Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A visit to the My London Girl Store!

My Sister Bre-Anne, has recently returned from a visit to London where upon landing in London she and her husband made their way to the My London Girl store in London's Westfield Shopping Centre.
 Bre-Anne told me she was so impressed with the store, it's layout and the amazing items for both the My London Girl dolls and for girls.

The store has not over looked one detail and they have gone the extra mile ensuring every visitor a feast for the eyes.
The dressing rooms are so inviting and have such a royal feel!
I love the colors, the textures and scale of the furniture in the changing rooms!

I was so happy to see this photo as some of you may know I love store exclusive shirts! I am so thankful my sister remembered this and brought me home the I heart MLG shirt for my dolls!

My sister said she was so impressed with the quality of the doll clothes and the attention to detail. I love the costumes for dolls and girls!
In store you can also purchase some wonderful Gotz dolls and accessories.
A fantastic assortment of  in store accessories for girls and dolls are truly something to see on your own!
The doll shoes are fantastic! (and for my American Girl Doll enthusiasts the shoes work perfectly on American Girl Dolls!) The styles and selection is fantastic and I just love the sparkly outfit! My niece Trinity got a pair of the matching shoes and they are so cute!

The My London Girl store is a family owned business and while in the store my sister had the pleasure of meeting with the Neagle family. Bre-Anne captured this photo near the Changing rooms that features the Neagle family girls as well as the professional models for the product line! A wonderful family touch and a great idea.

I am very thankful to my sister Bre-Anne for making the trip to the store for me and meeting with the Neagle family as well as taking these wonderful photos to share with all of you!

So if you are lucky enough to live in the UK, make the trip to  My London Girl Store your next destination! Or if you are like myself here in North American start saving your pennies and turn them into British Pounds and plan your trip to London and be sure to visit the store in Westfield, London Shopping Centre for your next holiday!

Thank you to the Neagle family for taking the time to meet with my sister and brother in law and for the wonderful gift of My London Girl dolls and products, for Girls everywhere!
As with all my posts I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Monday, January 30, 2012

Meet Terri of Terristouch Etsy shop

I am so happy to share an interview with you today with Terri of Terristouch Etsy shop.
Terri has one of the busiest Etsy shops and I am thrilled she could take time and answer for us some of the questions you have sent me.
Here are Terri's answers to my interview questions along with photos from her shop. I hope you enjoy it!

Q:How long have you been sewing?
"I’ve been sewing for over 50 years. I started out making clothes for my Barbie doll and by the time I was in high school I was making all my clothes, including swimsuits and prom dresses. I still have that Barbie doll and yes, she is one of the originals with a ponytail and curly bangs."
Q:How did you start sewing for American Girl dolls?
A" While my daughter was growing up I made lots of clothes for her dolls but that was back in the days before American Girl dolls existed. My first exposure to American Girl dolls came about 8 years ago when a friend bought one for her granddaughter. A couple of years later I bought AG dolls for my granddaughters. Since I was still working full time I had very little time to sew and just dabbled at making clothes for them.. After I retired in 2007 I finally had time to sew as much as I wanted to and on whatever I wanted. You guessed it, American Girl dolls won the contest for my attention."

Q:How many and which dolls do you have?
"Bitty Baby
Bitty Twins
2 Gotz dolls
2 “Just Like You” dolls
All the historical dolls except for Emily, Nellie and Kaya
I know that when you look at that list you probably conclude that I’m a collector. That’s really not the case. My dolls are all “working dolls,” standing around in their undies waiting for their turn to be in a photo shoot. "

Q:Do you create most of your own patterns?
"Yes, I do. Although I do draft some from scratch, I also sometimes start with a commercially manufactured pattern then make a bazillion modifications to it."

Q:What is your favorite material to work with?
"I don’t have a favorite. I love all colors and all textures. I get excited every time I start a new project and can pull out a fresh piece of fabric to work with. Because I have such a love for fabric I can’t go into a fabric store without blowing my budget. To stay within my budget I’ve learned to let my daughter do my shopping for me since she works part time in a fabric store."

Q:Do you take custom orders?
"I only take custom orders for colors of things like soccer uniforms, gymnastic leotards and poodle skirts. I love being able to walk in the sewing room in the morning and say to myself, “What do I feel like working on today?” I do take suggestions for designs and styles though. I keep those suggestions on a running TO DO list along with the name of the person who made the suggestion. When I get motivated to tackle the new design I’ll make a batch of several and then contact the requester to give her the first opportunity to purchase one. I seldom make one-of-a-kinds."

