Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Liberty Jane Outfit for the
Fall 2010 Doll Giveaway!

Hola! Well now that I can take a break from doing historical research (check out yesterday's post for the final Colonial Week update).... I might be able to get some more posts out before Halloween. (Maybe... we sure hope so... we took a lot of pics for this week...)

Today we have Sun Ji and Ivy arriving early at our annual Halloween party. They have brought some tasty treats and decorated baggies to share with everyone. Sun Ji is our new MyAG #4, as you probably remember.... and Ivy is one of the dolls being offered in the Fall 2010 Doll Giveaway here at The Doll Wardrobe.

This is the Ivy doll that is offered in the giveaway, not our Ramona. We wanted to make sure everyone got a chance to see the giveaway Ivy again. She is wearing the jeans and shirt, custom-made by Liberty Jane Clothing, for the giveaway. Thanks for donating these items Cinnamon!!!

Ivy, MyAG #41, or Kirsten (depending on who the winner chooses) will come with this purple top and these grey jeans. Cinnamon chose a beautiful bold fabric for the shirt (it is awesome!!!) and added on the LJC logo.

Meanwhile Sun Ji is wearing our duplicate pair of grey jeans, and the top, jacket and necklace from "Shinjuku Starlet"-- one of the Spring/Summer outfits from Liberty Jane. We own all eight outfits now... but we have only shown you the first four here on the blog. We are very slow.... but you guys already knew that. ;-)

And p.s.--- Sun Ji and Ivy's sandals are handmade by Etsy seller BetsyStyle. Betsy currently has 15 different pairs of sandals available in her store right now, including Halloween and Christmas-themed pairs. They are really affordable and she will put straps on the back of them to help keep them on your dolls' feet if you want. Her shop also offers a lot of very pretty dresses. Betsy is a super-cool seller and we highly recommend buying from her!

So FYI... the new Fall/Winter Liberty Jane Clothing line will start to appear as Ebay auctions next week, probably after Halloween. And their Fall-o-ween Youtube and Facebook design contest is currently happening. That ends on October 31st. If you don't get the Liberty Jane newsletter, we recommend you sign up for it. It tells you about their outfits, contests, patterns, and clothing available from their partners.

Since we showed you the giveaway outfit in this post we should probably say----The Doll Wardrobe Fall 2010 Doll Giveaway ends on Sunday, December 5th-- that is the last day to enter. And the winner will be announced on December 6th.

Please click here to read more about the giveaway and to enter. Remember, only those 18 years old or older can enter the giveaway, so if you are younger than that please have a parent or guardian enter for you.

And a big thank you goes out to everyone who has entered so far-- 
we hope you like the giveaway outfit!!!

Stay tuned for more photos of our annual Halloween party!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Last Day of Colonial Week!
Sdls275 Cloak

We are finally back! And with the last post of our first Colonial Week at The Doll Wardrobe. (We will have another one soon.) Sorry it takes us so long to do these posts, but it takes some prep work and school gets in the way. Bleh.

Today we show you Angelina in the yellow gown with the second stomacher. She is greeting Mary as she comes home wearing a brown cloak also by Ebay seller sdls275. She is carrying the copper lantern we received with the green I Dream of Jeanne Marie colonial gown. Under the cloak she is wearing Felicity's meet dress.

We have Felicity and Elizabeth's cloaks, but it is always nice to have more. They can be used for so many time periods and many of our dolls. (But not a lot of people make them.) This one is particularly nice because it has the furry trim around the hood and it is made out of a wool blend fabric to keep your doll warm.

So hopefully the lantern reminds you of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.... or at least we were hoping it would remind you of that.... heehee.

In Massachusetts in April of 1775 the word on the street was that the British troops stationed in Boston were going to march to the city of Concord to seize military supplies. A Patriot spy, Joseph Warren,  was sent to find out what route the soldiers would take so that their actions could be prevented. In the bell tower of Boston's tallest church (the Old North Church) he was instructed to hang two lanterns if they choose the water route and one if they came solely by land.

Paul Revere, a famous silversmith, and his comrade, William Dawes, were waiting for the signal on the night of April 18. Two lanterns shined in the church tower, according to the story, and it was then known the British were starting their journey by boat. The two men raced their horses towards Lexington and Concord to warn everyone on the route of the coming army. Along the way they were joined by Samuel Prescott, who rode with them and was the only one of the three to reach Concord.

Luckily, most of the military supplies were already moved out of Concord to protect them from the British, but colonials were also concerned that Samuel Adams and John Hancock, two main leaders of the Patriotic rebellion, might be captured by the troops.

On April 19, the very next day, the Battles of Lexington and Concord were fought between the 700 British troops from Boston and the Patriot militia that had been warned with the help of Warren, Revere, Dawes, and Prescott. These were the first military engagements of the American Revolution, and the first colonial victory.

So why don't we call this "The Midnight Ride of Revere, Dawes, and Prescott"? Well Revere was the only one captured, so he has a bit more of a romantic storyline. (Don't worry, he lived a long life and died in 1818.) Also Henry Wadsworth Longfellow didn't do Dawes and Prescott any favors when he penned the poem "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" in 1861. Here are the opening lines....

"Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year...."

