Saturday, September 8, 2018

The arrival of Aurora (and many others)

Up the front walkway abloom with late august lavender came a stranger. No dread arose in her chest from being someplace new and unfamiliar, instead it was near bursting with excitement. Everywhere she looked she saw possibility and beauty. And everywhere she looked she noticed what plants were growing and which needed attention.

She grinned and nodded at everything on the front porch. Teal bench, little old teapot, hostas making a big leafy sea. There were high hopes to be had for this new home. Coming upon the door, she went to knock, but found that it swung open under her knuckles. Before she could think "that's odd"-

The door was yanked open to reveal a blond girl, who immediately spouted greetings and questions. 
"Hello! Welcome in, welcome in! Was your journey here uneventful? My name's Lily. The rest of the house is here to meet you. What's your name?"
When the blond girl Lily paused for breath, our stranger managed to wedge "Hi I'm Aurora." In before the next barrage of words began.

"Behind me here is Rylan, Leo, Cameryn, and Andie. Say hello everyone!"
There was a staggered chorus of "hello" "hi" "howdy" and suchlike.

Peering inside beyond Lily and the door, Aurora saw more faces than she ever expected, including one who was studying the ground from atop a cardboard box. She started inside, unsure of what to do with herself or her stuff now that there was such a large greeting party.
"Uhh, Just so you know, everyone, there's like. A whole bunch of girls coming up the driveway. I saw them on my way up." Said Aurora to the room at large. 
"Oh yeah that'll be our cousins, we're expecting them too. Let's go out and greet them!" Chattered Lily. "And Andie? Get down from that box, please."

Aurora watched as Lily skipped out the door, shouting "Yoo-hoo!" and waving. She was followed quickly by Andie, who had slid off the box grumbling and was now being tailed by the girl with the afro, who must have been Rylan. She looked around the inside now. They were in a living room, and she was accompanied only by Cameryn and Leo. She wondered vaguely who was who, especially since both seemed like boys names but one appeared to be wearing a skirt. Oh well. One could never assume these things. 

Presently, Aurora wandered outside to have a look at the cousins. Four seemed like a lot of cousins. But then again, even one cousin would be a lot for her. Lily was hugging everyone and cooing "how are youuuuuu?!" While Andie was smiling distantly and patting whoever was nearest on the shoulder. Rylan stood by holding Andie's hand.

She was surprised when Lily dashed past her viewpoint by the flower pot.
"Hey everybody! Come get up on the bench so we can all see each other and introduce ourselves! We've got like five new people today!"
So everybody made their way over to the bench and did their best to scramble up. Cameron and Leo wandered out of the house and said a pleasant hello to those they past on their way up the bench by way of the side brace on the legs.

After a lot of kerfuffle and hubbub, everyone was situated on the bench and ready to listen. Aurora stuck her bag between her legs. No one had told her where she should put it yet.
"All right, I'll go first." said Lily. Nobody disputed. "I'm Lily. Our BFG's name is Gwen, and I'm her second doll." 
"Hold up, what's a BFG?" asked Aurora
"Stands for Big Friendly Giant, like the Roald Dhal book. But in our case its our Big Friend Gwen." Somebody answered. 
Lily continued "Andie is my sister, and Mckenna and Maddie are my cousins. Andie, Your turn."

"Ok uh." Andie said to the armrest opposite her. "I'm Andie, Lily's older sister. This is my girlfriend Rylan. I was BFG's first doll, and uh. Mckenna and Maddie are my cousins. Yeah. You go now, Ry."
"Howdy, everybody, I'm Rylan!" said Rylan cheerfully. "I am everybody's housemate and Andie is my girlfriend, aaaand I'm nobody's cousin and nobody's sister. Let's continue."

The one in the green shirt and denim skirt started speaking. "Hi! We are Leo and Cameryn. I don't think the Seattle dolls have met us before, but we live here on swamp road with everyone else. Lots of housemates means lots of frenemies." 
"Hold up. Which one of you is Cameryn and Which one of you is Leo?" Asked Aurora.
"I'm Leo." said Leo the green shirt and denim skirt. And next to me is Cameryn. She doesn't like talking very much. Except to me. It's chill."
"Leo, are you aware you are wearing a skirt?" asked one of who were presumably the Seattle dolls.
"Yeah man. My shorts are in the wash but I look great!"

