Monday, August 29, 2016

Meeting "Karen Mom of 3" from the famous doll blog...

We'll see if this link will work, and take you to Karen's blog post.
I'd never met Karen in person until April 2016.
She is a very energetic young mother of three, and has tons of energy!
She keeps up with her family, and an amazing blog of doll crafts and info, plus she blogs about tea and reads around 40 books or so each week. I admire her greatly!
The photo above was taken in April at the American Girl Boutique at Granville and Broadway in Vancouver BC. Miss Nikki is standing beside Karen; they are good friends. Miss Nikki enjoys her job a lot! She also has a blog.

Karen had contacted me and asked if I would sew her a special dress for her Mom's vintage Chatty Cathy doll. I was quite honoured to do so! We met across from the AG Boutique for tea at Blenz Coffee shop. Pictured below is one of Karen's darling little nieces.

The Chatty Cathy dolls were made by Mattel Doll Company in the early 1960's.
Now the same company produces the American Girl dolls!
Of course we had to step across the street to visit the AG store.
And I'd made up my mind that I would purchase Addy Walker because I've heard rumours that she will be retired soon. Isn't she cute?

It was a fun outing and I was very pleased to meet Karen at last.
It's fun having doll collectors close by!
Loretta Houben

My childhood dolls: post from 2009

I've always loved dolls. I got my first doll at age 6 months, for a Christmas gift from my parents. Yes, I still have her along with one original shoe. She was nearly as big as me!

I longed for a Barbie doll when I was older, but my mom thought it best to give me a knock off doll with a flat chest for my 5th birthday. She thought Barbie's big boobs were indecent! Here is a picture of the doll with the case she came in: The dress she is wearing has a bow around the waist. I learned how to tie a bow using this very same dress!

 She was purchased at Woolworth's store on Hastings Street. My sister Leona got a matching doll, only her doll had white hair. Here's the doll wearing a red velvet bodice dress, with a tiered satin skirt. I got the dress for Christmas in 1966. I thought it was so elegant. My doll still has her original shoes!

My aunt Frieda (my mom's sister) sent me a package for my 8th birthday; a bendable knee Stacey! I was thrilled with this doll, big boobs and all! I never liked her white hair though.

One of my favourite birthdays ever! My aunt Frieda also sewed the dress I'm wearing; she was an excellent seamstress. My Mom made the cake which I loved, and I got a beautiful white Bible, KJV.

For my 9th birthday I was allowed to have a birthday party, and my mom gave me this Francie. I had wanted the blonde haired one. My mom thought Francie was a decent doll to give a young girl!

I don't know where the copy of my 9th birthday party photos are, so I'll substitute this family photo. I'm still wearing the 8th birthday dress in this picture! Those are my parents, Susie and Jack Williams in front of our house at 3382 Monmouth Avenue in Vancouver BC.
Leona is in the red and purple dress, with Marlene in between us.

I have the date wrong on this picture. I got Skipper when I was 11 years old; 1971. She's wearing a dress I spent my money on at the local Farmer's Market in New Westminster. It's handmade and was $1.25 back in the 1970's.

This is myself in 1973. A young teenager. I still loved to play with dolls at this age, until I was 15.
Well, I still love dolls now!
Loretta Houben

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The 2015 GOTY! (archived from my main blog for January 2, 2015)

(This post is archived from my main blog; January 2, 2015.)

 Each day this year I will try to do one thing I really love.
That's one of my goals. I will also either blog about it or mark it down.
Yesterday afternoon I borrowed Robert's bus pass, and went downtown.
It was quite chilly but a gorgeous crisp sunny day.
Since last May 2014 an American Girl boutique (smaller than a regular store) has been on the second floor of Chapter's book store on Robson Street. Over the past year I've visited quite a bit, just to look at the displays and to pick up doll stands for my growing AG collection.
This is Grace Thomas, the GOTY (Girl of the Year) for 2015.
Since 2001, there has been a new girl with her own outfits and props and books.

I bought Isabelle Palmer last year because I had to buy at least ONE doll from a Vancouver store! There are four historical dolls sold here too, Samantha, Julie, Addy and Rebecca. I have them all except Addy. There are also the dolls which look "just like you". There are some outfits sold here, and the Bitty Babies. The store revealed Grace yesterday and handed out a free apron to each person. The first picture above was my first look at Grace. I couldn't decide if I liked her or not, as she has a different face mold with a rather pointy little chin, and freckles.
I will confess I don't like freckles and was glad I never had them on my face, although my arms are very freckled! I love a smooth peachy cream sort of complexion.
But this doll is growing on me, so who knows; maybe she will end up living here too.

(She certainly did, and she has become my favourite GOTY doll ever!)

 I love this pink dress! I love the bistro card with the pastries!
It's $180 Cdn for the cart!

This is Grace's bake store, sold online only, and it's $500 US!

I also love the little bistro set which is $80.
(I also bought this later, when it came on sale! I just love it.)

The baking set is $80. Everything would sure add up.
(And I got this darling set on sale!)

This is the baking outfit.
(And I purchased this set too; I just love all of Grace's items!)

Another view of the pastry cart.
(I never bought this, as I have limited room.)

Showing the prices of the doll and some items.

One of the outfits.

Grace's PJ set.
(I never got this and now I wish I would have!)

Another outfit and Grace's dog.
(I did buy this outfit; my favourite and I did get Grace's dog!)