In the slideshow below you will see an image of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, a portrait of Paul Revere by John Singleton Copley, a photo of his home in Boston (which you can visit today), and two photos of the Paul Revere statue in Boston. The first pic shows you the sculpture from the side, and the second includes the bell tower of the Old North Church in the distance.

We also wanted to talk about how in such a fancy gown, Angelina is obviously not dressed as a slave, like she was when she was dressed as Belinda. As we learned, Belinda did gain her freedom towards the end of her life. So there were "free blacks" in the colonies. They worked for actual pay and could even own businesses. But they did not have the same rights as whites. For instance, all blacks had a curfew and had to stay off the streets at night. If they were caught outside they would be arrested, whether or not they were slaves or free. It would be interesting to make a doll that is a free black in the colonial period. We think she would have some pretty fascinating stories.

So will American Girl replace Felicity and Elizabeth's time period with another colonial doll/18th century doll? They certainly did that for Samantha with Rebecca. But we still have yet to see a replacement for Kirsten. :-( But we are keeping our fingers crossed.

Last time we talked about undergarments, so we thought we'd show you the retired set for Felicity in this post (so you know what it looks like). You can find them on Ebay for a ton of money, but some companies make replicas like Williamsburg Rose and The Dollies' Dressmaker.

The original set came with panniers, a pocket, and a corset. The corset was sometimes called stays. While some women carried little purses known as indispensables it was normal to have a pocket hidden under your skirt. Your dress would have slits at your waistline through which you could access the pocket underneath. So that fancy embroidered thing in the pic below is Felicity's pocket. :-)

As our final farewell this Colonial Week, we wanted to show you some catalog covers featuring Felicity. She has been with us since 1991 and it is sad to see her go after almost 20 years of admiring her collection and her stories....

And one last picture of Ben.... I mean Ben and Felicity....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Colonial Week Day Five!
Sdls275 Yellow Dress

Gutentag! Welcome to Day Five of Colonial Week everyone! Thank you all for your very kind comments so far on my efforts this week. They are greatly appreciated! :-)

Angelina returns to the stage today to show off a dress we purchased from Ebay seller sdls275, i.e. Heirloom Doll Designs. This seller occasionally offers things, but is not an Ebay regular at this point. So you have to keep checking the shop every now and then to see if things are for sale.

She makes marvelous colonial dresses with incredible detailing beyond what you'd expect to see in doll clothing. Sdls275 even made a sacque dress once upon a time, like the robe a la francaise we saw yesterday with the pleated backs. Very fancy. We didn't win that auction though. :'-( Oh well-- you can't win them all.

Luckily we did win this auction- a beautiful yellow, brown and pink dress! And we thought it would look extra nice on a dark-skinned doll- hence Angelina is wearing it for us. It came with the long, skirted jacket, the brown underskirt, two stomachers (one of which you see below), and a handcrafted necklace. A hat from a previous sdls275 purchase was added to top off the outfit. Doesn't she look amazing?!?

If you look closely at our pictures you will notice Angelina's sleeves have lace cuff accents. At this point in time these types of lace cuffs would have been removable from the dress so that they could be cleaned easily.

And another interesting point I can bring up with these photos--- yellow was actually the most popular color for wedding dresses in the early 1700s, not white.

During the colonial period it was viewed as improper for women to have their heads uncovered, which is why Felicity has so many caps and hats in her collection. She would have even worn a mob cap under a straw hat. Head coverings were important because women wanted to follow etiquette and stay untanned. Tans and freckles were not fashionable--- being pale was "in" because the aristocrats were pale. They didn't have to work outside; they were inside enjoying a life of luxury. So of course everyone else wanted to look like they had the money to relax inside all day too. ;-)

Here is a picture of an 18th century hat in the MET collection... just like what we see in Felicity's collection... flat, woven, and designed to keep the sun off your face....

So looking at Angelina you may notice that her hips seem to be a bit wider than usual. Heehee. That is because she is wearing a set of panniers from The Dollies' Dressmaker under her skirt. Sometimes they are called false hips or pocket hoops. This piece of clothing fills out the hip region of a woman or girl and supports heavy skirts, lifting them upward and showing off the expensive fabric of the dress. All of the dresses shown this week have had panniers underneath them.

During the 1700s panniers were very popular and throughout the century they became wider and wider. There were even dresses so wide that women had to go through a door sideways. And architecture changed to accommodate these fashions, making large double doorways necessary like you see at Versailles.

So here are some of those very wide style dresses from the MET collection and a portrait of Marie Antoinette in such a dress..... those panniers are very wide!

And here is one of the doorways at Versailles.... also very wide!

What do human panniers look like? Well they look very much like the kind that The Dollies' Dressmaker offers, only larger. Heehee. But there were other styles as well. Sometimes they were covered with cloth like those sold at DD, and sometimes just the wiring was covered. You can see two panniers from the MET collection below....

We said that funny word awhile back in this post... stomacher. Angelina's stomacher is the triangular piece of fabric that attaches to the inside of her jacket and sits in front of her chest. The one you see in the photos above has pink ribbons strung across it (just to help you ID what we are talking about). For human fashion, stomachers were very stiff and designed to keep your bodice very smooth. They also helped posture, as they don't really let you slouch.

