newmoonstar: (icon by marble_feet)
So I managed to get myself to Chicago to see 'Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity' at the Art Institute before it closed, and am majorly glad I did. So many of my favorite paintings in one place, along with actual period clothes, makes for pretty much the best thing ever. :-D

Morisots and Berauds and Bazilles, OH MY! Time to squee over paintings and dresses! And dolls! )

So, a crazy trip (I was running late, it rained, and I was all dressed up in my pretty dress and shoes, need I say more?) -BUT- an awesome, geek-tastic, art history and fabric-loving doll collector's dream trip. (And if I can just recover from it soon & get back to sewing my Doctor Who cosplay projects for Chicago Tardis, I'll be all set for another crazy awesome trip. Yay!)
newmoonstar: (beatles (theboxingbutton))
Okay, so, I promised myself I would stop buying dolls for a while. I even decided I was justified in recently spending a heap of money on a bunch of dolls from the Disney Store (which were on sale!), because it was going to be the 'last' batch of dolls I was going to be buying for a long, long time. (LOL!)

HOWEVER -- (isn't there always a however? ;D) ever since they introduced Monster High Operetta last year, I've been kind of sidling up to the idea of getting one, because, you know, a Phantom of the Opera-related doll is just not something that a person who's both a doll collector and massive Phantom phan can really be without! I resisted for a long time (the rational arguments pop up in your head: they're too expensive; I don't want to start collecting another doll line when I'm trying to downsize; etc.) but I've been taking a closer examination of the Monster High section at the toy stores since then, and well, darned if that sea monster one isn't just adorable, and the Egyptian vanity for Cleo de Nile is all kinds of Art Deco awesomeness, and-! and-! (You get the picture!)

So, since my mom decided she was going to brave the Black Friday madness, I gave her a list of Monster High dolls I was interested in, since every store seemed to have them on sale, and I wouldn't feel so bad about bringing more dolls into the house if they were cheap. Thus, when I awoke that day, there was Dance Class Lagoona Blue and Dead Tired Clawdeen Wolf awaiting me in a shopping bag on the floor, which I tore into like a kid on Christmas morning, deboxed the little monsters, and immediately lost my heart.

In which I gush about the cuteness, and the further progression of collecting fever. )

So for better or worse, the doll collecting bug has bitten yet again. Maybe it's just something you can't fight once it's got you, but if you shop sales and clip coupons, hopefully you can come out of your latest bout relatively unscathed!

(And if nothing else, you will at least have lots of fun posing them for funny photos of them all doing 'The Monster Mash' and 'Thriller'. Heehee. Oh Monster High, why did I ever think we weren't meant to be?) ;D
newmoonstar: (belle (big_blue_bin))
Ugh. Heat wave still making life miserable. Didn't even go to see any 4th of July fireworks this year because it's just too hot to be worth it. Over 100 degrees today! When you only have air conditioning in one room in your house, that's not good!!

Trying to keep my spirits up while I wilt has been only somewhat succesful; I bought a Singing Rapunzel doll, since I've had my eye on one for a while, and it was on sale, but I kind of regret it now, since the Disney Store website had free shipping today, and had I known that, I probably would have gotten a couple of the new classic dolls instead. Doll-related babbling. )

