Camp Fire

Fall is my favorite season of the whole year. The smell of harvest in the air (farm kids will understand), the colors & smell of the leaves & grass changing, the crispness in the air & best of all camp fires!

Our oldest daughters thought making a camp fire for our doll friends to enjoy would be a great idea. So we gathered some supplies and got at it.

Our supply list included:

Oversized Battery Operated Tea Lights From Ikea.

Gravel of Various Sizes

Twigs

Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks

The girls found the best way to cover the edge of the tea light was to start with the larger pieces of gravel first. They found that a small dot of glue on the tea light followed by glue the length of the rock was the best way to get the rocks to stick.

After the large gravel was glued into place they filled in the small spots with pea gravel. When done the edge of the tea light looked like a fire ring.

The next step was more tedious than the gravel, the girls took twigs and started to build the “teepee” part of the fire. Before any glue was added they figured out the length and how many twigs they needed and did a trial run.  Once the dynamics worked than came the glue.

This is a picture of the final project, they turned out great!

Note: There is no picture with the fires lit because Ikea does not include the batteries with the tea lights.  I have not been back to Ikea to buy batteries and cannot find the right size anywhere else.

*I would not recomend this craft for younger kiddos due to the chance of hot glue burns. Our daughters are 9 and 10 years old and were able to do this craft with minimal assistance.

-Michelle

Lotus Summary

Our guest post today comes from Nonna at Mommy’s Doll Club.  If you haven’t all ready please go check out her website, it is fabulous!  Please enjoy her informative post.

Lotus Summary for CDN

by Nonna

Aside from American Girl, there is one doll manufacturer that produces the lion’s share of 18 inch dolls. No, it’s not Battat and Our Generation; it’s a company called Lotus Onda based in Hong Kong (that’s China, where most of the world’s dolls are made). Their dolls have been sold under various brands in various locations (including Lillian Vernon catalogs and grocery stores). Here are some of the collections cataloged in Dollation.

lotus brands

 

Any favorites? You’ll see that both relative newcomers espari as well as veteran alternates to American Girl , Journey Girls are here as well as some non-US distributions including Canada’s Newberry line, England’s My London Girl and Germany’s Modern Girl line. Defunct brands are also represented by Laura Ashley and the Jewish heritage play line, gali girls. That’s one big family and it’s not finished yet.

What do we know about Lotus dolls? They’re all intended as direct competition for American Girl dolls. Pleasant Company first released dolls in 1986 based off of a German Götz doll design. It was a good design with high play and collectable value. The first dolls from Lotus were not as successful in competing with the quality of American Girl at this time.

Exact dates are not available for most of the doll lines produced by Lotus before 2000. Collectors weren’t aware of what the market was doing and the little girls receiving the dolls really didn’t care about what would become their history. The biggest competition American Girl had at this time were the Magic Attic Club dolls released in 1994 (although Madame Alexander was also multi-branding at this time with lines sold at Kmart, Toys R Us, Walmart and elsewhere). Magic Attic Club or MAC dolls dominated the market through nearly 2004 when price increases impacted consumer’s desire for other alternatives to American Girl. (By 2007 MAC was done).

Lotus’ Laura Ashley dolls were sold at Toys R Us alongside Madame Alexander’s Mia Bella dolls. Both lines originally sold for around $20 pricing all competition away. The quality was not the same as American Girl but no one expected it to be for $20. The Laura Ashley name provided credential and style to this new line marketed to young girls. They were soft-bodied dolls slightly slimmer than AG.

LA_AG

Photo credit: justmagicdolls

There were only four dolls in the lineup (one was darker skinned) as well as some furniture. The clothing was the stand out feature of these dolls as was the pretty face sculpt.

Another soft bodied Lotus doll line was the gali girls. Sharing the body type with Laura Ashley dolls, gali girls were marketed specifically towards Jewish girls and came with story books. Their major difference was the face mold.

Historical-Jewish-Doll-Miriam_485ED4BF

This is the Miriam doll. You will see this face used in many other lines. One notable gali girl had the same sculpt and body as a Carpatina Ana Ming doll but had bangs(Reyna).

Also defunct is the New York Doll Collection.

c0fcdfa61191fe6a1bd7ce0860292313_kidg

At least ten dolls were offered in this line, all white with the same face sculpt. One even sported an early version of an outfit we have seen on Newberry dolls, My Sweet Lil Girl and Today’s Girl. This doll had a product code of 402451.