A gown could look completely different if you switched out your stomacher. So a woman typically owned more than one. As you can see from the slideshow below, stomachers were highly embellished with embroidery work, lace, rosettes, etc. etc. They could be very expensive.

Underneath the dress and the stomacher a lady would wear a corset. They would be tightly laced (usually in the back) to give women a stylishly small waistline. Corsets were worn all the way up into the beginning of the 1900s. They weren't really designed for comfort; they tended to shift your organs around if pulled too tightly; and they could cause dizziness. So we are very lucky we don't have to wear them today to be fashionable. Although a comfortable, good-fitting corset can help improve your posture. ;-)

Here are a few pics of 18th century corsets, some of them were worn like a tank top, and others were strapless.... many of them are as decorated as a stomacher themselves, so they would have been worn without a stomacher....

Stay tuned for Day Six... our final day of Colonial Week! More handmade clothing, more history right around the corner!

And don't worry--- we will do another Colonial Week soon as we do have more colonial dolly fashions to show off. But for the rest of October (and probably into November) we will be talking about costumes and Halloweenie things before we move on to a new time period. :-)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Colonial Week Day Four!
I Dream of Jeanne Marie Green Dress

Hola! I'm attempting to keep this on target, but I am still slow...
Here is Day Four! Long post ahead!

Today we have Mary wearing a green dress from Ebay seller I Dream of Jeanne Marie. We've tried to win a variety of her auctions, but we usually don't win. :-( So we were lucky with this one. It came with the mob cap you saw on Angelina with her green dress, a lace fichu, and a very nice copper lantern that you will see in a couple of days here during Colonial Week.

Below Mary is wearing the lace cap from Felicity's red Gala Gown and the fichu that came with the dress. We really love the dark green patterned fabric of this dress with the ribbon and tassel accent on the bodice, as well as the lace on the sleeves. We added in a string of red pearls to complete Mary's "look." And you can see that she is posing with Felicity's guitar.

During the colonial period the guitar was one of the few instruments that women were allowed to play. People thought it looked unflattering for a girl or woman to play the violin while craning her neck or to blow into an instrument like a French horn while puckering her lips. So today we are lucky that girls can play whichever musical instrument they want to. Think of that the next time you dread practicing your music. ;-)

For the rest of this post we are talking more about colonial fashion. We begin with a slideshow of paintings of colonial women in interesting dresses. Most of the portraits are by John Singleton Copley, who was known for his skill in painting fabric in a realistic manner. The paintings show us that a variety of very high-end dresses were worn during portrait sessions. Sometimes a dress was owned by the artist and used as a studio costume, and then we see it in more than one painting.

Can you spot the dresses that appear more than once???

So if we think about the very shiny fabrics and elaborate detailing of many of Felicity's and Elizabeth's dresses that Mattel has created recently, they aren't really completely "off." Of course they are not using the silks and satins that would have been used during colonial times, but dresses were sometimes made in very bright colors, were often shiny in a lustrous manner, and were accented with a lot of lace and bows. But a girl or woman would be lucky to own one or two dresses like the kind we see in the portraits. Most of her wardrobe would have been more casual work clothing made from less expensive fabrics.

Of course we have other historical evidence of what women wore in the 1700s besides portraits--- we even have some surviving clothing which we can study. We mined the collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute to find some interesting pics for you.

Fashion in the colonies was a push-pull between English and French trends. But by the end of the 1700s the French had definitely won this fashion war and the wealthiest families in the colonies custom-ordered clothing directly from France. These French style dresses were known as robe a la Francaise, and those from England were known as robe a la Anglaise.

These types of dresses usually featured an underskirt that showed in the front and a long, skirted jacket that wrapped around it. The robe a la Anglaise had a fitted back, like those dresses worn in England. The robe a la Francaise had a looser, pleated back that dropped from the shoulders and was known as a sacque dress back, or sack dress.

Here are some Anglaise dresses...

And here are some Francaise dresses... you can tell which was more popular just by the sheer number that survives for us today... note the photos of the backs of dresses, there you can see the main difference between French and English styles.

As most of you probably already know, Felicity and Elizabeth's dolls were not really made for play. They are fashion dolls that were owned by fabric and dress shops at this point in time. They would be used to display miniature versions of dresses that ladies could order. In our slideshow below you see a real fashion doll that is owned by Colonial Williamsburg's living museum and the two AG fashion dolls.

In our next Colonial Week post (Day Five!) we will talk more about the details of colonial clothing, including the other pieces of attire ladies wore at this time: panniers, stomachers, corsets, etc. to help round out your colonial fashion knowledge. Stay tuned for more colonial fun and more handmade clothing!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Colonial Week Day Three!
Felicity's Tea Lesson Gown

Sorry for the delay guys!! Life in the fast lane of schoolwork is pretty fast... Here is our third post of Colonial Historical Theme Week here at The Doll Wardrobe!

Today we are showing you Mary Royall wearing Felicity's Tea Lesson Gown and some close-up shots of the reoccurring Tea Set. Long, long, loooong post ahead!!