Also, I think I'm into Newsies again. I always liked it (is there anyone my age who grew up on Disney movies who didn't??) and I always thought it should have been a stage musical in the first place, and they finally did it this year, so I've been curious to hear the cast recording, (and totally squeeing over it at the Tonys; I was so happy for Alan Menken when it won Best Score I almost cried!) but it was on TV the other day, and I watched it again for the first time in years, and now I REALLY want to hear it! I'd forgotten how good it was (I don't know what anyone's talking about when they say the movie didn't work, it was great!) and also, given the political climate these days, there's no way a girl like me isn't going to fall hard for a pro-union musical! The only thing I'm worried about is how much they changed it from the movie, because heaven knows Disney isn't good about adapting their movies for the stage. But for Newsies I don't have anywhere near the same sentimental attachment I have for The Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast, and since it wasn't really perfect as a film like they were, I don't think it'll bother me that much even if they do. At the very least, you can't go wrong with any cast recording with "Seize the Day" on it! Seriously, I think I might need to go back to the Disney Store for that T-shirt...heehee! ;D
newmoonstar: (sybil (olde_fashioned))
Okay, so despite being addicted to all the Downton Abbey videos and interviews available on the Masterpiece website, I have lately managed to almost finish sewing my victorian corset (it fits at last! Must put in grommets now!!), cobble together a pattern for my civil war sheer summer dress and buy buttons for it, and even to secretly begin a geeky project that I really don't have time for, but am way more excited about than the reenacting stuff! (It's doll-related. We'll see if it comes to fruition or not. And if so, how big a project it turns out to be!)

Also went to see a fashion exhibit at a museum, which is actually the first one I've ever been to, and had the time of my life peering at period gowns up close and personal! It was a small exhibit of about 50 high fashion gowns from 1869-1969, and it wasn't behind glass or anything, so you could get right up close and examine details from any angle. The Victorian bustle dresses were my favorites obviously, but my current obsession with Downton Abbey made me extra sensitive to the charms of the 1910's ensembles. The silks! The beading! Lord have mercy, it was all too beautiful!!

And while in town for the exhibit, I stopped at the local American Girl Outlet store. I promised myself only to look, but Kit's Birthday Dress was SO cute, I couldn't pass it up for only $16! While there I also met a mother and daughter who were interested in buying some of my AG stuff, so now I've been trying to dig it all up. The only problem is, once you start unpacking it and looking at it, you remember how cute it all is and don't want to let it go! But it all just sits in bins for years, it's time to pass it on to someone who will love it and play with it every day. Still... memories! *sniffle* I WILL be strong and sell stuff! I MUST de-clutter! Must!!
newmoonstar: (Default)
And I got one! The BFMC Nicolai doll was the only Silkstone I've coveted recently, and he was my x-mas present to myself after finding him on sale at a discount store. (Along with the Pillow Talk giftset also found on sale at the same store! I nearly had a heart attack when I saw them on the shelf for $30 each, the very last ones, too! Christmas is indeed a season of miracles!)

In the long ages since my last update I've done little besides bake Christmas cookies (and eat them!) and clean out stuff to donate to a church mission going to Africa, which at least makes me feel as if I was doing something worthwhile despite not having finished that darn civil war ball dress (and thus having to miss the New Year's Ball too, drat!). But I went to see Beauty & the Beast when the touring company came thru town, and even though it was lackluster as a show, seeing the ball dress up close and in person made me seriously want to make a Belle-inspired dress for my ball dress. I've been wanting to since I was 5 years old anyway, so now I can actually sew, why the heck not? The other reenactors hopefully won't notice I'm wearing a dress from a Disney movie! ;D

I'm also terribly excited because I bought myself a bonnet from Timely Tresses, and as soon as I dig out the ribbons and flowers I've got hiding in my stash somewhere, I can start trimming it. However, I did plan to make myself a new summer dress for this year's reeenacting season, so I don't know if I should wait and trim it to match the new dress. (I'm kind of afraid I have too many projects on my plate and the bonnet might wait till next year to make it's debut!)

Meanwhile, I'm being led astray by all the great period dramas on TV. I wish they'd make a show set in the 1860's, because between Garrow's Law and Downton Abbey, 19th century clothing isn't on my mind! I marathoned Garrow's Law on DVD last weekend so I could finally see the episodes all the way thru, and I really truly am kind of in love with it now. I've always been a proponent of color in the design of any show or movie, but even though Lady Sarah's wardrobe is disappointingly colorless in keeping with the overall design of the show, I nonetheless have a thing for her grey striped anglaise dress. Thank heaven I don't have any fabric remotely appropriate for it, because I would probably be wasting time planning one just like it!

