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St. Patrick's Day

What a difference a year makes! Last year I was greeted with this.

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I was literally snowed in my home and the entire Washington, DC metropolitan area literally closed down because we got a whopping seven inches of snow.

This year it’s different.

Spring is here.

Spring is here.

That’s right, it’s a crocus that’s currently blooming in my front yard.

Last year the only outdoor activity I did was where I dressed my Volks Dollfie Dream doll in an appropriate outfit for the occasion, stepped outside my front door, and took a few brief snapshots in the snow.

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And here is the same doll in the same wig, shoes, and outfit just one year later.

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By the way, I made that St. Patrick’s Day outfit she wears in the photographs. For more information about how I made it, see my blog post on Irish Lass that I wrote five years ago.

Today is just a warm, gorgeous day outside with temperatures reaching the high 60’s. Here’s a photo of the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center that I took just a few hours ago.

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I managed to cook up the usual Guinness Beef Stew with Guinness Bread and a side order of carrots glazed in honey. I had to do the prep work the night before because I’m currently taking a class that meets Tuesday nights (I’ll write more on that later) and St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year. I did the advance preparation so I would have something Irish to eat on the actual day itself.

I don’t really mind going to a class on St. Patrick’s Day because this time last year I couldn’t get out of my house even if I wanted to. All around it’s a great day today! :-)


Santa Claus
As the Sagittarius Dolly blog inches closer to its fifth anniversary on January 6, 2015, I thought I’d provide a look back at some of my creations that I’ve previously featured in this blog.
Skulls & Roses
Skulls & Roses

Skulls & Roses

Skulls & Roses
Skulls & Roses
Originally profiled on February 28, 2011.

Santa Claus
Merry Christmas, everyone! As the Sagittarius Dolly blog inches closer to its fifth anniversary on January 6, 2015, I thought I’d provide a look back at some of my creations that I’ve previously featured in this blog.
Kitsch Christmas Ornament
Kitsch Christmas Ornament
Kitsch Christmas Ornament
Kitsch Ornament
Kitsch Christmas Ornament
Kitsch Ornament
Kitsch Christmas Ornament
Kitsch Christmas Ornament
Kitsch Christmas Ornament

Originally profiled on December 20, 2010.

As the Sagittarius Dolly blog inches closer to its fifth anniversary on January 6, 2015, I thought I’d provide a look back at some of my creations that I’ve previously featured in this blog.

New Year Doll Photo
Originally profiled on December 31, 2010.

Previous entries in the Occupy the Dollhouse series can be found right here.

The dolls and their allies continue their fight for equal justice for all by staging a die-in at American Girl Place.

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A few American Girl dolls currently on sale decide to raise their hands in solidarity with the protesters.

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This protest was one of many that have been taking place all over the United States as a protest against police killing unarmed African Americans. The largest one to date took place at the Mall of America (a.k.a. the biggest shopping mall in the United States) on the last Saturday before Christmas.


As the Sagittarius Dolly blog inches closer to its fifth anniversary on January 6, 2015, I thought I’d provide a look back at some of my creations that I’ve previously featured in this blog.

Sparkling Blue
Sparkling Blue
Sparkling Blue
Sparkling Blue
Sparkling Blue
Sparkling Blue
Originally profiled on January 3, 2011.

American Flag
Even though today is Thanksgiving Day, there has been a trend among the big box retailers to open their doors on the actual holiday itself. This is definitely a change from the old days when most businesses were closed and even the few that were opened on the holiday (such as supermarkets) would close their doors by 4 p.m. so their employees can spend the holiday with their families.

Now the big box retailers are not only forcing their employees to either spend less time at home or skip Thanksgiving entirely but they are also trying to entice their customers to give up more and more of their holiday time by having hot doorbuster deals on certain consumer items.

You can spend less time with your loved ones or eat Thanksgiving dinner unusually early so you can put on your coats and step out in the usual cold November weather while fighting other like-minded shoppers to grab some consumer items.

Or you can do the alternative. You can stay in your warm home surfing the Internet and go holiday shopping in my online Etsy shop. You don’t have to worry getting into the car and the online shopping experience is so quick and convenient that you can just order something quickly then go back to preparing for Thanksgiving dinner. Here’s a sample item that I’m currently selling online now that you can buy while you’re wearing your pajamas or casual clothes.