Dear American Girl,
If you are going to make a Tea Lesson Gown for Felicity in 2005 to go with the 2005 Felicity TV movie, you should probably have the dress in your toy line match the one seen in the movie.
      Nora Demington ;-P

Yes, it is true that we were really hoping AG would make the movie dress because it is a real heart-stopper as you can see below.... I mean the dress ladies, the dress. Not Ben. Heehee... though he does look nice too...

Gosh the costume department really out-did themselves with that dress. And as you can see, she is wearing it during Tea Lessons...

But AG didn't give us that dress. :-( We got this one below instead.

Which is okay. But the style of the scarf-neckline, sleeves, and bodice really appears more in the 1780s/90s, like right before and around the French Revolution-- when Marie Antoinette was making this type of fashion popular because she often liked to pretend she was just a simple milkmaid down on the farm... at Versailles.... And it was popularized during the French Revolution because it was the dress style of middle class women.

Obviously the fancy fabric and floral embellishments take Felicity's dress out of the peasant-style realm and attempt to make it look more like the TV movie dress. But they really are not enough alike at all in our humble opinion.

Despite this incongruity between toy dress and TV dress, we purchased it for our Mary with hopes that she would like it. So here are our photos of her in the dress...

So what's so important about tea??? Why does Felicity have a tea set??? Well if you have read the books or seen the movie, you probably already know that learning how to properly serve tea was part of a colonial woman's training. Someone who mastered the tea ceremony was ready to run a household, be hospitable to guests, and be a proper wife.

In the colonies the tradition of drinking tea in the afternoon (with snacks) was adopted from British culture, but the English had adopted it via the Portuguese from Eastern cultures like the Arabs, Chinese, and Japanese who had been growing tea and using it during social gatherings for a very long time. The British Empire, in turn, spread its own interpretation of the tea ceremony to its colonies, including America, India, Africa, and so on.

In the colonial period, less than half of the tea coming to the American colonies was grown in India and sold here by the East India Trading Company, an English company. Two-thirds of the tea was grown elsewhere, smuggled illegally into the colonies, and sold for less than the East Indian tea. Obviously the British wanted to stop the smuggling of tea and concentrate profits into the monopoly of the Trading Company.

This led to the Tea Act of 1773 in which the Company was allowed to sell tea directly to the colonies in America without first paying taxes in England. The taxes would then be paid in the colonies, and that cost would be passed on to the colonials. They believed this new Act validated the tea tax put in place in 1767, which they did not like. Not at all.

The hated Townshend Acts of 1767 taxed a variety of products coming into the colonies, including tea. The colonists were furious that they were being forced to pay taxes that they had never voted into existence. "No Taxation without Representation" is their cry that you probably remember from history class. No one in Parliament represented the colonists' interests. These acts infuriated Bostonians (as well as other colonists), tensions rose, and when British troops were called in to enforce the new taxes... riots broke out. The infamous Boston Massacre occurred in 1770, eleven days after Christopher Seider was killed by a customs officer protecting his wife from rioters. Customs officers were the royal employees who collected the taxes on imported goods. Not a fun job at this point in time.

Christopher was only eleven years old when he was killed by the birdshot the customs officer fired through the window of his home into the angry crowd. He is often noted as the first victim of the American Revolution. His death and funeral incited the Bostonians and laid the foundation for the March 1770 riot that led to the deaths of five civilians at the hands of British troops: the Boston Massacre. This early sign of rebellion, 300-400 Bostonians rioting, would culminate in all-out war in 1775.

In 1773, the Tea Act and the taxes that came with it were ignored. Tea was not let into the colonies. Many colonials refused to accept the shipments at the harbors (it sat there rotting), or it was sent back to England once it arrived. In Boston the tea sat on ships and no one showed up to unload it. Officials refused to send it back to England, as the Bostonians wanted them to do. Tensions arose once again, and the Bostonians executed a plan to destroy all three shiploads of tea. On December 16, 1773 a group of colonists boarded the ships and threw all the tea overboard into the harbor. This Boston Tea Party smacked as open rebellion in the face of Parliament and they responded by closing Boston's commerce until they repaid the Trading Company for the tea.

And we all know how that turned out.... An interesting fact for us is that at the Royall House in Medford, Massachusetts (home of Mary and Elizabeth) on display currently is supposedly one of the original Boston Tea Party tea boxes, rescued from the harbor back in 1773. Here is a closer photo of the Royall House... couldn't find a pic of the tea box.... :-( But it is a really awesome house... so here...

Also on display is a chocolate cup retrieved during archaeological excavations at Ten Hills Farm, seen at the top right in the pic below....

Hot chocolate was a very popular and expensive drink during the colonial period, and you might remember that once upon a time Felicity had her own chocolate set, see zee pic below. It was retired in 2005, and why they did that in the year of the Felicity movie I shall never understand. If anyone knows- please enlighten us. You can find it on Ebay today (if you have extra $$$ laying around). :-)

My gosh you made it to the bottom of the post! Congratulations- please stay tuned for Day Four of Colonial Week! The fun continues!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Colonial Week Day Two:
All*My*Friends*Are*Dolls Green Dress

Gutentag! Here we are at Day Two of Colonial Week! 