402451 brunette 2014

The gali girls were introduced in 2004, Laura Ashley in 2001 with the NYDC somewhere around there (they did not have a store front so it is difficult to accurately date their distribution/manufacture). In 2007, another version of the soft-bodied Lotus doll began appearing called My Sibling (My Pal came along in 2009). These dolls share the face molds with the previous soft-bodied Lotus dolls (that were not Laura Ashley). The My Sibling line introduced stories of dolls with disabilities that children encounter in one another. The stories are created by Loretta Boronat who touts the line as made in the USA except for the dolls (who she says cannot be made in the US. She is correct that most dolls are made in China regardless of manufacturer).

I don’t have a year of introduction for Today’s Girl dolls either but I know they were around when my kids got their first dolls around 2000. My London Girl was not introduced until 2011 but their original offerings as well as Today’s Girl were very much in line with the earlier Lotus dolls.

Today’s Girl, sold by Constructive Playthings, is the first to use the Asian facemold on their Leah doll.

Leah 2013_0

This sculpt, or slightly different ones (Lotus makes minor changes and produces new molds very close to old ones) can be seen in the Newberry line as well as hard-bodied espari.

My Sweet Lil Girl is the remaining traditional soft-bodied doll listed in Dollation. This brand appeared in 2015 at US Kmarts. The two dolls offered were nearly identical to Sears Canada’s Newberry dolls.

This blond darling reminded consumers of the most famous Lotus offering, Journey Girls. She is identical to Newberry’s Allie .

IMG_20150924_165225_949

Who does she remind you of? Many consumers felt she look like the Toys R Us exclusive brand, Journey Girls’ Meredith . In the US, TRU does not credit JG dolls to Lotus but they do or have on the Australian, Canadian and UK sites.

Released in 2010, Journey Girls were unique because they have a chest plate that is the same colored vinyl as the head and limbs. This feature is commonly found in Madame Alexander dolls. Remember those Madame Alexander Mia Bella dolls that were around when TRU was selling the Lotus Laura Ashley dolls? Journey Girls are likely a response to those sale points. Up until recently, I would have argued that these are the best quality Lotus dolls. They don’t come with books (like AG) but they have evolved to have tourist destinations per each release. This year, the Journey Girls went to NYC. The original line had four dolls (one is retired); there are now 8 in the lineup with a rotating addition of a holiday doll (since 2013).

2016

In 2014, Barnes and Noble began selling a Lotus line called espari. Like the Journey Girls, espari dolls feature a vinyl chest plate.

IMG_5397-256x300

 

Comparison of Today’s Girl Leah with espari Mirelle courtesy of Mommy’s Doll Club

The above photo shows two basic styles of Lotus bodies. The dolls with the chest plate are slimmer than the soft bodied dolls. They also stand alone much better and have more stable heads/necks. For this reason, they are superior for posing. As previously noted, Leah and Mirelle share the Lotus Asian face mold showing how variations in coloring make for completely new appearances. (Newberry’s Lily also shares this mold with a very light skin tone).

Two more lines appeared in 2015. The Modern Girl available only from Müller in Germany and the Just Like Me dolls from Justice in the US. The Modern Girl line appears to have the chest plate body type but none of them are shown without a top so this author cannot be sure. (My guess is based on how they stand). Just Like Me dolls appear to have a soft body. Both have face sculpts similar to the more recent Lotus dolls but unique to their brands.

Toy-Place-Modern-Girl-479399

Modern Girl

1132070_619

The newest face sculpt from Lotus is the 2016 NYC Journey Girl Ilee. She also comes in a fair skinned, blonde version with ice blue eyes.

Ilee face

Lotus has made great strides in quality based on consumer demands. I think we will continue to see more exciting dolls from Lotus.

(Note: there are a few other rumored doll lines suspected of being Lotus. No unconfirmed lines have been included in this article).

World’s Smallest Toys are the perfect size!

little toys

Dee-dee and I were at our local Chapters store when we found these adorable tiny toys!  Of course we instantly thought that there would be perfect for our dolls, and brought them home!

etchascetch

This one is called the World’s Smallest Etch A Sketch and it actually works like a normal sized Etch A Sketch, as you can see in the photo above.  Our dolls have a lot of fun with it!  We paid $8.95 for little toy.

rubixcube

This one is the World’s Smallest Rubik Cube, which also works like a full sized Rubik cube as well!  This toy cost us $8.95 too.

dollholdsketch

The toys also fit great in your doll’s hand with a little help from an elastic.

dolllovetoys

Grace loves both the Etch A Sketch and the Rubik’s Cube!  Check out the other World’s Smallest toys available at Chapters, or visit Super Impulse for great ideas for your doll’s Christmas stocking this year.  It’s never too early to start Christmas shopping!

