During my latest thrifting expedition, an unusual doll caught my eye. When I checked to find the manufacturer's name, I was surprised to see Pleasant Company stamped on the back of the head and an American Girl tag on the side. This is a Hopscotch Hill doll, which AG made for a few years to appeal to younger girls. The dolls are 16 inches tall with articulated elbows and knees, and they are meant to be early elementary age. Meet Skylar. I got her for $1.40.
I popped in for a quick peek at my local thrift store, and look what I found!
An authentic Bitty Twin doll from American Girl! Ok, so she looked more like this when I got her:
When I first saw this doll, I picked it up and quickly set it down again. I'm not too interested in this style of doll, especially with that wild paint job on the toes. But then I caught a glimpse of the tag and picked it up again. Could it be? Yep! Sure enough, the tag said American Girl, so I checked for the neck stamp, and there it was! I've never seen an official AG item at any of the thrift stores, so I was pretty stoked. At $4, I decided I had to bring her home and see what I could do.
The doll didn't come with any clothes, so I put her in my new Espari plaid outfit for pics. These clothes are designed for slimmer dolls, so the dress won't close at all in the back, but I think it still looks cute. She can't stand on her own, but she sits quite well on this little wooden bench.
Bitty babies and bitty twins are sort of an odd size, so finding affordable clothes to fit can be tricky. At 15 inches, they are shorter and wider than typical 18 inch dolls but bigger than standard 12 inch baby dolls. The outfit above is a conglomeration of pieces from different doll lines. The shirt is from AG, the tutu from Walmart, the shoes from Springfield, and the socks from Espari.
Here she is next to Saige for a comparison. The Bitty Twins aren't scaled right for the 18 inch dolls, but I think they have realistic toddler proportions and are a perfect size for little ones to carry around. Saige even let our new little friend borrow her t-shirt. I'm not sure I would pay full price for this doll, but I do think she is a cutie. I noticed that AG now offers bitty twins for sale individually for $75, so you don't have to pay $125 for a set if you only want one. I think that is a smart move. Bitty Babies are pretty easy to find on the secondary market for a reasonable price, and who knows? You might even run across one in a thrift store or at a garage sale.
Happy Birthday Saige!!
According to her books from American Girl, today is Saige Copeland's birthday! Saige was the Girl of the Year for 2013, and she's the only official American Girl doll I have ever purchased. My daughter absolutely loves this doll, and Saige has helped her through some tough times, including hospital stays, doctor's appointments, medical tests, and just rough mornings. In Honor of her birthday, here are some of my favorite posts featuring our favorite GOTY, Saige Copeland!
As I strolled through the toy aisle at Walmart today, I saw some super cute Barbie items to enhance doll play. My girls don't play much with Barbies, but many of these accessories would be perfect for mini dolls, especially the new Our Generation modern minis.
This Girl Scout Barbie doll was my absolute favorite. She comes in blond or brunette, and she's all decked out in her uniform (Barbiefied with plenty of pink, of course) and ready to sell everyone's favorite cookies!
My daughter has been a Girl scout for 4 years, and I think she would adore this set. Barbie's uniform even matches my daughter's, since she's a Junior this year. I love the tiny cookie boxes and the bag. Isn't Barbie a little too old to be a girl scout, though? Maybe she's just a really enthusiastic cookie mom. Anyway, the background and accessories would work great for AG or OG mini dolls or other dolls with a younger look.
At under $15, I think this set has great play value, if you can manage not to lose those adorable but ultra-tiny cookie boxes. I really may have to purchase this one.
There were several small accessory sets, including a glam microwave, glam breakfast tray, and glam vacuum set. The food sets are neat because the tray has little grooves you can fit the other pieces into so they don't fall off and get lost. The microwave comes with popcorn and pizza, and the breakfast set has a tea kettle, strawberry pancakes, and heart-shaped waffles. The little utensils are especially made for Barbie to hold. The cleaning set was kind of cute, but who really plays vacuuming with Barbies? Maybe if I had a "glam" pink vacuum I would clean more.
These larger sets are great for recreating scenes from the hilarious Life in the Dreamhouse series, and they would also work great for other mini dolls. The camping set has two dolls, along with a campfire and sleeping bag and a few smaller accessories.I really love the Tiki set. It has a little snack hut with a stool, drinks, and a volleyball for lots of beach fun. The tropical background on the box is very nice. It comes with Skipper, but I can't tell if the Chelsea is an actual doll or just a picture. These sets are about $25 each, and there were several other sets as well, including a bicycle, a clubhouse, and a school set. If you need ideas to enhance your small-scale doll play, head on over to Walmart and check out these fun sets!
