Thursday, November 10, 2011

Biltmore Estate


Afner's hermanos were here visiting a few weeks ago, and as a special treat, I took them to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC.  It's the biggest private residence in America, and it also has the most visited winery in the nation.  And by "private residence" they mean palatial castle, and by "most visited winery in the nation" they mean they give out a loooooot of free wine.  Of course, Nancy got to come along.  She just got a new dress, Fiesta en el Jardin, so I let her wear it for our day trip.

Nancy likes to travel in style.

The front of the Biltmore.

Me, Papito, and Patricia

One of the really neat things about the Biltmore Estate is its history. It was built over six years and was finished in 1895.  The architect modeled the house after three châteaux built in 16th-century France. There are Renoir originals in the house, Napoleon's chess set, and even more fun, some really neat vintage dolls.  Photography inside the house is absolutely forbidden, but when you see a beauty like this, well, even a goody two shoes like myself cannot resist.  That explains the bad quality of the photo.
Nancy with an antique German (or possibly French) doll

This doll is a part of an exhibit inside the house called "If These Walls Could Talk".  It was Cornelia Vanderbilt's doll from the turn of the century.  Cornelia was born in 1900 and was the only child of the Vanderbilts.  Nancy was very excited to get the opportunity to take a picture with such a distinguished doll! 

After you exit the house, you can tour the gardens.  We didn't do too much touring of the gardens, but we did stop for a picture of Nancy in the garden, wearing en el Jardin. 
Nancy enjoying the garden and the beautiful mountain view

The next stop on our tour was the winery.  The winery was originally a dairy, but in 1971 they began the transformation.  I must say, the winery is definitely more exciting than a dairy.  Can you imagine tasting milk?  Well, maybe ice cream.  At any rate, nowadays you can taste wine, and as much of it as you want.  Oh yeah, and you also get to take a tour.
Nancy was the only one small enough to squeeze through the bars to get to the barrels.....

The wines are good, and not very expensive.  We tasted a lot of different things, but ended up buying a few bottles of their Christmas wine.  It was a great day, and we had lots of fun with Patricia and Andres.  If you're ever in North Carolina, be sure to make time for a trip to the Biltmore Estate!
Este es el fin!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Renaissance Nancy


This time of year in Charlotte, there is always a Renaissance Festival which is always a lot of fun.  I decided this year I would take Nancy along.  For the occasion, I asked my friend Diana to create a custom Renaissance dress for Nancy.  The result was stunning!  Please visit her Etsy Shop where she has several cute designs for Nancy, you won't be disappointed!

Nancy, who was serenaded by Shaxpeare (his name, not mine)

Nancy and I getting ready for the big joust

My friend Deni, showing Nancy some love

I didn't get to take as many fun pictures as I wanted to, because there was so much to do that day and so little time to do it in.  Everyone had a good time, and Nancy got to experience some Renaissance Merriment.

Monday, October 17, 2011

New Nancys


Today, my newest shipment of Nancys arrived.  Yay!!

Two Ion Fiz, Two Nancy en Cole, Two Nancy Novias, One Nancy Gold, and One Nancy Espejos

I was very excited to receive the new shipment of Nancys today, thanks to El Corte Ingles.  My friend and I placed a large order so that we could ship the 50 Euro shipping cost, which works out really well for us.  Nancy Ion Fiz is just STUNNING in real life.  I love her!  The Nancy Gold was made in China, and I am very disappointed with the quality.  The panties are not even sewn together all the way in the bottom.  I will take more photos later of this quality issue, but I hate that for the trouble the quality is so bad.

In heaven!

Do you have Nancy Ion Fiz?  How do you feel about her?  How do you feel about the quality of the new Nancys?  I definitely am not a fan, but they are still cute girls.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

American Girl Place


Once again, I've taken quite some time to update this blog.  It feels...neglected.  Not to worry, I am back on my regimen and have several posts already planned.  That being said, this summer, Mom, Afner, and I visited American Girl Place in Atlanta, GA.  We booked the American Girl Package at the Marriott right beside the mall.  It was only $99 for the night, and it was well worth it.  I received several goodies upon my check-in.  Not pictured are the free cookies I got.
Doll Bed                                                                                                 Book, magazine, and letter

I debated for a long time over which doll to take with me, but I ended up taking Sonali, so she could get her ears pierced.  Julie ended up coming along as well, because she is Mom's favorite, and Mom wanted to have a doll with her.  The displays in the store were all really nice.   The lady who pierced Sonali's ears was also very nice, and promised to take good care of Sonali.  She was actually surprised to see Sonali, because she said they hadn't seen a Sonali in the store in a very long time, and it was very rare to see her.  This was surprising to me because I think Sonali is one of the prettiest dolls they've released in a long time.  There were TONS of Kananis in the store and in the hotel.  Every little girl had or was buying Kanani.