A close up of Grace's face. I really do love AG dolls as I think they are so well made. Robert really likes this one. He gave me a gift card for Chapter's store for Christmas, although I've already used a bit of it to purchase Isabelle's accessory set which was on sale last week for $18.
There were many young girls purchasing this doll yesterday, so I asked a clerk how well sales were doing and she said the dolls were flying off the shelves! She said it was their best sales day yet.
That's great news for me!

Here is the cardboard package on the left containing my free apron, and the little T-shirt is my only purchase yesterday. I laid it on the counter after two young girls had bought two Grace dolls ahead of me, and said "Here is my big purchase!" and the clerk laughed.
I also commented that I was so happy to find a T-shirt with "Canada" on it, and he said it was because so many customers had asked for one. Therefore it does pay to ask!
It was certainly a fun afternoon, and that was my good happy thing for January 1st.
By Loretta Houben

Archived post for January 8, 2015 from my main blog:

(I first posted this on my main blog site, and decided to put it here on my dolly blog. Alas, we no longer have Target stores here in Canada; after a very short duration, all 130+ stores went bankrupt and closed in 2015.)

Well, it didn't take me long! I found this little darling doll (14 1/2") at my local Target store. She was only $20.99 Cdn. I've heard of these dolls but never saw them before. I looked high and low but she was the only one on the shelf.

She is "Hearts for Hearts" brand. I'm not sure of the history yet.
She portrays a 10 year old girl living in Brazil on a coffee farm.
Isn't she cute?

Zelia will be interesting to sew for.
I set her up with 3 of my AG dolls right beside my computer desk.
They stand there waiting for new outfits.
Loretta Houben
PS: I still haven't sewed for the Hearts for Hearts doll!

An archived post from my main blog: January 23, 2015

(This post was taken from my main blog; I'm planning to add all my doll posts onto this blog. I wrote it on January 23, 2015.)

Maybe it's the really wet rainy weather we've been having this month, or missing Hawaii, or the fact that nothing stays long here in Vancouver BC, but I bought another doll yesterday, the 3rd doll this month! That's quite unusual, seeing as one of the dolls was an AG and you know they're not cheap.
I was busy for around two hours on Wednesday rolling a large container of coins, including pennies. Here in Canada we no longer use them as the Bank of Canada discontinued their production in early 2012. It took me over a year to get used to no pennies, and I no longer find them on the street. However instead I find quarters so I guess that's much better! I can't figure out if I'm getting cheated or not, as if the total of an item in the store comes to $10. 23, and I hand the clerk a $10 bill plus a quarter, I don't get 2 cents back; I get nothing back. But if something costs $20.02 I just pay the $20 and don't worry about the 2 cents so maybe it all works out? It's called "rounding up" or "rounding down".
Anyhow, I went to Toys R Us yesterday after cashing in my rolled coins at the bank.
I got quite a bit back! The pennies totaled $10 so they helped to buy the Journey Girl doll produced by Toys R Us. That's their brand of 18" doll I guess. They have really cute accessories including a darling bike for only $34 and a neat oven for $34. 

They had around 20 different dolls so they were well stocked.
I settled on Dana, an animal lover. I re-named her Penny. Tee hee...
That way she will always remind me of the lost Canadian pennies.
She has a cute dress and sweater, handbag, and blue plastic shoes.
Her glasses make her too studious looking so I removed them.

Here is the huge stack of pennies which amounted to $10!
Coins really add up. The whole amount of all the rolled coins came to $98!
This year I'm planning to save all the toonies ($2 coins) and use them for eating out, as we are on a very low budget this year. My husband got a new job last October 2014 at Coast Capital Savings and it is quite a bit less than he used to make in previous years before his brother left the company due to illness. But we are so glad his job is stable so we have to learn to make do all over again, similar to when we were first married. I guess that's how life is in the 2010's!

Here is Penny released from her box.
Isn't her accessory set cute? There are around 6 different Journey Girl dolls, all in the same packaging. I loved this accessory set as I simply love London! It was only $13.99 Cdn. The JG dolls have really small feet so their shoes don't fit an AG doll.

Of course the T-shirt would look better with jeans or a short jean skirt.
The set has a cute cap, shirt, London map, and a thin plastic red camera, with the adorable red plastic sandals, which were a little tricky to fasten in the back.
I'm getting attached to these little dolls. I found some cute pictures of them on Pinterest.
There's nothing like another new doll in the house!
Loretta Houben

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Yolanda's new sewing machine!

I'd seen this on a few FB pages.
We no longer have a Target store in Canada.
After less than 2 years, they all went bankrupt; all 130 of them.
I still can't quite believe it, and I still miss going into the Our Generation toy section on the 3rd floor at Metrotown Mall in Burnaby BC.
So when I found this at MasterMind Toys online, I bought it in a hurry, because any order over $60 was FREE shipping!

This set is just darling. I haven't opened it yet.
Inside is a sewing machine, table, chair, dress maker form, pin cushion, pattern, fabric, etc.

It's just adorable! I have another sewing machine for 18" dolls but it's vintage 1900's style.
This is modern.

Yolanda is very excited and happy to be the first to use it.
Well, she assumes she will be!
She also got a new desk with a laptop earlier this year, so she's on a roll.
I'll take more photos once I open it.
Now I'll enjoy it for a while, as I don't get too many packages in the mail anymore.

By Loretta Houben