Q:What is you top selling item?
"I don’t really have one. During the cold months I do sell a lot of “winter outfits” which include fleece jackets and mittens. Over the past few years I’ve also sold a lot of soccer uniforms and dresses for Felicity and Elizabeth."

Q:Do you do all the sewing yourself?
"Yes, I do. For a while I had fleece arm pillows in my shop and those were made by my daughter-in-law. She no longer has the time to make them though so everything you see in my shop was made by me. I’m often asked how I can produce so much. I don’t like to just sit in front of the TV without something else to do so I often cut out doll clothes or do handwork when my husband and I are watching a movie. Yes, I have a TV in the sewing room and yes, I’ve seen every episode of NCIS and CSI so many times that I can just listen to them while I sew because I’ve got the action scenes memorized. It’s not uncommon for me to be in the sewing room early in the morning with my cup of coffee and while I’m still in my pajamas."

Q:Do you sell mostly on line or do you have a store front as well?
"I only have my Etsy shop. For a couple of years I also sold at local craft shows but that wasn’t as successful as my Etsy shop has been so I phased out the craft shows."

Q:Do you have a website, Facebook page or blog?
"No to all of the above. I much prefer to spend my time sewing and try to spend as little time on the computer as possible."

Q:What can we expect to see from you in 2012?
"I’ll continue to offer several styles of gymnastics leotards for McKenna. First Communion season is approaching and I plan to add a couple of new style options for those dresses. I’ll definitely continue to provide a selection for each of the historical dolls, even those who have been retired. Those of you who have followed my Etsy shop have probably noticed that I introduce new historical fashions in spurts. I tend to sew for one era for a couple of weeks and then move on to a different era. I have a hard time shifting quickly from Julie’s daisies and peace symbols to Felicity’s elegance."

Thank you so much to Terri for agreeing to share this behind the scenes look into her design world!
As with all my posts I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Aid for Abby Update!

Bidding is going well for our Aid for Abby Tee-shirt on Facebook, click here to go to the bidding section of my Facebook group!
So many wonderful people have contacted me letting me know they want to help out with the fundraiser. Mini Me Dolly Diva's has created a skirt that will accompany the Aid for Abby T-shirt! So when you bid on the T-shirt shown above you will also now get the skirt made by Mini Me Dolly Diva!
A huge thank you to Mini Me Dolly Diva's for helping out with our fundraiser!
Remember bidding ends at the end of February and the proceeds go directly to Aid for Abby  and help fund much needed therapy sessions for this wonderful child artist of multiple special needs!

If you wish to contribute to Aid for Abby buy purchasing some of Abby's art work and cards please visit their Etsy shop at Aid for Abby  today!

 As with all my posts I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

For the love of Mini's a photo contest for Mini dolls!

I love the 6 inch American Girl dolls and I was so impressed with guest blogger  Lauren M's photos that I had to share some of them with you and hold a Mini Doll photo contest.
The prize has been lovingly donated by  Creationsbydeevee's Etsy shop!

This pattern fits the American Girl mini (6.5 inch) It comes with the pattern for the bed, headboard, bedspread, chaise, chair, sofa, ottoman, rug and pillows. It gives instructions to make the table, floor lamp, table lamp, clock, vase & stacking pictures. The pattern consists of 24 pages, & 2 color pages.
To view the pattern sale site click here

So if you would like to enter please email me your photo of your Mini American Girl Doll  at karenmowen@gmail.com  and be sure to visit Creationsbydeevee's Etsy shop to see the wonderful patterns available for both mini dolls and 18 inch dolls alike! Contest runs from today until February 14th 2012.
Your 18 inch doll can be in the photo with your mini doll if you would like.
Here are some more of the wonderful photos Lauren has taken of her Mini Samantha to inspire you!

Remember that the winner will be chosen by random draw and I will try to post as many of the photo entries as possible!
I look forward to seeing all your photos!
As with all my posts I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My first American Girl Mystery Series has arrived!

Over the Christmas Holidays my husband introduced me to a book buying site he uses called  The Book Depository  
The Book Depository offers free shipping on books world wide and is based in the UK. Some of you may know I live in Canada so getting the American Girl Books up here (with out the large cost of shipping and dutie)s is not always easy. I was so thrilled to find that they carried a large selection of the Mystery books I had been planning to pick up on my trip to American Girl and that with the Free Shipping and great price they were cheaper then me getting them at the store. 
I decided to start with the Samantha series and then I think I will move on to the Kit Series. 
Would any of you like to start an on line American Girl Doll Mystery Book club? If you would come join us at http://americangirlmysterybookclub.blogspot.com/
Don't forget to check out the great selection of American Girl books at your library, local book store , American Girl store or check out The Book Depository today. 

