Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lissie & Lilly: Episode 11 - A Most Wondrous and Terrible Bird

Lissie & Lilly: A Most Wondrous and Terrible Bird (Photostory)

I am long overdue for a photostory, but school has been insanely busy. The second semester of medical school is picking up pace, with a new body system every other week so I have much fewer free weekends. All excuses aside, please enjoy the story!

Lissie: Come on everyone! Hurry up!
Lilly: Oh it’ll be so nice to go out finally.
Sam: Absolutely! It seemed as if the rain would never stop.

Lissie: Alright troops! Head out!
Cecile: Wait! Ou est Marie-Grace? I don’t see her!

MG: I am here! Don’t leave me behind! I was only trying to better hear that beautiful sound.
Sam: What sound Marie-Grace? I don’t hear anything.
MG: Come closer to the open window. You can hear this beautiful melody, filled with such feeling!

Lissie: Very well men, change of plans! Bring forth… the Pedestal of Glory!
Cecile: Did you name everything Lissie?
Sam: Of course she did, or else this world would be too dull for her to bear. You can do it Sawako Lilly!
Lilly: Yes, hoomph! But this Pedestal of Glory is awfully high, oomph!
Lissie: No excuses soldier! Hiyah!

MG: Shhhhhh! Can you hear it now?
Lilly: I can hear it and see it now.
Cecile: But what is it? It is too far away for me to see clearly.
Sam: Oh but you’re right Marie-Grace. I have never heard anything so lovely before! It makes me glad and fills me with this sorrowful ache all at once.

MG: What do you think it is?
Cecile: It could be another person.
Lilly: Yes, but how did they get over the fence into our yard?
Sam: A cat then?
Lissie: Listen listen! Do you all remember when our Big Person said that there were talented birds around the world who can sing and who can imitate speech?

Lilly: Do you mean a nightingale? Or a parrot?
Sam: But I think it is too big to be a bird Lissie.
Lissie: That’s because it’s a SUPER bird. Think about it. Have you ever heard a bird sing so nicely? If this one makes the ultimate music then it has to be the ultimate bird! The granddaddy of all birds!!!

Cecile: Lissie, I don’t know if it actually makes sense, or if it only sounds like it makes sense because you are the one saying it.
Lissie: There’s only one thing to do. We have to catch it! Cecile, Lilly, grab the Cage of Destiny!

Lilly: Oomph! Lissie, just what do you plan to do with it once you catch it?
Sam, Lilly, MG, Cecile: LISSIE!!!
Lissie: I’m kidding! Of course I wouldn't eat the granddaddy of all birds! We can give it to our Big Person to help relax her when she’s tired from studying.
Cecile: That idea is tres bon Lissie, but please help us with your Cage of Destiny. It is very heavy.

Lissie: Be prepared my faithful soldiers! Today is the day where we defy the standards! Today is the day we unveil the secret of the universe! Today is the day… we catch a bird!
MG: If you keep yelling so passionately Lissie, you will scare your granddaddy of all birds away.
Sam: Marie-Grace is right, it would be a shame if you frightened such a wondrous creature.
Lissie: Auch! Tis a mutiny! Fine then, 1 – 2 – 3! Push!!!

Lilly: Did you catch it? Is it in the cage?
Cecile: The music stopped. Did it fly away?
Sam: No! Look, it is still in the basket!
Lilly: Good aim Lissie! What will you do now?
Lissie: Brace yourselves comrades… The time has come… to meet the bird.
MG: Will – Will it be dangerous?
Lissie: Oh yes, terribly. It’ll probably rip out our spleens and devour our essence.
Sam: It wouldn't really would it?
Lissie: Absolutely! That’s what all terrible and wondrous creatures are supposed to do, and don’t forget this is the granddaddy of them all! I’ll have to go down and apprehend it.
Lilly: Surely you can’t go alone Lissie! You need your essence!
Lissie: It’s a risk I’m willing to take. Cecile, will you pull out your courage from your liver and go with me?
Cecile: Aye General Washington!
Lissie: Sam, Lilly, Marie-Grace, the three of you stay here and watch us. If we've not returned by sundown, summon our Big Person. Mourn us, weep, and place chocolates at our graves!
Lilly: Lissie, Cecile, please please please be careful. We don’t have any chocolates for graves.

