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Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Horse riding dolls

I'm not so impressed with the Gotz horse as I am with the dolls. It just isn't to scale compared to the size of the 19.5 inch doll, it is more like a little pony than a horse. I bought it at Christmas for my elder daughter's doll, along with the riding outfit - which is only one outfit, not two when you buy the doll in the riding outfit with her dressage outfit as an extra. The other disappointment was that the riding hat that came with the single riding outfit is not a firm hat, it is rather floppy and small so perches on the doll's head rather than sitting 'protectively' over it as a proper riding hat would.

The horse itself is nice and furry - it is basically a soft toy horse with a wire armature to make it stand up successfully, though it does tend to fall over if the legs aren't spaced apart sufficiently. It comes with a bridle and saddle with a rolled up blanket and is very well made. But the saddle tends to ride back along the body towards the hind legs (I did say it has pony dimensions - its fat little tummy can't help but push the saddle back). My elder daughter loves her soft teddies and a 'Build a Bear' husky dog, but she didn't appear overwhelmed by the horse and still isn't. She recently pointed out the scale problem and commented that she wished the horse was more realistic. I couldn't help but feel the same.

Initially my 5 year old ignored the horse because it belonged to her big sister, but this week while big sis is away, she is playing with all the dolls (with permission), and even played with the horse. I had recently managed to acquire (ebay again) the dressage outfit including the hard hat, and Peter is very smart in it at the moment. He tried riding the horse yesterday evening with my daughter's help and was able to fit his feet in the stirrups but did look rather large for the horse. She then tried riding the horse herself, which was rather hilarious.

So maybe Gotz pitched the horse at the much younger child, whilst American Girl have catered for the older child with their rather splendid looking horses. I would like to get one of these for my elder daughter's doll, but at $75 plus shipping from AG, I'm loath to even consider it (their international shipping rates are not good). There are some used ones on ebay, but again the shipping cost is a big consideration, so I guess this will just have to remain a wish rather than a reality, and we'll make do with the Gotz horse instead.

Peter all dressed up to go riding, and feeding the horse, which has remained nameless

Saturday, 25 July 2009

New skating dress

I've been sewing again - this time for my cousin's daughter's dolls. I don't know which one of them will get to wear this outfit, but here it is being modelled by Samantha before we wrap it up tomorrow as part of a birthday gift of dolls clothes for Mia or Sarah (including skates for both of them).

I didn't glue the sequins and beads, I sewed them on individually instead. The reason for this was that the outfit will be for a child to play with, and gluing would have potentially resulted in some coming off, sewing them on firmly seemed the better solution. Also, I didn't have the glue!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

My earliest dollshouse

My first dollshouse was actually shared with my sister, but somehow it was me who played with it more. It had in fact belonged to my mother when she was a little girl, and my grandfather took it to pieces and brought it overseas to us when I was about 4 years old. I can clearly remember watching him re-assemble it on the workbench in the garage, which had a convenient window overlooking the back garden, so I could tiptoe and peek in to see what my grandfather was doing. My grandparents had brought over some of the original furniture, and some new items for us, some of which inevitably got broken by small girls. My grandfather even took the trouble to run three lightbulbs on wires through the wood floors/ceilings to provide lights in the three rooms of this Triang house, the battery pack was hidden under the base of the house.

The house took a lot of knocks from two little girls and our friends, and after about 10 years of hard play, was sadly a bit worse for wear, even though very loved. So as a teenager, I did my best to restore it, which included giving it a new plywood roof, repapering and repainting. I didn't do a great job, but it was the best my existing skills could manage - I learned a lot in the process, and went on to build three simple dollshouses out of MDF which I sold, restored one that my cousin had played with, and built a smaller house as well which I also later sold.

Some years later when I had moved to the UK, I had the Triang house shipped back - so it travelled 12,000 miles altogether. It is now in my elder daughter's bedroom but is only occasionally played with now, as she has a larger house of her own. Maybe my little one will play with it soon.

The Triang house after I had repainted it. I wouldn't use gloss paint now, paint a horrible black line around the (original) flowers, nor would I use that large patterned wallpaper, but with supplies where the house was at the time very limited, I did the best I could with what was available. I made the little patchwork quilts for the beds - they really are separate squares sewn together.

I have not done anything else to the house since then - Triang houses in original condition are not worth millions, and this house shows its history of being loved and played with, which was the intention for Triang dolls houses.

This is the shell of one of the 3 houses I built to sell, when an older teenager. My dad's factory cut the main pieces to size from a larger sheet I bought, then I chizelled out all the windows and doors, because I didn't have a jigsaw. I did some woodworking classes after I made the dolls houses! I had fiddled around with bits of wood and tools in the garage for years, so had some basic skills.

Here is one of the houses, all painted up (I think this was the first one I made)

This is inside that house.

This is one of the other houses all painted up.

Inside that house

Bought outfits for the Gotz family

Samantha wearing the Dirndl dress that matches Gotz Bavarian Peter's outfit
I bought this dress from KR Dolls & Bears,
the 2009 Dirndl dress is a different material pattern

Harriet wearing the Gotz travelling set
(without the home made fleece dressing gown)

My elder daughter had been dropping hints about me making some tartan pyjamas to match her own, and was overwhelmed to get this set along with the dressing gown (very cuddly) as part of the Easter egg hunt prize

Samantha wearing doggy pyjamas by Nellie Rose Doll fashions (ebay) and
getting ready to climb into her bunk bed (Pintoy)

Samantha wearing a dress by Nellie Rose Doll fashions (ebay purchase),
and sporting the Gotz basket

This dress is one of my younger daughter's favourites for her doll

Monday, 20 July 2009


Here are some results of the sewing for the dolls this year:

Samantha in her new hooded dressing gown and slippers
(Pyjamas bought from Nellie Rose on ebay)

Samantha in green, with her sunglasses

Harriet in her new hooded dressing gown I made,
and the tartan pyjamas we bought

My elder daughter keeps reminding me that Peter needs an ice skating outfit, so the sewing machine will be pressed into service again soon.

Gotz girls (and boy)

It is a while since I have been able to spare the time to post anything (busy 6 weeks) but now at last I'm stealing a little time from other activities to put in a little more about the growing Gotz collection in our home. Because yes, it is growing.

The girls clubbed together soon after Christmas to buy a limited edition Gotz Ice Skating Sarah doll - in her lovely pink lacy dress and white skates, with tiara - we found her on ebay. The girls named her Jayne, in honour of Jayne Torvill, who was on TV at the time in the Dancing on Ice series. Here she is with the other dolls, all of them dressed in their skating outfits that I made.

Before Christmas I had bought a Gotz Bavarian Peter doll via ebay and kept him hidden for months from the girls. I wanted to see how their Christmas dolls would be received before bringing him out. He actually became the model for some of the clothes I made for their dolls before Christmas, as I couldn't resist unpacking him from his box. Finally, at Easter time, I devised an Easter Egg hunt around our garden - the girls had to find pretty cardboard eggs that contained clues - a pictorial puzzle of Jesus on the cross, and put it together. The written clues included some underlined words which spelled out Peter's name and his clothes as well as the words share. Because he was a shared prize, and they had to collaborate in the hunt to earn him. Funnily enough my elder daughter was more delighted with a boy doll than my younger girl, who prefers the new ice skating girl.

I had made Peter a denim jacket the previous evening - it took 4 hours as it was quite complex. Here is a photo of him sporting his new jacket, jeans and boots.