On New Years I marathoned Downton Abbey in preparation for the new season this weekend, and I'm properly excited about that too. Luckily for my new project roster though, 1910's evening gowns intimidate the heck out of me, sewing wise. They look so simple, but if things aren't cut and draped perfectly, it doesn't end up looking 1910s. Someday I might attempt one, but that's pretty far off.

And I'll try not to go on about how much I miss Lark Rise to Candleford already. (Best show on TV ever!!! *sniffle*)
newmoonstar: (georges barbier (m_icons))
In order to cheer myself up and keep myself from dwelling on the fact that I've got a sore spot on my throat that makes it painful to speak or sing (and having to wait till next month to see a doctor about it) I've decided to distract myself with happy things, and today it's dolls. More specifically, I finally went and had a look at the new swag on the Barbie Collector website. I have to say I'm quite intrigued by the new Barbie Basics collection 2.0, most especially by the introduction of several Ken dolls this time round. I'm pretty curious to see what these dolls will look like in person, since really beautiful male dolls are pretty few and far between. (But at least they don't have the problem of too much make-up to contend with!) As for the new Silkstones, I'm torn betweeen being amused, and kind of horrified, since this year they all have a Russian theme. Now, I'd be the first one to go for a Ken doll dressed up as Cossack, but even in the website photos he's got a bit of a goofy face, and all the Barbies are clad in possibly the tackiest outfits I've ever seen from the Barbie Fashion Model Collection. The thing that I love about BFMC dolls is their vintage couture wardrobes, and these new ones are clearly modern, which I've always felt is not Robert Best's forte. And I while I appreciate any nod to Russian culture and style, these dolls are so darn kitschy! Especially for being so expensive! I think I'll continue saving my money for the Mad Men dolls, thanks anyway. I'm also kind of sad that they seem to be turning more to retro-inspired dolls with the vintage sculpt rather than actual vintage repros, but I have a theory that if I cut the pigtails off of the Beverly Hillbillies Barbie and put her in a 60's sheath dress, she might actually look sophistocated. If she ends up at my local Mattel Toy Store on a sale day, I may have to test that theory! ;-D
newmoonstar: (doctor who (daisukikiwaii))
The past week has been chock full of Very Happy Things.

First off, Doctor Who! YAY! A season finale that was actually happy and good and fun and THEY KEPT AMY AND RORY! YAY! Eleven+Amy+Rory=HURRAY!!! I'm so sick of having them change it whenever they hit on a good combination, so I did a little happy dance at the end of this episode, almost (but not quite!) as bad as the Doctor's own ridiculous super-geek dance from the end of this episode. I love how this new Doctor isn't afraid to make a total prat of himself, it's very endearing. Matt Smith, I love you so. ♥ (But seriously I could do with a lot less Alex Kingston next season. She's so obnoxious and annoying. And what kind of a name is River Song, anyway? She's from the future, it's not like her parents could have been hippies. But whatever; we'll probably get more of her next season since Steven Moffat seems to think he's created a wonderfully cool character in her. Oy.) But anyway, Eleven and Amy and Rory!!! Woohoo!! I'm ready for next season!!!

Secondly, I did get my Palm Beach Breeze Silkstone Barbie doll after all! By a miracle they had a coupon that worked, and I spent most of yesterday fawning over how insanely gorgeous my new doll is. The colorful caftan and sparkly beading are so drool-worthy, and her hair is flawless, no messy tangles, just silky smooth perfect curls. I'm all excited like a kid again, it's so awesome! But I have to say that Mattel's practice of putting double-sided stick tape on their doll clothes is very evil; the dresses stay on just fine without the tape, and when you peel it off it leaves sticky goo and shreds any unfinished edges of most fabrics. Not good. But this dress survived okay, so I'm happy.