Cecile: There it is! Are you ready Lissie?
Lissie: I’m always ready!
Cecile: It has been an honor serving in your army.
Lissie: It has been an honor leading you, brave warrior! Now… CHARGE!!!

Lissie: Slowly now…
?: Help! Please help!
Cecile: I think the bird is speaking Lissie!
Lissie: It must be a parrot then, not a nightingale. Softly Cecile!
?: Bird? What do you mean? Oh do help me and get me out!
Cecile: Actually, I do not think it is a bird at all Lissie.
Lissie: Are you sure? Such a clever bird as the granddaddy of all birds must be able to imitate voices.
?: I’m really not a bird at all! Please help me!

Lissie: Hmmmm, very suspicious. I suppose there’s no way to know until we lift the Cage of Destiny and see if it rips out our spleens and drains our essences. Ready Cecile?
Cecile: Ready General!
Lissie: Lift!

?: Oh thank you! I don’t know who you are but thank you very much!
Cecile: Je m’appelle Cecile, and this is Lissie next to me. Excuze moi, mais who are you?
?: My name is Lydia Charlotte. I was walking around and decided to take a rest in this grassy field.
Lissie: But how did you get in if you’re not the granddaddy of all birds?
Lydia: Granddaddy? Why I’m hardly older than either of you! The gate was open so I thought it was safe to come in. I was just playing my cello, enjoying the beautiful day when out of nowhere this giant basket flew over me!

Cecile: Pardon Lydia! We mean no harm. You see, we heard the music from our window and we did not know it was you making it.
Lissie: Yes, we thought it was the granddaddy of all birds, most wondrous and most terrible, and that’s why we were trying to capture it.
Lydia: My word! You must be awfully brave to do that, if you thought I was so wondrous and terrible as all that! Weren't you frightened?
Lissie: General Washington and his men know no fear!
Cecile: Please come meet the rest of us and show us your cello! We have never heard anything like it before!
Lydia: I shall gladly come only if you promise to refrain from throwing more baskets over me.
Lissie: I promise! And General Washington tells no lies! Now come on Lydia!

Lydia: Goodness gracious! Your home certainly is grand!
Lissie: Oh this is our Big Person’s home! And it’s not so much a home as a Dungeon of Despair.
Lydia: Dungeon? Surely not such a lovely place.
Cecile: Our Big Person said she must stay here and study until her guts explode, then implode, then vanish into nothingness.
Lissie: She’s infiltrated this evil organization called Medical School, but it’s slowly sucking her organs out one by one. We’re trying to help her stay strong until she can complete her mission but it’s hard.
Cecile: Here we are, this is our room that we share with her.

Lilly: Lissie! Cecile! I’m so glad you made it safely back!
Sam: We were watching you but we could not see what was happening.
Lissie: Gather around my merry band! Let me introduce you to the granddaddy of all birds!
Cecile: This is Lydia Charlotte. She was the one making the music we heard on her cello.
MG: A cello? Qu’est que c’est? What is that?
Lydia: This is my cello. It is a stringed instrument like a very large violin. This is the bow, you can see the stick on one side and the hairs on the other side. When I pull the hairs across the strings on the cello, it makes a noise like this.
Sam: What a marvelous sound! Won’t you play a little for us Lydia Charlotte?
Lilly: Oh yes please do play for us! We’re sorry we interrupted you earlier.
Lydia: Why of course I will!

Lydia: Now what shall I play?
MG: Play anything you like Lydia Charlotte, and we will enjoy it.
Lydia: Very well, I shall play what I was playing earlier before Lissie’s Cage of Destiny fell on me.
Sam: Now mind you take care not to attack her this time Lissie.
Lissie: *sigh* A hero’s journey is always one of misunderstanding!
Lilly: Shhhh, everyone. Let Lydia Charlotte play.