Yesterday we started to learn more about the Royall family. One of the important aspects of their history is their dependency on slaves for their wealth. Isaac Sr. began his business ventures on Antigua as a slave trader- selling over 121 slaves in one year alone. He took his earnings and invested them in a sugar plantation, sugar refinery, and rum distillery.

In the American colonies we often think of slavery as only existing in the South. However, the slave trade was an important business for the North and slaves were owned throughout the region. In fact Massachusetts was the first colony (of the original 13) to legalize human bondage in 1641, and it didn't abolish slavery until 1783. For over 100 years New England played a key role in the "Triangle Trade," building slave ships, distilling rum, and exporting a variety of goods that were traded for slaves.

Africans were loaded onto slave ships by the hundreds but during their journey across the Atlantic usually fifty percent or more of them died. Being shackled and stuffed into the ship like sardines for the voyage was cruel torture. But the traders only saw these slaves as property to be bought, sold or discarded like livestock. Below you can see a diagram of how ships were filled with their human cargo; each of those black figures is one person.

In the North there were no cash crop plantations like in the South where tobacco, cotton and rice were grown. So while Southern farms might own hundreds and hundreds of slaves to tend the crops, in the North households would usually only own a few slaves. As we talked about yesterday, Isaac Royall's ownership of 27 slaves in Massachusetts was not the norm for families there.

If you go to Medford, Massachusetts today you can visit the Royall House where the Royall family lived until the Revolutionary War. It was the main building on that 600 acre estate we talked about which was called Ten Hills Farm, or Royallville. Next door, as you can see in the photo below, is the wood and brick building which once functioned as the kitchen and main slave quarters for the estate.

During its history about 60 slaves are recorded as living at Ten Hills Farm. They produced rum, wool, cider, and hay, and tended livestock. Some worked as field hands, while others had higher status as boatmen, domestic servants, cooks, and “body slaves” (valets and ladies’ maids). In the North it was much easier for slaves to learn trades than in the South.

Today we are going to talk about one Royall slave in particular: Belinda. She was captured by slave traders near the Volta River in what we call today Ghana in Western Africa when she was twelve years old. Belinda served the Royall family for over fifty years well into old age. In 1783 she petitioned for her freedom from the Royall household and essentially sued for support-- sort of like a pension. This legal document has allowed us to learn a lot about her-- much more information than we know about most slaves at this time.

In our pictures today Angelina Sheldon has dressed up as Belinda and is wearing a green and ivory dress purchased from Ebay seller All*My*Friends*Are*Dolls- an adult collector who is downsizing her collection. It is a beautiful dress made from a uniquely patterned fabric. We added in the neck-scarf (fichu) and mob cap for our photoshoot. And again, our doll is posed by Felicity's table, chair and tea set.

In 1775, three days before the Battle of Lexington, Isaac Jr. (Mary and Elizabeth's father) left Massachusetts and fled to Nova Scotia. While he reportedly had Patriot sympathies, most of his business ties and friends were Loyalists. So staying in the colonies was going to be a problem. His property was eventually seized by the Patriots and Ten Hills Farm served as an army headquarters for them, and it even housed George Washington at one point.

Once known as one of grandest households in North America with the best parties, best wines, and best hospitality, the estate of the Royall family was no more. Most of their slaves were left behind in the colony to survive on their own. Belinda moved to Boston to join the growing community of free blacks that was located there.

Isaac Jr. died of smallpox in England in 1781, and in his will it was stated that Belinda could choose to be inherited by his daughter (Mary) or become a free woman. It was at this point that the petition came into play. She officially gained her freedom and a yearly salary of 15 pounds for herself and her daughter. This was essentially one of the first times in history that a slave is compensated for his/her service. Sort of like a reparation-- which was granted by the General Court of Massachusetts. Four years later the amount went unpaid and she took legal action to get her payment. That is the last time we hear about her in historical documents. The date and circumstances of her death are unknown.

Stay tuned for Day Three of Colonial Week when Mary will help us to learn more about the Royalls, colonial fashion, and why tea was so important!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Colonial Week Begins!
Terristouch Burgundy Dress

Zzzzzzz.... sorry we are slow..... zzzzzzz.... we are asleep at the wheel of this blog and too busy with other mundane stuff. Blah. Blah to homework. Blah I say! Okay, I'll stop complaining now.... warning: long post ahead.....

Colonial Historical Theme Week Begins Today! Tada!!!!!

Yes, today we begin to talk about the colonial period and, of course, how that relates to our dolls. Obviously, the so-called "Colonial Period" has a lot of different dates throughout the country as there were several countries that owned colonies throughout North America: Spain, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Russia, etc. etc.

But Felicity Merriman (our main AG protagonist during this time period) lived in Williamsburg, Virginia, which was an English colony. The Eastern seaboard was (in general) colonized by the English from the early 1600s until 1776 when the 13 colonies declared their independence from the British crown.

So from the early 1600s to 1776 life in America changed quite a bit. We go from the strict lifestyle of the pilgrims to the more comfortable lifestyle the Merriman family enjoyed. Felicity and Elizabeth's stories date around 1774, right on the cusp of The Revolutionary War. Our colonial doll, Mary Royall, had her portrait painted with her sister Elizabeth by John Singleton Copley around 1758--- long before the notorious Townshend Acts of 1767 and the Tea Act of 1773. These were two Parliamentary actions designed to create more money for England by draining the colonies of moola.