Souseiseki/Suiseiseki Tote Bag
Souseiseki/Suiseiseki Tote BagThis is a customized one-of-a-kind tote bag that I painted by hand. To learn more about how I created this bag, you can read the post I originally wrote on February 14, 2013. If you’re looking for unique holiday gifts, you can order right here.

 

Ramadan
Today is the last day that I’ll be posting any of Google’s World Cup Doodles in this blog like this one that was put up before the U.S. vs. Belgium match.

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The U.S. team made it to the Second Stage Round of 16 only to get defeated by Belgium. It was literally a repeat of the American team’s defeat four years ago where it was finally defeated during overtime when Belgium scored two goals. The U.S. team scored one goal during overtime but Belgium won 2-1. Damn, it does sound nearly identical to what I wrote four years ago. The big difference is that I was watching that match from my own home and not during an Ocean City vacation.

I remember writing about how I had lost interest in the World Cup and the only silver lining is that I would no longer have to hear those horrible vuvuzelas that people brought inside the stadiums in South Africa. I remember when my then-husband read that entry online after I had posted it and he laughed and suddenly blurted out “That’s what YOU think!” When I wrote that other entry, I forgot that my husband was so soccer-mad that he would watch games when the U.S. teams weren’t playing (while frequently chiding me by saying “You have no appreciation for the beautiful game!”). Sure enough, I heard more of those vuvuzelas as my husband watched the 2010 World Cup to the bitter end. I had thought about writing another entry where I said that I was wrong when I said that I would be spared those vuvuzelas but I never got around to it because I was too lazy. (Yeah, I can be lame at times. LOL!) In any case, until the day I die, I will always associate the first World Cup ever played on the African continent with this.

This year there are no vuvuzelas (it’s merciful that Brazilian culture don’t have anything as obnoxious sounding as those South African vuvuzelas) and I also no longer have a soccer-mad husband. So this year, when I’m writing that I’ve lost interest in the World Cup and I won’t be watching it anymore, I really mean it. I wish the best to whoever wins the World Cup but I don’t care who wins now that the U.S. is no longer in the tournament.

Ironically I was doing something novel during the U.S. team’s World Cup swan song. There’s a person on Flickr known as Wolfheinrich who was taking a series of photos of Volks Dollfie Dream dolls next to a TV screen showing World Cup matches, such as this one.

Dollfie Dream Erika Sendo

I decided to do something similar. Since the American team was playing, I decided to use American Girl dolls (get it?).

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It was fitting that Julie Albright and Ivy Ling were chosen for that photo since, having read the Julie books, these two characters are sports-oriented. (Julie plays basketball while Ivy is into gymnastics.) At least I had the chance to take a photo like this while the U.S. team was still in the tournament.

I may be finished with watching the World Cup for this year but I’ll always have these Google Doodles to remember the U.S. team’s time in the tournament by.

U.S. vs. Ghana (June 16, 2014)

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U.S. vs. Portugal (June 22, 2014)
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U.S. vs. Germany (June 26, 2014)

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U.S. vs. Belgium (July 1, 2014)

belgiumvsusworldcup

American Flag

Since today is Memorial Day, I’d thought I’d devote an entry to something that was made right here in the United States of America.

For many decades (starting in the late 1970’s but it intensified with the election of Ronald Reagan and has been going non-stop ever since) more and more jobs have been shipped overseas. The vast majority of them have been manufacturing jobs and they have been shipped mostly to China (although some jobs have also gone to Mexico, Bangladesh, and Vietnam). Ever wonder what it’s like to have something that’s made in the United States of America? Well I’m going to provide just one example.

As most people know, most dolls and doll clothes are made in China these days. I happened to have a doll outfit that was not only made in the U.S. but it was also handmade as well. Here’s some background.