Cecile: Ooooo, c’est tres jolie Sawako Lilly!
Lilly: Yes! I could listen to the music all day. It’s so beautiful and enchanting.
Cecile: I wish Lydia Charlotte could stay with us.
Lilly: I do too! We have more than enough room, and just think of how happy our Big Person will be!

Lissie: You’re both being silly, wishing and hoping! Of course Lydia is staying with us! She’s our most wondrous, most terrible, granddaddy of all birds! Isn't that right Lydia?
Lydia: Oh Lissie, I would be so thrilled to stay if you all will have me.

MG: Welcome to our family Lydia Charlotte!
Cecile: Oui! Merci for the music.
Lydia: *smiles and keeps playing*

Thank you to everyone who reads and enjoys L&L! Despite my crazy schedule, I still wanted to quickly integrate my beautiful new girl given to me by my precious friend into my doll family. For some reason, I don’t really feel like a doll is a part of my doll family until I have a character for her and she has featured in one of my photostories! :D

At first I wasn't quite sure what kind of girl Lydia Charlotte was supposed to be. I didn't relate to her original character, but this is still my first time changing an original AG character into one of my own and it was a bit nerve-wracking! :D But because she was a gift, and my first AG doll gift as an adult from a most precious friend, I decided to give her the qualities our friendship reminds me of, which is a constant sense of peace and serenity. I gave her one of my favorite traits, musical ability. Since I play the violin and piano myself, music has always been an integral part of my life. Therefore this one of a kind special doll must have a skill to match. ^_^ She is most definitely British and reminds me of how much I love that country.

Just a side note, I had a heck of a time trying to get her to pose with the cello correctly! It irritated my musician sensibilities that her arms couldn't come close enough to bow properly, and her fingers couldn't flex to hold the bow in the correct grip! I had to remind myself she was a doll! :D

I don’t know when I’ll have another free weekend to make another photostory (so many ideas so little time!) but thank you to everyone for your patience and support! ^_^

Bonus extra photos of Lydia Charlotte playing the cello:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

An Award? Gasp, the Liebster Award!

The L&L girls are stunned and excited that they have been nominated, not once, not twice, not thrice, but 4 times for the Liebster Award! Thank you to Among the Dolls, Super Inky, Snister's Flock, and Audra's Elements of Syle for the nominations! ^_^ Here are the questions they asked with my answers below. You can also see how they answered their questions by clicking the link to their blog!

From Among the Dolls:
1. How long have you collected AG dolls?
          I received my first doll, Felicity when I was in 5th grade (12-13 years ago). She was gift from a counselor who saw how much I loved the books and wanted to inspire me. Thinking back on it now she was probably also the first adult collector I met! :D I played with Felicity but had no money for any of her outfits/accessories/furniture, so then I put her away until Jan 2013 when I rediscovered her. Then the craziness began! ^_^

2. Who was your first AG doll?

3. How many AG dolls do you have?

          6 girls that are formally apart of the L&L Family that I actively play with. I also have a custom who will eventually become my first custom as Sailor Moon, and I also have a TLC Kit doll that I'm trying to wrestle the eyes from. 

4. Do you have any customs? How many?

          Just 1 so far, and she's not complete yet. :) MG with a Caroline wig, and Kit's dark blue eyes. Hopefully she'll end up being Sailor Moon by the time I'm done. :D 

5. Who's your next doll?

          Sawako Lilly (#4) was my next doll. She is the first doll I bought for myself as an adult because I wanted a steady, focused girl to go to medical school with me. She is also my first, and so far my only non historical girl. 

6. What's your favorite song?

          Currently? It's Everything is Awesome from the Lego Movie since I just watched it. ^_^

7. What's your favorite book?

          Hahahaha! I have no idea! I love love love reading so I have too many! Among them would be anything by Tamora Pierce, Eva Ibbotson, Vivian Vande Velde, Roal Dahl, and any of the Little House books. 

8. What's your favorite t.v. show?

          Sailor Moon!

9. What's your favorite movie?

          Anything by Studio Ghibli

10. What's your favorite food?

          My mom's cooking!