At the time Mary's portrait was painted, she was what we would call a "tween." But she wasn't too young to be betrothed or promised in marriage to her future husband. Hence, the painting below (which I have showed here before, so sorry if you've seen it already) served as an example of how well-bred the young ladies were and how they were very suitable for marriage. By the time of Felicity's stories in 1774, Mary and Elizabeth would have been married and probably would have had several children already. In the colonial period young girls had to grow up very fast in comparison to our culture.

For today's pictures we wanted to show you the MyAG #41 that is in our Fall 2010 Doll Giveaway. She is pretending to be Elizabeth Royall, Mary's sister. Some day we will buy another #41 to be our Elizabeth. But we will probably wait to do that in an AG store. So in the photos below you see her in a burgundy calico dress handmade by Etsy seller Terristouch. It is a really lovely frock that is actually made from a fabric very much like one Penny's mother used for doll clothing and dollhouse furniture a long time ago.

#41 is standing by Felicity's table and chair with her Tea Set we purchased from AG. Even though it is pink (my gosh!) it does look very nice set out on the table. It comes with a teapot, creamer, sugar-pot, two cups, two saucers, two spoons, a "silver" tray, and a tea box. It is pretty posh. We would have preferred that AG make a full set like this of the original blue tea cup pattern for Felicity (which is also illustrated in her books)... but alas, AG does like to use pink....

Mary and Elizabeth Royall were the daughters of Isaac Royall, Jr. of Medford, Massachusetts. He was one of the wealthiest merchants in that colony and hence everything about the above portrait is designed to convey the wealth and status of the Royall family. Isaac Sr. had made the family's wealth from sugar cane plantations in Antigua and his extensive participation in the so-called "Triangle Trade"-- slaves, rum, and sugar being moved around the Atlantic. Though Isaac Sr. had several children with his wife, Elizabeth Brown, only two of them lived into adulthood: Isaac Jr. and Penelope.

In 1732 Isaac Sr. decided to pull up roots from Antigua and move his family to Massachusetts. Yellow fever outbreaks, drought, and slave uprisings had made life on the island too harsh for him. He planned on retiring to the colonies on a 600 acre estate in Medford. In 1737 the Royalls and 27 of their slaves arrived in Boston. Though there were already slaves in Massachusetts, most families did not own 27. Their subsequent arrival in Medford doubled the number of slaves in that town.

Below is a portrait by Robert Feke of Isaac Jr. with his mother, sister, wife and child in Boston in 1741, two years after his father had passed away. Isaac Jr. had married Elizabeth McIntosh in 1738. They had three daughters, one of whom died at seven years old. The other two were of course Mary and Elizabeth.

While Mary's history is a little vague, we do know that Elizabeth married the younger Sir William Pepperrell, had several children, and died quite young in Boston in 1776. Below you can see her in another painting by John Singleton Copley with her husband and children, painted in 1778. Obviously at this point William is a widower and this image is a sentimental look at what life could have been like if Elizabeth were still alive.

In our next colonial post we will talk further about the Royall family, their lifestyle, their history during the Revolutionary War, and more! We'll also be showing you more colonial handmade doll clothing of course. Stay tuned for more interesting stuff!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

American Girl TV Commercial

Not really sure how we feel about a TV commercial... but Mattel does own AG, so we can't be too surprised...

Sew-Busy-Boutique Christmas Snowflake Doll Set
and All Dolled Up Ensemble

Sorry we are slow! We were trying a new photography set up and it took us forever to figure out what we were doing. And we still haven't really figured it out yet....

So today is our last post of "Holiday Outfits Week" which really lasted more than a week.... And coming up will be our first "Colonial Historical Theme Week".... which will probably last for longer than a week too....

Today Felicity and Angelina are showing off our new Pottery Barn Kids doll kitchen set. We saw the oven in the photos of Etsy seller TheDollyStand and decided to hunt it down for ourselves. We found the oven, sink set, and washing machine on Ebay. Today you see the oven (on the left) and the sink (on the right). Under the sink is a dishwasher and a refrigerator. When you put batteries into them all three items make sounds like the oven timer going off or the water in the sink running, and the oven lights up inside and on the top. We added some gingerbread cookies and brownies to our scene from the Pippaloo Etsy shop to give the kitchen some fun details.

Felicity is wearing an outfit we found in the Ebay shop Sew-Busy-Boutique. It is pretty awesome. It came with the puffy newsboy cap, long-sleeve shirt, short skirt, and green boots. And as you can tell, it is certainly holiday-themed with its candy-cane stripes, red corduroy with silver snowflakes, and rhinestone snowflake detail. Felicity looks like she has come straight out of Whoville at Christmastime! This was certainly a lucky find and we got it for an excellent price.

While not holiday-themed, Angelina's outfit has yet to be shown on the blog so we thought we'd bring it up today so we can have two dolls in the kitchen. This ensemble was purchased from All Dolled Up Doll Clothing. We got the lacy, elasticized leggings, and the tunic-length ruffle shirt which ties in the back in amongst a larger order we placed before the beginning of the summer. We think it looks great on Angelina. Oh and p.s. her shoes are Josefina's.