Thirdly, my patterns from Lost Coast Historical Patterns came! Yay! And they were all either sale or clearance, so that makes it even better, especially when they're from pattern companies I've never used before. But the Great Pattern Review at the GBACG website is usually reliable, so I'm pretty confident. New costuming adventures ahead!!
newmoonstar: (little dorrit (spaceyplum))
Well, I went to the American Girl Benefit sale over the weekend after all. After buying way too many dolls last year because they were so crazy cheap, I told myself that would be it, but my mom had tickets for the first day, so I figured I'd go along and pick up Molly and Emily, since they'll probably be retiring them at the end of this year or next year. So I did, but they had new Just Like You dolls, so I got one of those, and a Chrissa, because I could dress her as Felicity's best friend Elizabeth. (Elizabeth is NOT blonde, AG!!) Plus my mom got a few dolls, so needless to say, I have more of a mess in my house, and no money left.

So naturally, since fate loves to be cruel, when I stopped in at the Mattel outlet store after the sale, they had EVERY Barbie doll on my list that I've been wating for them to get, and they were included in the storewide 25% off, (which is really good, since they brought in new management and they NEVER mark down Collector Barbies anymore) and I'd just spent all my money on those stupid American Girl dolls. So I missed out on Parisian Pretty AND Palm Beach Breeze, the two Silkstone dolls I'd been coveting the most besides the new Mad Men dolls, AND the new Barbie Basics dolls I wanted, and Twilight Bella. (Even though I have no regard for Twilight in any way, the Bella doll has lovely brown hair and no make-up, which would make her perfect to re-dress in historical clothing.) So anyway, I'm crushed beyond all belief, since I would much rather have had the Barbies than the American Girl dolls, but what's done is done, and I'll just have to hope by some miracle that they'll still have some of the Barbies I want next time they have a sale, AND that the sale will actually include Collector Barbies, which it usually never does. *cries*

Thank heaven there was new Doctor Who and Poirot this weekend to relieve my ennui. Poirot was back to usual form, thankfully, after that dreadfully dark and depressing Murder On the Orient Express last week. I'm really sad about Doctor Who being the season finale though, because it probably means the last of Amy as a companion, since they've never kept the same combination for more than one year. Which is totally stupid in my opinion, because if you've got a good thing, why change it? In the old show, they kept the same Doctor and the same companion for years, and it worked just fine. It makes the Doctor seem like a bit of a jerk if he can't even commit to a friend for more than a year! I know it's already aired in the UK, but I don't want spoilers, I'm just going to watch the finale in the wild hope that Amy will get to stay!
newmoonstar: (Default)
I finished the 1820 doll dress! And it actually turned out better than I expected! It was definitely the most difficult dress I've done so far, even though you wouldn't think so to look at it! (I know, I know, I really am going to have to buy a digital camera sometime this year, I'll post pics of all my doll clothes then so you can judge for yourselves!) I think I was just so frustrated with it's construction that I was finding fault with it everywhere; the stitching on the trim looks fine now that it's all finished, and overall, it actually resembles the sort of dress it's supposed to be! I'll just have to remember next time to make the bodice smaller. Luckily, the disastrous side-back pieces are entirely hidden by the sleeves, so you can't tell how much I fudged it unless you specifically look for it! And even though I ran out of pink thread (OMG!) I just had enough left to finish all the outside stitching and used white for all the inner seams. So on the whole, despite the fact that it nearly killed me, (or at the very least made me want to give up sewing forever!) I actually am quite pleased with how it turned out.

TV-wise, I actually quite like Julia McKenzie as Miss Marple. She's very different from Geraldine McEwan, obviously, but Miss Marple is one of those iconic characters that can have more than one valid interpretation. And the direction and supporting cast and eveything else about the production is still top-notch, so a different lead actress isn't actually as big a change as it could be. (Which is much more than I can say for my late, lamented Bramwell, but I don't have time to go into that now! Some time when I have a few hours I'll probably post a long rant behind a cut expressing my very strong emotions about that show!)