The Store Front                                                                                             Meet Kanani!
Julie Display
Addy Display.  I bought the dress on the far left.
Choosing Goodies
Josefina Display.  I bought the dress on the far right.
Kaya display.

Overall, I would definitely rate the experience an A.  The hotel package was great, and it was very close to the store.  I could actually see the store out my window.  I hope I can go back soon and pick out some Mary-Grace and Cecile dolls.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Welcome Julie!


Here's a doll I never thought I would own:  Julie!
Isn't she pretty?

I never thought I would own Julie for a few reasons.  Number One, I didn't feel like buying any new dolls until I completed the collections for the American Girls I have.  Number Two, I'm running out of doll rooms for the dolls!  I broke down and bought her because she was such a good price.  $40 for her and her meet accessories!  She was advertised locally on craigslist for $60, and I emailed the lady and told her that I couldn't spend $60 on a doll right now, but if she didn't get a better offer, I'd give her $40.  I didn't really expect to get her, but I thought it was worth a shot.  Two days later, she called me, and accepted my offer. 

I met her at Ikea to pick her up, and when I did, the little girl said she was worried that Julie would be sitting on a shelf all the time, and her mom said, "Don't worry, I'm sure she'll have LOTS of friends where she's going!" HAHAHAHAHA!! I told her not to worry, she would be very well taken care of, and have lots of friends.

I should also note that my mom tried to steal Julie from me.  This is the only doll my mom has ever had an interest in, I think because my mom grew up in the 70's.  I will have to guard her carefully.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Top Ten Recalled/Controversial Dolls


I started thinking today about the Snacktime Cabbage Patch Kid (random, I know), and I decided to compile a top ten list of recalled or controversial dolls.  Most of these are strictly from my own memory, so if you have any to add, please feel free to do so in the comments!

1.  Snacktime Cabbage Patch Kid -- 1996
This one had to be number one just because it's what got me thinking about writing this post.  This doll came out in 1996 and was all the rage, until parents realized that children's fingers and hair were getting "eaten" by the dolls.  If I remember correctly, a few children even had bald patches on their heads from the doll chewing their hair out.  The doll was tested and was not recalled by the CPSC, but Mattel did voluntarily recall the doll.

2.  Earring Magic Ken -- 1994
I rate this one at number two because I actually have one!  How exciting!  I don't believe this doll was actually recalled, although some stores most likely pulled it from their shelves.  The big controversy here was that Ken was perceived as gay, and many parents didn't find that appropriate for a children's plaything.  As I remember, they actually became hard to find after the controversy began because they became popular with collectors and the gay community.

3.  Butterfly Art Barbie -- 1999
This Barbie was controversial and was pulled voluntarily by Mattel.  I think the name says it all, Barbie had tattoos and parents did not feel this was appropriate.

4.  Growing Up Skipper -- 1975
Growing Up Skipper was controversial because she grew breasts!  I do not have a photo of her, but she remains very easy to find on the secondary market.  You can purchase one in decent condition for around $10.

5.  Pregnant Midge -- 2002
I honestly can't say why this was such a problem, other than Americans are very uptight.  Midge was controversial because of her pregnant belly and her baby inside.  Again, parents not thinking something was appropriate for children.  She was pulled from stores shelves amid complaints.

6.  Sky Dancers Flying Dolls -- 1994
These dolls were legitimately recalled by the CPSC.  The dolls were flying dolls, but they flew uncontrollably, and many people reported eye, teeth, and other facial injuries.  Doesn't sound like a very fun doll to me! 

7.  Joey Stivic Doll -- 1976
Joey Stivic was the first anatomically correct doll.  'Nuff said.  I don't have a photo of him either, but he is very affordable on the secondary market.

8.  AA Oreo Fun Barbie -- 1997
I actually have this doll as well, except in the white version.  The problem with this doll is that here, in America, the word "Oreo" is used a derrogatory term towards African Americans, and so the dolls were recalled by Mattel.

9.  Baby Alive Doll -- 1973
This doll was recreated several times throughout the years.  I had one when I was younger in the late 80's.  The reason the original version was recalled was due to mold and mildew growing inside the doll, which was caused by the "food" she ate.  This made some children sick, and so the doll was recalled.

10.  Bebe Gloton--2009
This doll was released in Spain, but created a stir here in the United States as many parents thought it was inappropriate.  My opinion?  Breastfeeding is a natural part of life, and I don't find anything wrong with it.

The clear winner in all of this is Barbie.  She is one envelope pushing lady!  The good thing about Barbie though, is she has just been "controversial" as opposed to actually being dangerous to children.  Do you have any of the recalled dolls here?  Do you know of any other dolls that have been recalled?

An Ink Treatment for Francie (of the Barbie Variety)


A few people have asked me how to remove ink from vinyl, so I decided to document this latest doll and do a short tutorial.

Here is the ink spot
This is the treatment I use.  I find the Equate brand from Walmart works better than any other brand.  I don't know why, but it just works better.
I put the cream directly on the ink spots and then wrap in cling wrap.  The cling wrap keeps the paste from drying out, so that it will continue to bleach out the ink.