Realizing it was her turn, Aurora took a breath. "Hey all! I'm aurora and I just got here. I guess I'm your housemate now. Uhh. yeah." She bit her lip and stared at her feet, embarrassed she couldn't come up with something better.

The girl next to her went. "I'm Maddie. Mckenna is my sister and Andie and Lily are my cousins."
Mckenna introduced herself in a similar way, adding that she loved gymnastics.
When it was her turn, Saige said "I'm Saige and I live with Mckenna, Maddie, and Kaya. And I can read y'all's natal charts if you want. I don't know why we didn't add our sun signs in here."

"Yeah yeah we know you're an astrology nerd, Saige." Said Kaya. "Anyway, I'm Kaya and I live with Mckenna, Maddie, and Saige. But I guess we live here now. It might be fun."

I bought Aurora at the very end of august when I was staying with my aunt for a drama class.My cousin, Barrett, doesn't use her dolls much anymore so they are staying with me to make room in her house while they remodel the kitchen.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Adventures in doll care- hair repair

Saige and Mckenna's hair was absolutely whack. Even though they had been brushed responsibly, stuff happens with long hair. Both of them were enormous, bushy, and tangled. The synthetic fibers had curled up on themselves and made strange squiggles that interlocked and made terrible knots.

For mckenna's hair, which was reasonably short and incredibly thick I just pulled apart sections and brushed them individually, working from bottom to top, trying not to pull it out and trying to ignore the noises the brush made going through the tangles. It took more strength than anticipated.

I bunched all the sections together to see what it would do and got this lovely... to me it looks kind of like flames shooting out the end of a rocket or a really cool motorcycle. It could also be a haystack. Anyway, the hair stuck straight out and was still insanely frizzy at the end. I stuck her aside and tried to do the same for Saige's hair.

Here are the crazy, frizzy, interlocking squiggles. This was a nightmare to brush through, and it poofed right back out and bunched itself together when I was through.

Heres how it was when I got done. Still very frizzy and you can see all the hair this poor doll lost in the bottom right corner. There was even more of it out of frame.
BUT WORRY NOT! There was hope for this hair, and hope that did not lie in scissors. (In fact, scissors are for when you lose all hope.)
Our hope here lies in boiling water. Plastic heated up will bend to your will. Or straighten to your will.
So I boiled some water in the teakettle, poured it into a big bowl, and let it cool for 5 minutes lest I melt their hair.

After several dunkings and brushings, saige's hair was getting more manageable. The crazy squiggles straightened out and the brush positively glided through.

I did the same for mckenna.

After several more brushings to ensure everything was perfectly straight and not tangled, I left them to dry.
Now let's see how Maddie is doing

Maddie has had a little strand of wig hanging off for quite some time now, and her part was weird on top so it showed the seams and cap.

I pulled up the hair, showing the wig cap, so I could find where our dangly strand belongs. I'm always amazed at the cleverness of wigs.

My sewing job was messy, but the strand is now back on securely. The white thread is mine

Monday, August 27, 2018

Doll care adventures- limb tightening

My younger cousin Barrett just turned 13 and does not play with her dolls much anymore, and her family is going to remodel some parts of the house, which means a lot of stuff must be stored or purged. I, being the weirdo 17 year old who still enjoys dolls, offered (or really, requested) to let Barrett's dolls stay with me for a few months until she wants them back.
There are 4 dolls from her-

From left to right:
Maddie, a Just Like You with blue pinwheel eyes, lined brows, and platinum blond hair.
Saige, Girl Of The Year 2013
Mckenna, Girl Of The Year 2012
Kaya, a BeForever bought in 2014.
Saige and Kaya are in the best condition since they are the newest. Bear has always treated her dolls well, even when she was little, but things happen with little children and over time.
My orders of buisness were: tighten Maddie and McKenna's legs, fix Saige and Mckenna's hair. Kaya got to chill on the floor with my dolls while her crew got intensive hospital and spa treatment.