And in other news, I went to the American Girl Charity Benefit sale this year. Long story short: I came to buy ONE doll, I ended up buying TEN dolls. Literally. No joke. But they were $25 each! That's like four for the price of one! (P.S. I'm broke now! I probably won't be able to afford to eat anything but cornflakes for another few months.) And I thought I was finally over American Girl! But when you see them in person they're just SO darn cute! When I got them home I thought I'd have a huge case of buyer's remorse, but in the face of all that darn dolly cuteness, I couldn't even feel bad about it! Like I said, American Girl is drawing me back into it's insidious web. But I'm weak; if it's a choice between dolls and food, the dolls always win. ;-D
newmoonstar: (little dorrit (spaceyplum))
Sewing not going well at all. The 1820's doll dress is not turning out as well as I hoped, and I've re-done the sleeves twice, re-done the bodice twice, and I'm thinking I should re-do the trim on the skirt because the more I look at it the more I think the stitching should be much finer. *sigh* You expect things to need adjustment the first time you make up a pattern, but this is just ridiculously discouraging.

Well, American Girl continues to draw me into it's insidious web. They've introduced a new historical doll, and just when I'd written them off, thinking Mattel's evil influence would give us only bland blonde dolls forever more, they come out with Rebecca Rubin, a Jewish New Yorker from 1914. Wearing an adorable meet dress with high-button shoes and all. She even has her own doll-sized samovar. They just have to do everything in their power to get me to want this doll, don't they? But luckily I'm old enough to not desperately need every new doll that comes out; I think I'll just give her books a read, since they look like just the sort of thing I would have loved when I was 10, and let that suffice. Besides, I think I'll probably get Kirsten or Addy if I do ever buy another AG doll. *sheepish grin*

But more happily, some of the good things in life are free, because there's new Poirot on Mystery! this season! It's a nice change to watch one I haven't seen a dozen times! Especially when the wonderful Harriet Walter was in the cast. But I'm a little disappointed about Miss Marple this season; why did they replace Geraldine McEwan? She was so awesome! But I'll give this new one a try anyhow; I can't resist Agatha Christie in almost any form, and hopefully Julia McKenzie won't be as boring as Joan Hickson! That series was so boring even I won't watch it!
newmoonstar: (Default)
I absolutely resolutely promise myself I will not buy any more stuff from American Girl this year, except at the benefit sale this summer. That being said, I just bought myself Addy's Flower Picking dress, plus Addy's Shoes & Socks. But I had to! I had one last coupon code that was going to expire! I couldn't let it go to waste! *sheepish grin* But OMG I already bought so much AG stuff this winter! It all started because of The Great Samantha Panic, and snowballed from there. You don't even want to know how crazy I went. But in case you do: The List of Doom (American Girl Edition!) )

Okay, now I've seen it all together, I'm officially horrified. But at least I had coupon codes for it all, which makes me feel (slightly) better!
newmoonstar: (manet (hobbitholes))
Last night I actually got back to work on my medieval dress! (Are the pigs flying yet?) Got the sleeves all pinned and was about to cut them out when I was interuppted, but hopefully I'll get back to it tonight. I've gotta finish this thing, if only so I don't have pieces of a half-made dress stewn all over my bedroom anymore!

I'm unaccountably distressed by the news that American Girl is retiring Samantha. I'm 21 (22 next week!) and I shouldn't care about the American Girl dolls any more, but it was such a big part of my childhood. Samantha was the first AG doll I got. And her clothes and accesories are the cutest, by far, now that they've changed Felicity's stuff to make it more modern, and all her new clothes are frou-frou historically inaccurate junk. And I always did hope to get Samantha's sailor dress and school dress someday, since they were from the original books, and so cute. And I desperately need her high button shoes. Or any shoes for her, since she came with those heinous plastic ones that are a)ugly and b)impossible to get on and off. And now I'm freaking out because if I ever want them I'll have to get them now. Oy. My birthday is coming up, so I could use that as an excuse to splurge on this stuff, but holy crap it's so expensive. Which is, of course, the reason I've put it off so long. Ugh. Couldn't they have retired Molly instead? Her clothes and accessories aren't as cute! And I don't want any of them! *cries*