~Meg~

 

Alexi’s Great Adventure

Today I have the opportunity to share a photo story from my six year old daughter Moy-moy, she loves kitties and gymnastics.  Please enjoy!

Alexi’s Great Adventure

freacklestree

 

sunset

Alexi looks at the sky and says, “the sky is beautiful.  I should go on a hike today.”

frecklestree

“Look! There is a baby cheetah stuck in that tree,” said Alexi.

alexipacksup

“It is getting late I should get some rest.”

Alexitree

“Wait! What about the cheetah should I take her home?”, thought Alexi.

Alexisleepingbag

Alexi unrolled her sleeping bag and got ready for bed.

Alexiiphone

Alexi could not sleep because she was thinking about the cheetah so she took out her iPad and searched up cheetahs.

Alexilookson

All night Alexi thought, “should I take the baby cheetah home?”

frecklestreealexi

She goes up to the baby cheetah and notices that the cheetah is nice.

frecklestreealexiget

Alexi climbed the tree and got the baby cheetah down.

Alexihugfreckles

The cheetah loves Alexi, and Alexi loves her cheetah, she named her Freckles.

Alexifreckles

THE END

~Meg~

Dollympics Biking Race

Today’s post is another instalment of our Dollympics collaboration with Buzz About AG, and Faking It Mostly.  Please head over to their blogs and see what they have come up with to celebrate this event!

The Great Bike Race

dollsstart

Alexi, Isabelle, and Jenna stand in line waiting for the race to begin.

AlexiIsabelle

“Isabelle, what did you do to prepare for this race?” Alexi asked.  “Well, to be honest I didn’t have much time to prepare between my dance classes.  I am hoping that all my work dancing will help me today on the track,”  replied Isabelle.

Girlstalk

“What about you, Jenna? ”  The girls asked. “What did you do to prepare for today’s race?”

Jennapushup_Fotor

Jenna shared with the girls how she did 200 pushups every morning…

Jennacollapse_Fotor

… ran until she collapsed daily…

Jennatrain_Fotor

… and of course weight lifting exercises!  Alexi and Isabelle were very impressed with Jenna’s dedication and intense training program.

Girlstalk

Then Jenna asked Alexi about her training program.

Alexibike

“Well, I actually didn’t train at all.  Someone thought that it was time that I should learn to ride my bike without training wheels, and they took them off, and hid them!  It’s ridiculous; I am a doll for goodness sake!  I can’t balance on a two-wheeler without help!!!  So, I won’t be competing in the race today, hence the cute dress.  I am only here for the photo op, and since there are only three of us in this completion I am guaranteed a medal.  I will see you both at the podium, have fun ladies!”

Jennalead

With that, the gun sounded, and girls took off, Jenna in the lead!

Isabellelead

Isabelle saw an opportunity on the inside and claimed the lead.  (Clearly those ballet classes were paying off!)  This distracted Jenna and she didn’t see what lie in the path ahead.

Jennafall

A stick was on the path, and got stuck in the spokes of her bicycle wheel!  Jenna toppled over the handlebars and even lost her shoe!

Jennastick

Jenna picked herself up, put her shoe on and sat down in front of her bike.  Had she worked this hard, and come so far for a little stick take her down?

Isabelleride

Jenna could see Isabelle far in the lead now.  Would she even have a chance?  Maybe she should just turn back.  Jenna thought of all her friends and family gathered around the television back home in Nova Scotia watching the race. “No!” Jenna thought, “I am not going let a little stick get the best of me!”  With that Jenna pulled the stick out of her spokes, summoned her strength and got back on her bike.

Jennacatchup

In no time, Jenna caught up to Isabelle, she could see the finish line looming ahead.  Jenna thought again of her family and peddled as hard as her little vinyl legs would allow…

finishline

…and she crossed the finish line just ahead of Isabelle!!!

medals

As promised, Alexi met the girls at the podium.  Jenna with her gold medal, Isabelle with silver, and Alexi with bronze.  The girls raised their arms as the crowd cheered!

medaltalk

“Jenna, I have to tell you how impressed I was with your biking today.  It takes a lot of courage to get up and race again once you have an accident like that.  You certainly have the heart of a champion and you deserve the gold medal that is around your neck”  said Isabelle.

“Thank you, Isabelle” replied Jenna “it was an honour racing with you today in the Dollympics.  Keep up your hard work with ballet, and I will be sure to catch your next performance.”  Jenna’s heart was full, not only had she won the race…she had a new friend.