I did not order The Cry Of The Loon  so I will happily pick it up on my next trip to American Girl Seattle!
Open a book and start an adventure with Mystery Books from American Girl.
As with all my posts I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Aid for Abby...a special post and contest and facebook fundraiser.

 A few months ago I found a wonderful Etsy shop run by a Mom who sells her daughters art work to fund her daughters much needed therapy sessions. Bonnie is Abby's Mom, Abby is a child who has multiple disabilities including Autism,Expressive/Receptive Language Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Aid for Abby 's Etsy shop sells original art and cards made by Abby. The proceeds of her work go towards the costs of Abby's therapy treatments.
Now some of you may know that two of my three children also have Autism. Where I live in Canada, we have some medical coverage and government benefits that help us cover the cost of our Therapy sessions, though for many families world wide the financial burden falls to families.
I was amazed at the selection of affordable art cards and paintings in Aid for Abby's Shop and I wanted to do more to help then just be a customer. So with Bonnie's help and permission we wanted to share with you Abby's art work in away that would tie into our American Girl dolls.

With the help of another wonderful Etsy shop Doll Clothes by Peg we came up with the idea to put Abby's Art Work on a t-shirt and do both a fund raiser, a give away and hopefully bring awareness about the incredible things that people living with Autism and families living with family members who have Autism are doing to make the world they live in a better place.

Peg has kindly made and donated three shirts to this cause that are adorned with my favorite painting Abby made that I bought and now is framed and on display in my office!
So how much do therapy sessions cost, you may wonder.

Abby gets weekly psychological/behavior therapy at $225.00 per session. She gets developmental therapy at $225.00 per session, once a month. She gets physical therapy twice at month at $176.50 per session. The money made from all the items in Aid for Abby   goes to help pay for her therapy.
There are two ways you can help Bonny and Abby and have a chance to bring one of these shirts home.

We will give away one shirt here on my blog and take bids through my Facebook page for one of the shirts.  The winner of the t-shirt from my blog will be announced at the end of February and the winning bidder will also be announced at the end of February.
Please visit Aid for Abby  and Doll Clothes by Peg's Etsy shops  by clicking on their shops names.
As with all my posts I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Liberty Jane Dress form fun!

In December Liberty Jane  came out with the most fantastic doll sized dress form pattern .
I had to buy it right away you see, I have had this dress form fabric for more then two years and I have been waiting for the perfect project to use it on, I was so excited to have this project to use it on.
Now I have had the candle stick holders for more then 10 years and I was looking for something to do with them as they were out dated and gold. 
So with a little spray paint and some 1 and a quarter inch doll head balls I also sprayed I was well on my way to creating these wonderful dress forms. Best part is I have 6 balls left and can make more dress forms, which I can not wait to do, I just need to acquire some more candle holders.
I was in Fabricland Canada, and imagine my surprise to find 4 pattern storage boxes that are the same design on clearance for $2 each, I was over the moon. I can not wait to add doll accessories or sewing notions to my new boxes!
I found that the sewing and stuffing of the bodice was the easiest part of making these dress forms. I highly recommend this and all Liberty Jane patterns for their style, price and accessibility. They are very easy to follow patterns even if you are new to sewing, step by step photos help even the novice sewer complete projects with easy and gain confidence!
As with all my posts I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My own My London Doll! Meet Olivia!

My sister Bre-Anne just came home from London and brought back with her My newest doll Olivia.
Olivia is a My London Girl Doll and is a very welcome addition to my doll family!
Shown here with my Maplelea Doll Saila and My American Girl of the Year 2009 Doll Chrissa.
(The dolls are standing in my American Doll Room)
The first thing I have to tell you about My London Doll Girls is they are much softer to "hug" making them very hard to put down! I love the Meet outfit. The Clothes and shoes that My London Girl Dolls come in are very well made and very fashion forward. I am going to have to ask for them to make the outfit in my size!
As some of you may know I purchased my "Bella" doll through Sears Canada and though the faces are the same I have to tell you that the quality of doll hair is far superior on the My London Doll then that of my Sears doll "Bella". (My "Bella" shown here in a My London Girl Store exclusive hair band and clip) absolutely adorable and would look great on any doll! Canadian, American, Australian or British Doll!
  Just look at these shoes! I love them! I believe that any doll lover, would get hours of love and doll play with a My London Girl Doll. I am so happy to have Olivia in my Doll Family and I am so thankful to be able to share her with you!
If you are in the UK I highly recommend you take a look at their website  http://www.mylondongirl.co.uk/
or stop by their beautiful store in Westfield London Shopping Centre.
As with all my posts I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Its Sew Susan. A spotlight on a great Etsy shop,designer and fellow blogger.