A recent perusal of the Pottery Barn Kids website led to the exciting discovery that a Gotz boy doll is once again available at Pottery Barn. The Gotz 18 inch dolls have been available for several years, along with mini dolls more recently. There are about four main dolls with different hair, eye, and skin colors, and special edition dolls have also been offered. There used to be a boy doll (named Henry) pictured on the website, but he has not been available for sale for quite some time. I keep hoping PBK would bring back their boy doll, and they finally did!
The new doll is named Parker, and he seems quite similar to Henry, but his eyes look darker. I really loved Henry's outfit, as it looks exactly like my son's school uniform, and I love the red shoes. The new (sportier) outfit also looks cute, but I wish there were more pictures or a more detailed description on the website. I can't tell what his shirt looks like under the letter-man jacket, but it looks like it has a collar, so it may be a white button-up shirt. If so, that would add some nice versatility to his outfit. The shoe color is also not clear, but I think they are a more muted color than the cute red ones. I like his hat, but it totally obscures his hair so you can't see the style. Maybe I will have to try to find one of these little guys in my local Pottery Barn store so I can check him out more.
Since the company created a completely new character rather than just bringing back Henry, I would like to have seen a little more diversity. The eyes are slightly different, but the complexion and hair look nearly identical. I would like to see a different skin tone or hair color/texture, or at least some freckles or glasses. Currently, there is quite a variety of girl 18 inch dolls available from Pottery Barn, so it's disappointing to see the lack of creativity with the boy doll. Overall, though, he is very cute and seems to be good quality, so I'm just glad to see a boy doll offering again from a major retailer. Parker is currently available for $99, but I am hoping to see some sales closer to Christmas.
There are also several other 18 inch Gotz dolls available, and as they bring in new characters, a few of the older versions are on sale. I saw some cute outfits too, including a cat costume and a birthday outfit. The regular mini dolls are not currently available, but they do have a princess, prince, and royal guard mini doll, selling for $24 each. You can also buy a royal carriage and horse to go with the set, and there is a full-sized princess doll and carriage as well.
My local Barnes and Noble store does not have the new Beforever mini dolls yet, but they did have a few of the old versions stashed on a bottom shelf. I spotted one forlorn Molly peeking out from a row of smiling Isabelles, and I knew I had to bring her home. So I used my storytelling money and purchased her as a birthday present to myself.
Here she is in Raggedy Anne's pinafore, which makes me think of Molly's birthday dress. Welcome to the clan, Molly!
I'm trying to limit my doll spending right now, but I couldn't resist checking out my favorite thrift store, Saver's. Here are some of the doll finds that caught my eye.
This Victorian beauty was selling for $10, which is worth it just for the dress and stand. It has a porcelain face and limbs and soft body. She looks about the same size as American Girl, and I think her clothing would fit an AG doll quite well. Her beautiful crepe dress is easily removable with a Velcro closure in back. It is adorned with layers of ruffles and lace, with silk flowers and a beautiful cameo brooch for a finishing touch. She even has a fancy little purse.
These beautiful 20" boys from the Cathay Collection captured my heart right away. They have hard vinyl arms and feet, soft bodies, and wigged hair. They have a toddler-style body with curved legs and feet, so they can't stand. They are similar to Bitty Twins but slightly bigger, and they seem to be able to fit into regular infant clothing. I really had to fight myself to keep from buying that little blond. Doesn't his face just seem to say, "Please take me home"?
This little lady is so cute with her copper curls and cute bare feet, but I was actually most interested in her swing. I think it would work great for the American Girl mini dolls. She is tied to the swing, but she isn't glued down, so she wouldn't be too hard to remove. I also love the look of the flowery vines adorning the edges.
I also found several American Girl books in very nice condition. There was the first book for Julie, Kit (not pictured because my daughter was holding it) and Lanie, and an entire set of Julie's 6 books. They were only 99 cents each, and I had a 20% off coupon from donating, so I ended up getting 7 books for about 5 dollars. My youngest daughter loves Kit, so I got her meet book, and I couldn't resist getting Julie's books since it was such a great deal for a complete set. I did leave Lanie for the next little girl, though. This was my only actual purchase.
I'm so glad I have this site to share all my great finds without having to actually buy everything. Hope you enjoyed seeing them. Happy thrifting!
I personally believe that all children can benefit from doll play, regardless of gender. I also feel that children need to explore male characters in a wider context than is currently offered by most common toy options. While female dolls represent a wide range of ages, characters, and roles, male dolls tend to be depicted as adults (fashion dolls and action figures) or babies/toddlers (baby dolls). American Girl includes some great, multi-faceted male characters in their historical books, so I am disappointed that none of them have been depicted as dolls.