THE END

~Meg~

Dollympics – Beach Volley Ball

We are having so much fun at our house watching the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics! Go team Canada!

Today’s post is dedicated to Beach Volleyball.

When getting the items together for this event the first concern that my girls had was what were we going to use for sand. So a quick trip to Dollarama and $5.00 later we had all the items we needed to make our court.

For the sand we used a bamboo beach mat, the net was made from two black hair nets sewen together and wooden s’more sticks. For the ball we used a colored ping pong ball. It was the perfect size.

Even though we ended up short one player for this round of volleyball Kit, Leonie, and Jenna played a great game! Jenna was a great sport when Alexi developed a heat related injury.

Over all Beach Volleyball was a “Smashing Success’.

Dont forget to check out Faking it Mostly and Buzz about AG for more Dollympic coverage.

-Michelle

Dollympics Powerlifting

Faking it Mostly, Buzz About AG, along with Michelle and I have chosen to dedicate a few posts to the 2016 Summer Games in Rio.  Over the next two weeks on our blog you will see photo stories, and crafts dedicated to different olympic events.  For the full “Dollympics” experience you must also visit Faking it Mostly and Buzz About AG, you don’t want to miss out!

I was assigned to do a Dollympics craft for Powerlifting!

styrofoam

So I set out to Dollarama to gather supplies.

dowelball

In order to get the dowel to stick to the styrofoam ball, I pushed the dowel against the styrofoam ball and twisted until it punctured the ball.

glueball

Once I felt that the dowel was in deep enough, my 9 year old Dee-dee filled the hole with hot glue around the base of the dowel.

paintball

Once the glue dried, Dee-dee and her 6 year old sister, Moy-moy were given the task of painting the styrofoam balls.

wieghtsgrass

They got very creative, and here is the finished result.  I have never seen such fancy weights before!

saigelift

Here is Saige lifting the heaviest weight high above her head!

Jennalift

Jenna thought she would upstage Saige by lifting it with one hand!

This craft was incredibly easy and fun, and perfect for a “Dollympics” event at your home!

~Meg~

Oh Brother

My family has an interesting dynamic. We have 3 girls and 1 boy. But what makes our family different is we have triplets. Thats right triplets. Our triplets are 2 girls and 1 boy, and he is here to tell you that being the only boy in a house full of dolls is not always fun.

Meet Brother, he is all boy and loves to play with all things farm related. This is his take on living in a house with dolls.

My sisters and mom have lots of dolls, and doll clothes. I think the dolls have more clothes than me. Why is that??

Every where I look there are dolls or doll things, they tell me I am not allowed to touch. Unless they no longer want to carry them, then they tell me I am allowed to babysit them. I don’t want to babysit them! I don’t even want to play with them. I just don’t want them touching my farm stuff!


Want to know something funny?  It’s really funny to hide their dolls and stuff! They get so mad and it’s so funny to watch.

Also the one time my dad made a zip line for the dolls…that was fun to play with. Until they got upset that I sent one of the dolls down by its feet on the zip line.

Well got to go! Maybe I will hide Jenna and Saila tonight. Then Sophie won’t have any dolls until she finds them.

Hahahahaha

-Brother

Calgary Dolls with Dolls

When Meg and I first started Canadian Doll Notebook we would often talk about how nice it would be to have a local club of ladies who shares then same love of 18 inch dolls.

We are a part of many Facebook groups that are full of women that share the same passion as us, but its not quite the same as having a local club. One where we can buy-sell-trade locally. A place where great finds are posted in Canadian dollars or where to find them in Canada. We can meet up for playdates with our kids or for just the “big” kids. We can help each other out with finding those must have, want, or hard to find items.

Through different avenues Meg and I have met Tara and Shay. And together we have founded Calgary Dolls with Dolls.

CDWD_Fotor

 

We are a local group in the Calgary area and are excited to meet other ladies who share the same passion as us. Though we are primarily a local group, as long as you are willing to follow the rules and guidelines set out by the group we will welcome you!

Our followers know Meg and I but let us introduce you to ths other two members co-founding members of Calgary Dolls with Dolls.