Back in May, 2005, when I was still married, my husband was going to a conference near Valley Forge in Pennsylvania. I normally didn’t tag along with him on his business trips but he decided to be really nice to me by letting me go with him on that trip. In addition some members of his family were visiting his sister (who, at the time, was living in an apartment in a small town located an hour’s drive north of Philadelphia) so he figured that it would be more convenient for me to tag along on his business trip in Valley Forge for a couple of days then drive further north to his sister’s town. I was basically on my own during the day while he was in meetings but we ate together every night during our stay there. After spending a couple of days near Valley Forge, we went further north to visit his sister and her son (who was making final preparations for his high school prom at that time) while also visiting with my husband’s mother and step-father (who had flown from Phoenix and were staying with my sister-in-law). We had originally planned on going to Valley Forge together for a few hours before driving to his sister’s place but it rained that day so we had to skip it and just drive to her home straight from the hotel.

During the Valley Forge leg of the trip, when my husband was in one of his conference meetings, I decided to drive to Lancaster County. I ate at this wonderful restaurant in Smoketown called Good and Plenty, which featured Amish and Mennonite cuisine. After finishing my meal, I visited the restaurant’s gift shop where I found this handmade doll outfit that was made by a local Amish woman and it was made to fit an 18-inch Cabbage Patch doll. At the time I was looking for clothes for my Volks Dollfie Dream, which can be so hard to find that I had to resort to sewing my own clothes. Even though my Dollfie Dream is 22-inches tall, the outfit looked baggy enough that I thought it might work so I bought it.

When I got home from Pennsylvania, I tried it on my Volks Dollfie Dream and took a few photos.

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Even though, at 22 inches, she’s taller than a Cabbage Patch doll, her body is much slimmer so the outfit hangs a bit loose on her. She still looks cute in it. I took a couple of outdoor shots and those photos reminded me of those Holly Hobbie dolls that were very popular back in the 1970’s.

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I took one side shot but it made my Dollfie Dream look like she’s six months pregnant from that angle.

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After I took those photos in 2005, I basically packed that outfit away. In late 2011 I got myself my first and, so far, my only American Girl doll. Recently, while I was doing some spring cleaning, I came across that Amish outfit that I originally purchased for my Volks Dollfie dream. The outfit was made for an 18-inch Cabbage Patch doll while my American Girl doll stood at the same height yet she has a thick torso that’s much thicker than my Dollfie Dream and most of my other larger dolls. I decided to try the outfit on that doll so see how well it fits.

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I found that the fit is much better on the American Girl doll than on my Dollfie Dream. She also looks incredibly cute in it.

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The only downside is that her head looks like it’s swimming in her bonnet. I think it’s because the Cabbage Patch dolls tend to have over-sized heads. I think it could be easily rectified with stuffing some cotton or rags in the bonnet to make it fit better on her head. Otherwise, this outfit is a perfect fit.

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Yes, I know that the outfit may look dull and plain compared to the historical outfits available from American Girl (such as this one) but you have to realize that this outfit reflects Amish culture in that Amish isn’t just a religion, it’s a total lifestyle. The Amish consider themselves to be a plain people so they eschew bright colors or fancy patterns in their clothing. Despite these limitations, I still find that the doll looks incredibly cute in it. All I know is that this outfit will be exclusively worn by this doll since she’s the only doll who can fit properly into the body. I would recommend this outfit for any American Girl doll owner who wants something a little bit different from what is sold through American Girl. (After doing a quick Internet search, I found a doll store in Lancaster County that sells Amish clothes for 18-inch dolls.)

Passover

I recently created this new piece just in time for the recent Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire and I printed out on special jigsaw puzzle cardstock which I then sold. It was one of the few sales I made that day. (I made a total of $25, which was a bit of a letdown financially even if I enjoyed working at the event.) This piece is based on a local legend known as the Goatman. I first heard of this legend years ago after I moved to my current hometown and I tend to hear more about it around Halloween.

I sold that puzzle early in the day and I regretted not making more Goatman puzzles I’m also thinking about branching my Goatman out into other forms of art that I can sell at future street festivals.

Goatman at Night

Here is how I created my Goatman. I used one of my ball-jointed dolls as a posing model while I had reference photos of goats on hand. I made a rough sketch in ink and watercolor pencil. I photocopied it, transferred it to black paper using white graphite paper, and colored it in using ink, wax crayon, and watercolor pencil.

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