11. What's your favorite color?

          I love all colors, so I can't pick just one. It bounces from one to the other depending on my mood. 

From Snister's Flock:
1. If you could go back and live in AG time period, which one would you choose?
          Oooo, fun question! It depends! I think Felicity and Caroline's world would be so different and fun to experience, but Josefina and Kirsten live in such a unique setting that they would also be fun. Overall, I would have to go with Samantha. I love the clothes of that period, and I think seeing all the 20th century changes as they happen would be terribly exciting.

2. What's your favorite smell?
          A book's pages when you first open it.

3. What's your favorite summer activity?
          Swimming and eating watermelon in front of the air conditioning.

4. What homework do you wish your dog would eat?
          Hahaha, I'm in medical school so we no longer have homework, just endless studying. Of all my subjects, the one that caused me the most grief that my dog could eat is probably renal. You'd think, how hard can they be? They're small, and there are two of them. Let me tell you... THE UNIVERSE IS IN THE KIDNEYS!!! ALL OF SOLOMON'S WISDOM IS NOT ENOUGH!!!!

5. How many times have you camped outside?

6. If you could live in any kind of house, what would you choose (for the record, I'd live in a treehouse)?
          A French Chateau in the English countryside. 

7. City or country?
          I'm a city girl. :)

8. What magical skill do you wish you had?

9. Where would you travel if you could go anywhere in the world, and why?
          Back to England or Japan. I loved being there so much. If it was England I'd go back and have afternoon tea with my beloved clotted cream, and if it was Japan, I'd go and live out my onsen dream. :D

10. What would you travel by?  Mule?  Boat?  Wagon? 
          Instant teleportation!

11. If you could jump into any painting, which one would you choose, and why?
          Anything by Monet or Kincade would be so relaxing and fun to go to. 

From Super Inky:
1. What is your favorite animated movie or TV show?
          Overall I have to say Sailor Moon, just because loyalty dictates it. However, in reality, anything by Studio Ghibli is awesome. ^_^

2. What is your favorite animal?

3. Which animal are you most like?
          Bear, probably. I like to eat, and I like to sleep. When I get angry I feel the rage!!! Otherwise I'm pretty relaxed.

4. If you had the chance, would you go into space?
          Definitely! I used to dream about going into space ever since I first read Sailor Moon.

5. Would you rather go on a boat trip to Alaska or the Caribbean? 
          Alaska. I love the cold and sweating scares me. :D

6. What is your favorite holiday?
          Chinese New Year! SO much delicious food and wonderful family!

7. Do you speak any other languages? Which ones?
          Chinese, Japanese, and a little French. I can also say cow in over 30 languages.

8. Do you collect anything? If so, what do you collect?
          American Girl, Books, Sailor Moon RPG toys, Antique Japanese Kimonos, Keychains

9. What is your favorite candy? 

10. What do you like to drink when you are especially thirsty?
          Water. ^_^ I don't drink alcohol, soda, and energy drinks. I occasionally have juice or tea, but I'm a water girl.

11. What is your favorite outfit?
          For myself or my doll? For me it would be my cotton summer dress, and for my dolls, it would be any outfit that was a major player in their stories (ex. Felicity's Christmas gown, Addy's School outfit, etc.). For Sawako Lilly, it would be any outfit that looks light and airy and fluffy and lacy on her! :D

From Audra's Elements of Style:
1. If you could visit any country that you've never visited before, which one would it be?
          I'd love to visit Sweden and see the Alps for myself! (Really I just want to pretend to be Heidi.)

2. What is one thing that you're afraid of?
          The dark! I'm terrified of the dark. XD I used to make my little brother get up and turn on all the lights so I could go use the restroom at night.

3. Who are your top 3 favorite musicians right now?
          Right now I'm rather obsessed with Jason Derulo, Shinee, and Pitbull.

4. How would you feel about wearing an outfit that was made up of really bright colors and patterns, that would make people turn and look at you?
          Love it! I'm such a fan of bright colors and patterns! :D I'm not too terribly shy so it wouldn't bother me if people were looking.