FYI- When buying these types of items from Terrie at All Dolled Up you can custom-order them in a variety of colors-- not just what you see here on Angelina.

Hope you enjoyed our photos today! Be sure to stayed tuned for our "Colonial Historical Theme Week".... right around the corner....

Saturday, October 9, 2010

MyAG Snow Flurry Outfit and the
2009 Holiday PWP Sweater Set

Well Friday flew by and we didn't manage to get this post finished. And then most of Saturday was spent running errands.... so the post had to wait. But here we are finally!

Today we show you the MyAG Snow Flurry outfit which was just released at the beginning of September and the 2009 Purchase with Purchase Red Holiday Sweater Set. The Snow Flurry outfit is being modeled by Sun Ji and the sweater set appears on Lira Sartorius. Yesterday they went for a walk in the woods and met a friendly grizzly bear who agreed to pose for pictures with them. Holidays are always more fun with a nice teddy bear by your side. ;)

The Snow Flurry outfit is expensive-- more than 1/3  the cost of a whole doll!!! But it does come with a lot of pieces. You get the hat, coat, leggings, mittens and boots with this set. The coat is super-super soft. We wish AG made dolly bathrobes out of this material. That would be awesome. And bathrobes that come below the knee would be good too AG...

But bathrobes aside, we do recommend Snow Flurry if your dolls need some cold weather gear. The Frosty Fun jacket set really is more for autumn weather, despite having the word "Frosty" in the title. We didn't buy the pink and white Snowy Chic outfit because of the pinkness but people really seemed to like it. So if you missed that outfit and you like blue... Snow Flurry is the outfit for you. :)

Lira is loving the red sweater set-- particularly the sparkly embroidered snowflakes. This set comes with the sweater (obviously, heehee), the headband/ear warmer, and the mittens. It is pretty awesome. But it is a very deep red so don't leave it on your dolls for too long. Such saturated colors exist because of saturated fabric dyes which can bleed off onto the vinyl of your doll. So its a good idea to avoid leaving your doll in any clothing for too long.

Lira's ensemble is completed with the red sparkly holiday shoes from the 2009 AG shoe set, and a pair of our special custom order Liberty Jane dolly jeans made from one of the grey jeans we showed you earlier on the blog. This is pair #1 from the "Felicity and Grey Jeans" post.

We have received the whole outfit for the Fall Giveaway and we will be showing it to you soon on zee blog!

Enjoy our winter duds/holiday gear pictures and stay tuned tomorrow for one more holiday post this week-- a super-special handmade holiday outfit!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

MyAG Ruby & Ribbon Outfit and
2010 Holiday Accessories

Me again! Today we continue our holiday posts with our introduction to the MyAG 2010 Holiday Ruby & Ribbon dress and this year's Holiday Accessories. The outfit is being modeled by Noelle Bonacorsi, our MyAG #48 (sorry for showing her again Claire.... wink).

The main piece of attire for Ruby Ribbons is the turtleneck, short-sleeve, red sweater dress with a silver ribbon accent. It is a very pretty dress. Once we saw the AG pic without the silver sweater over it we knew we wanted it. The outfit comes with the silver cropped cardigan you see on Sun Ji in our pictures, as well as the fancy hairband, shiny red shoes, and sparkly fishnet tights.

The 2010 Holiday Accessories set includes a miniaturized Jan Brett fully-illustrated "The Night Before Christmas" book, a giftbox with three sets of earrings (including two pairs of stick-ons for dolls without pierced ears), the furry white clutch purse, and the three-strand pearl bracelet which was a bit difficult to get on Noelle. The crown sitting on the chair is the hair accessory for the Snowflake Ball Gown Sun Ji is wearing. And FYI, the hoop earrings Noelle is wearing come from the accessories giftbox.

Overall, both the Snowflake Ball Gown and Ruby & Ribbon Dress are pretty awesome and it would be difficult to choose just one to get this year. Especially when the accessories set could really be used for either dress. But if you can only get one... the simplest way to pick would be to decide whether you prefer blue or red on your dolls.... :)

Please enjoy our red, white, and blue holiday photos below and stay tuned for tomorrow's post when we will show you two more wintry ensembles never-before-seen.... on this blog.... heehee. One was purchased from AG in 2010, the other in 2009.... can you guess what they are????

MyAG Snowflake Gown and Rebecca's Sideboard

Hello again! We are slow getting this up on zee blog. Today we came home to copious amounts of recently delivered boxes and we spent too much time playing with the new toys.

This is just some of what we pulled out of them....

In amongst those boxes was Sun Ji (pronounced Sun Gee), our new MyAG #4 and Rebecca's sideboard. So we thought we'd feature both of those things in our holiday outfit post today. Hence, we put the very, very cute Sun Ji into the blue Snowflake Gown as you can see below...

Of course you can also see me in my angel costume, as well as Rebecca's sideboard and a few other interesting items. First off, the sideboard is really more the scale of a side console table or something. Not really full adult scale here for a sideboard. But we have wanted it since last year. And it was on sale. And we got 10% off our whole AG order with "the code."