Most major retailers offer limited options, but there are some nice boy dolls available online. Here are a few of the ones that stood out to me. I have not purchased products from any of these retailers, so my comments are just general impressions rather than reviews.
If any of you know of other good doll lines that sell boy dolls, please comment below. I know there are several custom options on Etsy and Ebay, and a few of the major doll manufacturers have created boy dolls which can still be found on the secondary market. American Girl also offers their Bitty Twins line in a variety or hair and eye colors with different skin tones, but I didn't include them because I tried to pick dolls that look the same age as the main American Girl characters. Good luck to those of you seeking to add a boy to your doll family.
When I was growing up, I somehow missed the whole American Girl phenomenon (probably too busy making tin foil clothes for my second-hand Barbies). Even so, I find myself feeling nostalgic toward the original characters. While I didn't get the chance to "meet Samantha," I did meet and fall in love with similar characters like Anne Shirley, Mary Lennox, and Sara Crewe and their fascinating time period. Though my daughter is thrilled about the pink-clad "new" version of AG's beloved Samantha Parkington, I prefer the original. So I decided to to add her to my mini-doll collection while she is still readily available. The new Beforever mini comes out later this month.
Mini Samantha is currently sold on the American Girl website for $24, but I actually purchased mine for about 19$ on Amazon, since I had free shipping. When Samantha arrived, she was a little off-kilter inside her box, so I was afraid she might be disheveled, but she came out looking lovely, though her hair does lean to one side.
I had already purchased Samantha's Play Scenes and Paper Dolls book on sale for $5. It is no longer available, but some of the other historical paper dolls are still on sale. I love these sets, and at $5, they are an incredible value. The actual paper dolls are a little large for the play scenes, but the mini dolls are a perfect size! Here are some pics of my new "old" Sam.
Samantha gets ready for back-to-school time with this fabulous classroom scene from her paper doll book.
Samantha plays with her new birthday teddy bear in her room (bear and play scene are from the paper doll set). The first chair is made from a free printable available here, and the second was purchased with a coupon from Jo-Ann craft store.
When I first saw this mini doll, I immediately thought of the beautiful Diana Barry from L.M. Montgomery's books. Naturally, I had to create her kindred spirit and bosom friend, Anne Shirley. Saige is borrowing Marie-Grace's dress and Cecile's boots with a mini straw hat to complete her costume. This picture just makes me giddy. I loved Anne of Green Gables so much, and I was even in a junior high production of the play, where I played Diana's sister Minnie May.
Which do you prefer, the new version of Samantha, or the old one?
A few days ago, my daughter's beloved Mooshka Tots doll had an unfortunate accident and ended up having to go for a spin in the washing machine. She turned out good as new, and I figured now is as good a time as any to finally post her review.
This spring my son received some money for Easter, so I took him to Toys R Us to pick out a toy. He saw this little doll and insisted on buying it for his younger sister. I told him he didn't need to spend his Easter money on someone else and could buy something for himself, but he insisted that was what he wanted to do.
I was impressed with his generosity and kindness, and his sister was delighted at the gift. The doll came with a free e-book for my tablet, and all my kids love it. They are all enthralled with the Mooshka Village world, and my son was super excited that one of the dolls shares his birth date.
We got our Mooshka Tot for 8$ on sale, and it is still available at that price at Toys R Us and Target. There are also larger Mooshka Dolls available and a wonderful website with free activities and printables.
Overview: This lovely set comes with a cloth-bodied doll, a cloth finger puppet, a beautiful box with carrying handle, and four paper double-sided paper dolls that are attached to each other. The story behind the dolls is that they are paper dolls that all held hands and came to life. The tots are little sisters to the full-sized Mooshka dolls, and each has a distinct personality and back story.
Quality: The doll is very well made and looks like it will hold up to years of play. It has already been machine washed once, and it came out very clean and did not show any extra wear. The hair accessory is attached very securely, so it's appropriate for young children.
Cost and Play Value: The tot dolls retail for about $13, which I think is a little bit steep, but the sale price of $8 is reasonable. The little accessories definitely add to the play value, and I love that the company offers a free e-book along with online activities and printables. I think these dolls are priced appropriately for the target age range, which I would say is 2-5.
Clothing and Hair: The little dresses are so bright and beautiful, and I love that the shoes and stockings are not detachable. The hair is drawn on with cute little pigtails. It does not allow for hair play, but it will stay looking great for a long time with no maintenance, unlike dolls with wigs or rooted hair.
Recommendations: I would definitely suggest this doll for a preschooler. The finger puppet and removable dress allow for imaginative play, and the rest of the doll is very low-maintenance. The online components and downloads enhance the play experience, and the characters are lovable and relate-able. I like the back story and character details. These are great dolls!