Listening to more Broadway shows. Bloomer Girl is a show I've been curious about for a while, since it's by E.Y. Harburg, and such a radical female protagonist for a musical is pretty uncommon, for the 40's or now (at least for anyone but E.Y. Harburg!) It's sort of hard to judge it as a show, since the synopsis from the CD booklet is highly vague, and several of the songs are for characters not even mentioned, so there's not a lot of context to illuminate the songs. But some of them are quite good anyway; 'Evelina' being the best, with it's most beguiling melody. There's a very funny feminist number in 'It Was Good Enough for Grandma', and a standard 40's love song in 'Right as the Rain'. I really do wonder why there are two whole songs given to the character played by Joan McCracken, because for one thing her character is one not mentioned in the synopsis, but more importantly she can't sing. Whatever you might call the unattractive noise she makes in her two songs, you cannot call it singing. The rest of the cast is alright, however I really do wish it had been Nanette Fabray in the lead in the first place, since she's so awesome, and Celeste Holm, though adequate, hasn't got the same sort of charm. Apparently Barbara Cook did a TV version of Bloomer Girl in the 50s too, which I would absolutely kill to see, so I can only hope somebody puts it out on DVD someday!
newmoonstar: (north & south (_lovelygirl))
I have been so pathetically remiss in my sewing lately. I haven't even started a new project since the 1838 doll dress sleeve fiasco. This really must be rectified. Perhaps the polka dot 1950's doll dress? Or finishing my medieval dress.

But finding time to sew has been impossible lately, since I've been much too busy reading every book I can find about Broadway musicals, in my search for more obscure and interesting cast albums to listen to. The only problem is, if they're really obscure, they're really hard to find. And forget finding any cast albums for English shows here in the states. And some shows that look terribly interesting, such as One Touch of Venus or Lady in the Dark are too old to have had cast albums. So the odyssey continues...

And my eternal battle to keep my Barbie doll collection down to a manageable size is again losing ground. I'm afraid I've been bitten by the Silkstone bug of late. I've now acquired the The Interview, and The Usherette, which is seriously gorgeous, and looks a bit like Vivien Leigh, to my mind. I just adore the careers series, I wish the rest of them weren't all foreign exclusives; but I suppose I should be glad they are, otherwise I would probably buy them all. I did, however, put my foot down, and turned down a shiny new Preferably Pink Barbie for $25. (Tell me I did the right thing!) But my doll cabinet is full, and it's come to the point where I'm now going to have to sell or give away some old dolls each time I buy new ones! But to be perfectly honest, it's long past time for me to let go of Gymnast Barbie, so this is probably a good thing!
newmoonstar: (Default)
I think everyone who knows me knows I'm a very serious Barbie doll collector. That being the case, I think these next three words will paint a very vivid picture in eveyrone's mind: MATTEL. OUTLET. STORE.

In case it doesn't however, let me elaborate. I found the place fifteen minutes before they closed, walked up to the aisle where all the high-end collector dolls were, whispered something to the effect of "Sweet Jesus, it's the mother lode" and then proceeded to buy everything I saw. In short, a more shocking display of bare-faced consumerist avarice was never before witnessed by human eyes. But I've had dreams like that since I was a little girl: walking into an unassuming warehouse in the middle of nowhere, and finding all the most gorgeous, expensive dolls I could previously only wish for all laid out before me at half, or less than half, of their retail price. And my mother was with me, goading me on with her gold credit card; if it hadn't been for her I think I might have gotten away with only buying two or three, instead of seven. So now I owe her a lot of money. And there are no returns. When I woke up the morning after, I half hoped it had been another dream, but then I saw the bags on the floor, and choked a little. It's still quite overwhelming. On the one hand, I can't believe how shamelessly little will-power I had, but on the other hand, it was a unique circumstance unlike any I'd faced before, and now that I've experienced the dream come true, maybe I've finally purged it from my system. And, when it comes down to it, I did get some seriously awesome dolls.

The list of doom: )

But the worst part of all this is, they're having a blowout sale at the end of the month. Tell me not to go. Please, someone tell me not to go!!!!

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