Sitting on the console table... I mean sideboard... is a custom-order hat from Etsy seller Uber Kio which we will be showing you on a doll soon. And you also see Rebecca's nesting doll set which we also showed you last year.

The sideboard has a mirror on the back area which comes with a filmy plastic cover over it--- the mirror is not really that cloudy. We just left the film on so the camera flash didn't bounce back so much. The drawers and doors all work and there is plenty of space in there for dishes or Rebecca's samovar set, etc. etc. Definitely a cool piece of furniture that makes you wish you had an 18" scaled doll house to put it in.

Onto the Snowflake Gown, a 2010 MyAG Holiday outfit. It is blue with silver accents, and can be used for a variety of holidays, events, dances, parties, etc. Nothing about this actually says "winter-only." It comes with silver elbow-length gloves, blue sparkly shoes (which we really love), and a crown on a comb which we could not put in the doll's hair properly to save our lives. It just stuck up into the air. It works better on humans as a mini-tiara... If anyone has a picture of their doll wearing the tiara properly... please let us know where to see your pic.

Despite the crown issues, we highly recommend the 2010 Snowflake Gown-- lovely fabrics, nice design, versatile dress, and it sure does look great on our Sun Ji. We tried it on Lira, Felicity, and Rebecca-- but it looks best with dark-haired our humble opinion.

Enjoy some more shots of the dress, its details, and the beautiful Sun Ji...

And just so you know... we didn't purposely name our new #4 after a Chinese footballer.... we just liked the sound of Sun Ji. And even though the internet says Ji is only a boy's Chinese name (like Tommy or Jim).... our human friend Ji is a girl and is called Ji..... because that is, well, her name. So we are going to bend the rules and call our doll a boy's name-- Sun Ji. Sun being her last name and Ji being her first name because Chinese names are in the reverse order (in comparison to the USA at least...)

Stay tuned for more holiday outfit fun coming up tomorrow and the days after that... I think they are called Friday and Saturday. We have a full week of holiday outfits for you... even though it is still three months until Christmas... We are an odd bunch here in Badger's Wood. ;)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

MyAG Angel Costume

Hola! Bienvenido a la noche del martes en The Doll Wardrobe blog! 
(Yes, that is the best Spanish we can muster over here...wink)

We have received a lot of goodies this week.... A LOT. Including our items from the Pippaloo Etsy shop and the outfit for the Fall 2010 Doll Giveaway from Liberty Jane Clothing. And its only Tuesday! We have so much to show you all it is beyond overwhelming. But because we were discussing the evolution of the modern AG Holiday Outfit last week, we thought it would be best to show you our recently purchased MyAG holiday outfits that we have yet to post about.

Next week we will begin our "Colonial Historical Week" by popular demand of our poll. Felicity and Elizabeth should be happy to know that despite their imminent archival people still love the time period and their clothing. So that is next week. I hope you are all looking forward to it! In the future we will see other historical theme weeks appearing in the order of their popularity ranking in the poll.

And also this month we will be doing several costume and Halloweenie posts, probably the week after next. Plus there will be a week coming up soon where we will show you some of the dolly food items we have purchased recently: Food Week 2010!

But to get around to the heart of this post, I am pictured below in the MyAG angel costume which is into its second year at AG. So its days are numbered. Somewhere at the beginning of 2011 we expect it to be leaving us. Of course that is just a guess, so don't tar and feather us if it is still around at this time next year. ;)

I am looking absolutely radiant in this angel costume if I don't say so myself. One of the nice things about it is that it works for both Halloween and holiday dress-up, or even a dance or choir recital. Definitely versatile. We like the sparkly, shimmery qualities to the outfit, the sheer ethereal sleeves, and that it comes with booties and a headband. What we don't like is that it looks like Mom made us this angel costume out of her kitchen hand towel. There is no denying the fact that the dress is made out of sparkly sheared terry cloth, which, though it does have a place in work-out gear, isn't really at-home in a heavenly angel costume.

Whose idea was it to make an angel costume out of sheared terry cloth???
Ah, AG. You are an interesting company.

We accept the dress as it is because well, it is a cool angel costume-- something that The Doll Wardrobe was lacking. And goodness knows I love costumes and anything with wings. ;)

Enjoy zee pictures below and stay tuned for our next post when I am joined by another doll in a MyAG holiday outfit.... Which one will it be and who will be wearing it??? You'll just have to come on back to find out. :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

BIG NEWS: Numberonekitty's Etsy Shop!

Sorry for shouting BIG NEWS but I wanted to make sure you were paying attention. Heehee.

Some of you may remember our several posts featuring AG Fans Message Board Numberonekitty's handmade clothing and food items. If not, click on the search label for her name: Numberonekitty and you will see when we have talked about her stuff on zee blog before.

Today we discovered that she has opened an Etsy shop!!! Amazing! 
Boy, were we surprised! And happy!

We purchased some food and a dress today and we are super-excited to get them in zee mail. There are still many cool things available in the shop right now... so check it out today!

Here are some pictures to support my shameless plug..... her things are made of awesome!

Stuff still for sale as of me writing this post....

Stuff that has already sold......

All pics were taken by Numberonekitty... not us.... hope its okay that we show them here. If not, we shall dutifully take them down. :)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...