:

Set it sideways though, and it makes a perfect night stand! I’m not even going to paint it either, I like it much better in just plain gray as opposed to silver. It was only $4.99 too, so I was thrilled.

That’s it for this installment.  Until we meet again!