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.
Many of you may have seen this pink dress before on my blog, but I wanted to let you know where it came from. I found this sweet plush rabbit several months ago at a local thrift store for $4, which included a doll stand. She is a little shorter than an American Girl doll, with a large head and a thin body. The body is stiffer than a regular plush toy and has jointed arms and legs. The arms are quite long for the body, especially for a rabbit, but it does help the dress fit other dolls more easily.
The decorative lace head-piece was sewed to the rabbit's head, but I snipped the thread and attached the decoration to a straw hat. The dress easily opens in the back with Velcro, so I was able to try it on other dolls. The waist and the arms are a little loose on most 18 inch dolls, but I was able to make the dress fit better by tying a ribbon sash at the waist and placing clear elastics on the sleeves. I love how the dress looks on my American Girl and Heidi Ott dolls, but my favorite was a Duck House doll I rescued and transformed. It started as a boy doll, but I wanted to use the wig for my son's play doll, so I replaced it with another thrift-store wig and made a beautiful girl with golden locks. Doesn't she look lovely in this pink outfit?
Here are more pics of my awesome thrift-store dress on various dolls. I was so excited for this find!
Today is American Girl Emily Bennett's birthday. I always loved Emily because she has such a cute meet dress, and she looks quite a bit like my own daughter. Alas, I couldn't afford to purchase her before she retired, and I haven't really found a comparable doll I can use as a stand-in. I did, however, find an old Battat doll at the thrift store ($6) who looks quite a bit like Molly. Her hair is a little more reddish and she has brown eyes instead of gray, but the bangs look similar, and I think my mock Molly looks pretty close once she has the braids and glasses. What do you think? Since the weather has been so cold here lately, I dressed her in this DIY ice skating outfit I put together.
Leotard, Leggings, and Skates: My Life As ice skating set (on clearance for $5 after the Winter Olympics) from Walmart
Coat: Springfield Collection. I folded the bottom of the long coat under to make it look shorter so her cute skirt would show, and I added some decorative snowflake brads for buttons.
Muff: Home-made with a piece of white fleece.
Glasses: Hand-made by me with wire I had on hand.
Her hair was pretty messy, but actually in pretty good condition. I tamed it with a little bit of water and fabric softener, brushed it with a wire brush, and flattened the bangs with a hat before braiding it into that classic Molly style. Now our "fake" Molly is ready for some real fun!
One of my favorite doll blogs, Living a Doll's Life, recently featured 18 inch boy doll options, so I wanted to share my custom boy doll Emmett. My son is 6 years old, the middle child and only boy, sandwiched between two sisters who are both avid doll lovers. He started asking about a boy doll last year, but I just couldn't find the right doll for him. He wanted the 18 inch size, one that looked about his age, not a baby. I thought about AG Bitty Twins, but those have more of a toddler look and are still quite expensive. I didn't really like the other options I saw, so I went on a mission to create the perfect boy doll for him. It was easy to find the base body doll, an old Kingstate Friendship Kids doll whose wig was in terrible shape. I finally found the perfect wig for him on a thrift-store doll I got for $4!
The original doll came in a pretty gender-neutral outfit, so I just had to swap out the floral t-shirt for a plain white one. He is a bit smaller than American Girl and Our Generation dolls, with a slightly smaller head and feet. His clothes can fit other 18 inch dolls, but his shoes are a little snug. He fits well in most typical 18 inch clothes, and I especially like the Springfield Collection from Joann. He has a soft body that extends to his upper arms and legs, so he can't stand on his own and doesn't look good in super short sleeves (especially since his arms are prone to come off, so they are wrapped at the top in medical tape. My son chose the name Emmett after the hero of the Lego Movie. Emmett likes all the same things as my boy: cars, ninjas, sports, Legos, and dogs. My son says he would give him 4 out of 5 stars. Not bad for under $20, huh?
The theme for this week over at Camp Doll Diaries is all about the 1950s, so I decided to post some pictures of the 50s inspired felt skirt I made for my "vintage" vinyl doll a few months ago. This was my favorite play doll when I was a little girl, and I loved it to death, literally. The hair just got un-salvageable, so I shaved it off, and I use a variety of different wigs for her. This one is what I call the Laura wig, because it reminds me of my sister Laura's hair when she was younger. I got it from an extremely ugly porcelain doll that I rescued from a thrift store and rewigged with a much more suitable style. This wig looks great on many different dolls, and I especially Iike the look of it with this Nifty Fifties style. I sewed on a strap of thin, clear, elastic cord, so it holds the wig on the doll's head without having to glue it down. I prefer to make the wigs non-permanent so I can change them up whenever I wish.