Loose string makes for loose legs!

 My Simple Limb Tightening Process:

1. Untie neck string and remove head
2. Use two clawed fingers to scoop out stuffing

3. Find the socket joint for one of the legs, pull it out the neck hole or as close to the neck hole as you can so you can see what you're doing while you work on it.

4. Pull on the elastic string sticking out of the socket joint. This pulls the limb further in and doesn't let it flop around anymore.
5. Use a hair tie to keep the elastic string tight, which just means keeping the knot pulled up from the white thing.
6. Now do it to the other leg!
7. Begin putting stuffing back in. Use a pencil to pack it down, especially in the butt and hip area, where a lack of stuffing will either look weird or cause the joint casing to wiggle around or fabric to fold.
8. Make sure the knotted ends of the string aren't poking at the body fabric, that'll look weird too.
9. As you get close to the top, pack the stuffing tightly around the arm joints.
10. Slide the head lip back under the neck hole, and tie the string tightly. Admire your handiwork.

Ta Da! 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Squeal of joy

all right I don’t know about y’all but I am BEYOND excited because a few days ago I was browsing the AG site (has to be done sometimes) and discovered that they released new Truly Me dolls. Im not caught up with everything that goes on so this came as a surprise. But while doing that I noticed something. Somebody. This somebody:
TrulyMe #79, a medium skinned Jess Mold. The first medium skinned jess mold EVER aside from Kanani (GOtY 2011). Now Kanani has been my dream doll for years, but I doscovered American Girl in 2013, so Kanani was long gone by then. After many fruitless scourings of ebay and just hoping to find one at a good will or something, I gave up. One couldn’t just have a not!Kanani because that face mold and skin tone combination straight up wasn’t avalible.
But now it is!
I have been debating for a few months werher or not to get Luciana, because lots of times I want something and then decide “no I don’t really need that” for the sake of money or space. But then I remember how much I wanted the thing, often long after the item has been retired. So getting Luciana was a definite possibility ever since January.
But not!Kanani holds presidence over her, being that I’ve wanted her more and for much longer. Though a TrulyMe just released will not retire anytime soon, it is best to satisfy an old want than to get a new doll just because I might regret not getting her in the future.
The feeling of wanting a doll badly is a feeling I had nearly forgotten. As a 7th and 8th grader I would find a doll or outfit I wanted, I would find a way for it to fit in with the rest of my doll’s lives and the story I have going for them. I would get so ecxited thinging about having it and using it, plotting where I would get the money and the logistics of an AG store trip or ordering online. The excitement would fill my chest and buzz down my arms while my brain whirled around backstories, names, and clothing preferences. Sometimes I couldn’t even sleep.
But as I grew older (not even very much older) I developed depression and all emotions faded out and drained away while I was left laying in a mud puddle, my body filled with styrofoam and unable to move or think. Three years went by. Wanting to use dolls was the first to go. Wanting to live went a while larter. Grades and friends slipped, of course. All was foggy and dim.
But now, after more than a year of medication and counseling (some with therapists, some with personal research) interest in school, friends, starry hill, acting, singing, and astrophotography returned. So did the doll hobby. And now, I find it amazing that I can loose sleep being wxcited to think about dolls and excitement for the future- near future being the acting class I chose to take (first non school class ever except piano lessons which I quit long ago) and far future (growing nearer) being college, the prospect of which used to terrify me, but now excites me.
Personal anecdote aside:
I think the best way to purchace such expensive dolls is to wait until you have a personality and backstory developed. Otherwise you wind up with a hunk of vinyl instead of a character. I did that with TrulyMe (which was MyAG at the time) #61. She was on the Julls steals and Deals sale a few years ago, and I was immensely pleased that I could get a hundred dollar doll for $70, especially since she was the only one with truly red hair and green instead of hazel eyes. Despite all this, I didn’t know who she would be or how she fit in. To this day she does not have a name. I have tried several times, but they never stick. I might take off her wig and pop out her eyes just in case I want to build a doll. Maybe get a head from ebay.
So the next order of buisness is: who shall #79 be?