5. What is your favorite kind of clothing to wear?
          Um... Summer romance? As in clothing that is really light and fun to wear, and looks cool and comfortable. ^_^

6. What is (or was) your favorite school subject?
          English! I was a literary studies major in college and I love reading of all kind!

7. What are your feelings about broccoli? Pick 3 words you'd use to describe your feelings.
          Bleh. Ugggghhh. BLARGH.

8. Would you rather spend an afternoon at a museum, at an ice-skating rink, at the seaside, or in your room with a book?
          Ooooo, tough question... I could do museum, seaside, or in my room with a book! I love history, reading, and I grew up near the ocean so any of them would work. 

9. What is your favorite place that you've ever visited?
          It's a tie between Japan and England. I love afternoon tea and clotted cream, as well as the history of England, and I love the food, shrines, and unique culture of Japan. In both countries I was treated with lots of politeness and given help.

10. If you had a time machine, when and where would you go?
          I would go to ancient Egypt and see if it's as cool and blingy as movies make it out to be. :D

11. Who is your best friend and how would you describe her/him?
          Each of my friends are special to me in their own way, so I can't really put one above the others. The main thing they all have in common that endear them to me though, is that they are very loyal to me and will look out for me. For that, I treasure them. 

Now here are 11 questions from me! Anyone who would like to is welcome to complete these questions! :) There are so many blogs I love it would be impossible to pick just a few.
1. What got you started in American Girls?
2. Your favorite American Girl furniture piece ever made?
3. Favorite activity to do with your dolls?
4. How many people know about your doll collection? What do they think of it?
5. How do you display your dolls?
6. What do you focus on in your collections? Outfits? Accessories? Food? Furniture? Beds?
7. You have a $500 gift card for American Girl. What would you get with it?
8. Did you read the books first or buy the doll first?
9. Other than the main 18" dolls, do you collect anything else from AG? Bitties? Hopscotch Hill? Angelina? Mini dolls?
10. What do you wish American Girl would make?
11. Secret collector confession?

Thank you again for the nominations! This is really fun! :D

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sawako Lilly's New Kimono for Hina Matsuri

Every year on March 3rd is the Japanese Girl & Doll Festival Hina Matsuri. It celebrates girls and many families put up a 7 tier doll display representing characters from the imperial court. Immediately at the end of the festival the dolls must be taken down (superstition says that if the dolls are still up on March 4th, the girls will have a late marriage). :O

Here at L&L, we don't have the room/money/time to set up such an elaborate display, but Sawako Lilly did receive a gorgeous kimono for the festival. She went to take photos and show off at the Japanese garden. And yes, she immediately changed out of her kimono before March 4th because at the garden, she fell straight into the koi pond and drenched herself and her new kimono! :D Luckily neither she nor the kimono were hurt but next time Sawako Lilly will probably stay far away from the water. ^_^

About the kimono: Sawako Lilly is wearing a furisode kimono, which is worn by young, unmarried women at their coming of age ceremony and graduation. They usually wear it to their mid 20s, but recently the trend has been to wear the furisode well into the 30s as well. :) Furisodes are easily recognizable by their long sleeves and bright, vivid colors. While most kimonos are muted and subtle in color and design, furisodes are a sign that a woman is mature and of marriageable age.

Around her waist is a golden obi. Specifically a Fukuro Obi would be worn with a furisode kimono. A fukuro obi is wide and long, and a more formal obi with elaborate designs and metallic threads. The purple tie around the gold obi is called an obijime and holds the obi in place. The red spotted tie right above the obi is a scarf like piece of silk called the obiage. The scarf covers any bunches in fabric and ties slipping out above the obi. With a furisode, the obiage used is usually a silk shibori obiage. Shibori refers to a traditional Japanese tiedye method that creates the crinkled, polka dotted appearance on the fabric. It is used with very formal kimonos.

It was right after this photo was taken that Sawako Lilly toppled into the water! :D I suppose some of Lissie's habits are rubbing off on her. ^_^ Happy Hina Matsuri everyone!