Here she is, ink free.

This whole process took about one week.  I just left her sitting in her chair by the window enjoying the sun while the paste did it's job.  When I have used the actual Oxy brand in the past, it has taken almost a month.  The Equate brand works faster, in my opinion.  You have to be careful about leaving the paste on too long, because it is possible that it will bleach the actual vinyl of your doll.  When I first removed Francie's cling wrap, the back of one of her legs was very pale in comparison to the rest of her leg, but after about 2 days, the vinyl had returned to its normal color.  If you notice your vinyl does this, immediately remove the paste and give it a couple of days to return to color.  I'm not sure why/how this works, but it does. 

Good luck removing ink from your precious dollies!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Quick Trip to Charleston


Afner and I decided to take a quick, inexpensive trip to Charleston, SC this past week.  I have a friend who lives there and we stayed at his apartment, and spent a few days enjoying all the beauty of Charleston.  Of course, I took my girls along and introduced them to one of the finest cities in the South.

The first day, we went to the Isle of Palms and spent a day on the beach.
Sonali says hi from the Isle of Palms!

Sonali and Ginny sitting in front of our setup

No swimming!

Later that evening, we washed all the sand off and went into Charleston to see the city at night.

Ginny posing near Rainbow Row 
In front of the Charleston Harbor.  In the background, you can see Fort Sumter, which is where the first shots of the Civil War were fired.  Not a proud moment for SC, but a historical site nonetheless.

Ginny sitting on top of a cannon from Fort Sumter at the Battery

We spent the rest of the night looking for ghosts, but we didn't find any, much to our disappointment.  Better luck next time!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Queen City Doll Club


On June 4th, we had the first meeting of our new doll club, the Queen City Doll Club.  We named it after our city of Charlotte, which is known as the Queen City. 

I had a really great time meeting with other people who love dolls as much as me.  It's so interesting to learn about other types of dolls and the appreciation people have for them.  For example, I was the only member present who did not own any Kish dolls!  Now I kind of want one...

Charter Members of the QCDC -- photo taken by Diana

If you live in the Charlotte area and would be interested in joining, please send me a message! We would love to have you.  We plan on having meetings at least every two months, and our goal is to get organized well enough to do some fun projects and activites together.  You can also find us on Facebook, so check us out!

A New Technique


I have been absent from my blog for a little over a month now.  I have been extremely busy with the end of the school year, and I've been trying to spend less time on my computer to help control those impulse bids on eBay.  I have a lot of things to write about, so let's get started!

This weekend, Afner and I visited a different flea market than the one we normally patronize.  It was very successful.  I got a vintage bendable leg Francie for $1 (more to come on her later), and an adorable baby doll made in Spain that will be Nancy's new baby sister.  After the flea market, we hit up our usual thrift shops, and I got a BFC Ink doll.  I've been eyeballing them for awhile at Target now, especially since I have all the outfits, but I couldn't bring myself to shell out $20.  Thankfully, I got one at Value Village for $1.61.  Their pricing structure is really weird, I know.
Here she is, pretty disgusting.

Her hair required a lot of work.  It was full, and I mean FULL of black hairs that I can only assume came from the same animal who chewed off her thumb.  It disgusted me, but I got it all out.  Her next problem was the frizz:
Ready for an iron.

At the suggestion of my friend Diana, I tried a new technique.  She told me to use a damp washcloth on top of the hair, and then use an iron to help flatten and straighten the hair.  Well, that's exactly what I did.
A section of hair.

To use the iron, I took sections of the hair and then brushed them out over the ironing board.  Then I put a damp washcloth over the section of hair, and used the iron on the highest setting.
Make sure the washcloth covers the hair, because I can imagine how stinky melting hair is.


I brushed each section between ironing to make things easier.

She looks like she's enjoying herself ;)

Even with iffy lighting and knock knees, I still think she's adorable.

I really liked the ironing method.  In the past, I've just used steam, but the actual iron really helped tame down the hair, especially in a case like this, where the hair is almost a total loss.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Las Nancys Estan Aqui!!!!!!


I am so excited!!  After months of waiting, my Nancys are finally here!
Opening the box!! Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

And a Nancy for my friend Diana

Look.  LOOK!!! It's in Euros!!!  I feel so...sophisticated.  These are the Communion Nancys.

Nancy Geisha.  I will name her Sayuri from one of my favorite books :)

And for goodness sakes, when I saw this "I Love Minnie" doll only sold in Spain, I had to buy it.  Because I love Minnie.  That's why.  She's so adorable with the cutest little freckles!  And she has zombie arms that stick straight out!

Howie is a one cat welcoming committee.  Welcome to the USA!

And it may seem weird, but the dolls have a really pleasant, unique smell.  I wonder if that's what Spain smells like.  I hope to find out soon!  I will of course, have new, better pics later, but I couldn't contain all this excitement for the time being :)