Tara:

Hey there! My name is Tara. As a kid growing up in the 80s, I never really cared much for dolls (with the exception of my Cabbage Patch Kids).  Fast forward many years later to the summer of 2013, when I discovered American Girl. These dolls changed my mind completely on how diverse, fun and creative the doll world can be. My daughter received her first 18 inch American Girl doll when she turned three (a JLY #1 she named Saige). Shortly after I purchased my first American Girl (Sonali) and it has been love ever since. Doll play is something we enjoy together, whether it is setting up a bakery scene, changing their outfits or crafting for them. I personally have a weakness for 18 inch doll sized food and covet someday owning Lanie’s camper. My hope is that Calgary Dolls with Dolls continues to grow to become a fantastic forum for meeting and talking with other ladies who share the same passion and excitement for this 18 inch world.

and Shay:

My name is shaylene, I am 19 years old and I started collecting american girl dolls in august 2015. Grace was my first doll, what I love about American Girl is the quality and that they are absolutely beautiful dolls. They hold their value and then some. I’m excited for the club because you get to meet some really amazing people who have the same hobby as you, I also like the values american girl teaches you in life that women are strong individuals and have willpower. I love how they teach us history it really opens your eyes about what happened in times before now. I also am excited about this group because by meeting new people you gain knowledge you didn’t know before and you never feel too old.
I am so excited to team up with these 3 amazing ladies and can’t wait to see how the club will grow and evolve with time.

Michelle

We’re Now on a First Name Basis in Saskatoon

There are usually minor disagreements when you go on a road trip.  Imagine yourself in a confined steel cage that makes it very inconvenient to get food or water, no bathroom available and you are forced to look straight ahead and keep your hands in front of you; that is travelling in a car.  Imagine that and then throw in the fact that your cellmate isn’t speaking to you.  Actually, travelling isn’t that bad.  The road from Calgary to Saskatoon isn’t that eventful; even the bathroom breaks are few and far between.

To break the ice I thought I would ask the standard prison question: “So, what are you in for?”

road trip (1).jpg

What are you in for?

I’ve never been to prison but I’m assuming you don’t ask the same question twice.

But we made to Saskatoon and I was hoping that Jenna would like it.  Yes.  we are on a first name basis.  Well, she didn’t tell me her name herself; I had to ask Meg for it.  I was visiting my brother in Saskatoon and it took some convincing for him to let me bring Jenna along but Jenna doesn’t make a fuss usually. The only attention she brings is usually not to herself.  The strange attention is usually on me.  Anyhow, below you can see Jenna in front of the Bessborough Hotel in Saskatoon.

IMG_6090.jpg

The Bessborough Hotel

This is one of Saskatoon’s historical landmarks.  Built in a chateau-like style, by the Canadian National Railway in completed in 1932 but because of the Depression not officially opened until 1935.  When the Queen visits Saskatoon, she usually stays at the “Bess”.  Jenna didn’t mind posing in front of the historical landmark.

Girls will never tell you when they are hungry but the plans were to eat at the Sushi place at the Bessborough Hotel.  Jenna quickly sat down and started to peruse the menu.  I think she likes sushi.  So does Meg.  I wonder if it is a Nova Scotia thing.  Although I don’t remember meeting too many Japanese people in Nova Scotia.  The restaurant was a little dark but Jenna didn’t seem to mind; she even kept her sunglasses on.  A little strange but I know not to ask.

IMG_6086.jpg

The Samurai restaurant offers sushi as well as Japanese barbeque; the kind where the grill is right in front of you and there is a cook who cooks your food in front of you.  Below is Jenna posing across from the pedestrian bridge.  I was too afraid to go walk on the bridge and I think Jenna was too; however, she wouldn’t admit it.

IMG_6095.jpg

We also visited the pumphouse on the river.  Jenna tried her best to fit in with the locals.

IMG_6093

Trying to fit in with the locals

IMG_6112.jpg

Always willing to hold a hand

I also took Jenna to the Berry Farm.  It’s a cool little place that boasts of a well stocked greenhouse, a place where U-pick Saskatoon Berries and home-style cooking with a great view of the South Saskatchewan River.  Saskatoon Berry Pie.  Delicious!  Jenna really enjoyed seeing flowers in full bloom close-up.  Well, at least I think she did.  As always, it is a complete guess with the girls.

IMG_6119.jpg

Jenna didn’t mind reviewing some of the work done in the lab.

IMG_6109.jpg

We can both agree that she is quite resourceful.

JPG 2 MP-1-24.jpg

I thought it would be a good time to tell a joke:  “Well, did you have any trouble ‘booking’ the viewing?”…There’s a certain response from someone who thinks the joke you just told isn’t remotely funny.  It’s either a pity laugh or no response at all.  Guess what Jenna did.

All in all, we had a good trip.  And it was time to return home.

IMG_6080.jpg

So, that was the trip, we are now back home and I have to return Jenna to her room.  Here’s what we saw on our return:

IMG_6155.jpg

The Brunette is still out, the other girl seems no longer interested,  and it looks like the Jedi used the Force to escape.  :)