 Today I wanted to share with you an interview I did with Susan of It's Sew Susan, I love her work and I am amazed at all she does. I hope you will be too, here is our interview.

Q:When did you start sewing?
A:I started sewing when I was nine years old. I can still see myself sitting in my grandmother's dining room, sewing up a nightgown out of shiny, green taffeta lining she happily gave me. I loved that nightie. I remember ironing it every night before jumping into it for a good night's sleep.

"I was in 4-H for 7 years, always in sewing, although a few years I took cooking projects, too. I loved to sew and by high school, was making most of my own clothes, including my prom dresses."

I loved sewing for my four kids. All are grown now, but I made, many clothes for them. I also made quite a stack of Cabbage patch clothes in the 80s.

Q:What dolls you have?
A: "I have 25 dolls .... all of my American Girl Dolls are second hand, except one. I love the hunt! I love welcoming these pre-loved dolls into our family. My favorite are Kit, Jesse and Josephina. I'm eagerly waiting to find a Molly at the right price. Oh, the AG that I bought new is my daughter's, but she is "lending" it to me. She is expecting her first baby in June. I guess if it's a girl, I will only have 24 dolls. I don't limit myself to American Girl, either. I have several Tonner Betsy McCalls and one 19" Anne Estelle. My collection of 25 also includes dolls from Tuesday Morning, Target and Walmart. There are many very pretty dolls out there!"

"This December, I had 10 more dolls temporarily in my possession. We, at It's Sew Susan decided to donate 10% of our sales to buy dolls for little girls who might not be able to get a doll this Christmas. The 10% goes strictly for purchasing the dolls. We found a fantastic deal on some dolls, so were able to donate 10. This year, as I have been sewing, I have made extra clothes to donate with the dolls. We are very excited about this!"

Q: What motivates you to make doll clothes?
A:"The pure love of sewing and creating. I love to sew! I love the 18" dolls. It became a perfect pairing. Even though I work approximately 55 hours a week at my "day job," I sew a little most every day. It is very relaxing to me."

Q:What do you items do you like to make best?
A:"As far as what I like to make the best, I haven't figured that out yet. That is why you see such an eclectic offering in our shop. There are times when I love the intricacies of the Victorian dresses we offer. The details are so much fun. I loved searching out the right fabric and ribbon for our Scarlett O'Hara dress. I have some plans to do some other dresses from Gone with the Wind"

"I love sewing Punk, Steam Punk and Harajuku. I think it is because I like the creativity involved designing the outfits, plus, at 62, it gives me the opportunity to play with the look, but not look ridiculous wearing it. In addition, I love separates. I love that you can get 6-7 pieces and have 10 looks. Oh, and don't forget the fairy outfits. I love the magical, enchantment of these. Did I say, I love it all."

How did It's Sew Susan come about?
A:"It's Sew Susan came about because I was having such a ball making doll clothes for my dolls. I thought I could "just sell a few things." I posted one outfit on Etsy. It didn't sell, but I continued to sew. By July, I had 25 items in my shop and another 100 consigned with a lady in VA. In July, things started to sell and I couldn't keep up. I had already talked Robert into photographing and editing pictures for Etsy, but it was clear I needed more help. Before long, we was designing business cards, banners and totes. Then he was silk screening the totes, airbrushing fairy wings and ironing on our graphics. He also packages and mails all of our orders. And he runs to the fabric store to grab elastic or "the right color thread" when I am tied to the machine. All of this, in addition to brainstorming with me."

"Now anyone who is running an online doll clothes business will tell you, there are a lot of clothes to inventory, hang and sort. This is where my granddaughter, Skylar, has joined us. She started out as wardrobe manager, hanging clothes, dressing dolls for photo shoots and fixing their hair. This is a big job, as all those clothes have to be re-hung after the shoot. Then she started helping make tutus. She loves to design clothes. We will be making some of her designs this year. This month she sewed a Christmas gift for Robert and has been bitten by the sewing bug!"

You can find It's Sew Susan on Etsy, Facebook and she even has her own blog!

 I am so thrilled to have come in contact with such a talented lady! I am also thrilled to be able to share with you the journey's and behind the scenes look at the life and work of doll world designers,  be sure to take a look at their shops, facebook pages and blogs to find out about special deals, promotions and more. Like me you may find you too are fascinated by their talents and work as much as I am.
As with all my posts I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com