Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sawako Lilly's March Kimono

I know the month is almost over, but Sawako Lilly still wanted to show off her kimono for March. ^_^ With the dreary clouds of winter finally rolling away and the warm whispers of spring finally dancing through the air, her long sleeved furisode kimono for this month is decorated with small buds blooming in the warm spring air.

It's not flashy, but more of a peaceful calm, hinting at the beautiful blossoms that are soon about to appear.

Even though there isn't any lavish embroidery, a subtle gold foil imprint of leaves subtly blend into the woven chirimen crepe silk fabric. suiting the soft, gentle design.

The obi belt is black with woven gold, silver, and red metallic threads in floral motifs. The obiage scarf is a lovely red-orange shibori pattern, matching the red-orange threads in the obi. A lavender obijime tie holds the obi belt up, standing out on the dark background, yet complimenting the soft pastels of the furisode.

The back of the furoside only gives the barest hints of the front, with the small gold foil branches and leaves stretching towards the warmth.

A close up of the musubi knot and the designs woven into it.
Happy spring to those in the Northern Hemisphere! I love the promise and enthusiasm of all the green, growing things in this season as they put on their brilliant display. ^_^

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

$10 off $50 Purchase In Stores

I just received an email today about a new coupon for $10 off a $50 purchase which is valid in stores only. The coupon code is SPRING15 and just mention it at checkout. The code expires March 31, at the end of the month. Here is an image of the email:

This deal seems really unfair to those who do not live near a store and who still have to pay for shipping on top of everything, so I hope there will be a comparable code released for online use soon. *fingers crossed* 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Featured Etsy Shop: Jenny Wren's Dress Shop & Giveaway!

- This giveaway has ended. Winner announced here. -

Today L&L has the privilege of featuring the lovely, historical outfits from Jenny Wren’s Dress Shop, created by Tayler McCrery. She has very generously provided a beautiful outfit for a giveaway to go along with the feature.

The interview is first, followed by a review of the giveaway dress, with the giveaway details at the end of the post.

JW = Jenny Wren’s Dress Shop 

~Interview with Tayler McCrery of Jenny Wren's Dress Shop~

Sam: Hello everyone! Please join us in welcoming Ms. Tayler McCrery!
Cecile: Ms. McCrery sews beautiful historical outfits, focusing on the adult collector who appreciates the details and technical skill that goes into each outfit, though this certainly does not exclude younger fans from appreciating her outfits for their dolls as well.
Sam: Absolutely Cecile! And now let us hear it from Ms. McCrery herself!

Sam: Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions Ms. McCrery. I will get us started with the first question. Where does the name Jenny Wren come from?
JW: Jenny Wren - also known as “the dolls' dressmaker” - is a character in Charles Dickens' novel, Our Mutual Friend. She's a poor young girl who supports herself and her father with her sewing. She ventures out late in the evening to see what all the rich ladies are wearing as they leave their parties and balls, and then goes home and recreates the fashions to fit her dolls. Since all the clothes I make are designed off of visual images (rather than existing patterns) - a la Jenny Wren - and because I adore classic literature, I thought that using her name for my shop was very appropriate.

Cecile: J’adore Charles Dickens, mais I have never read Out Mutual Friend. We must get this book Samantha.
Sam: Yes, I shall put it on our Big Person’s shopping list! To think, a doll dress maker in Mr. Dickens’ book!
Cecile: Ms. McCrery, why did you choose to create historical clothing?
JW: So many historical fashions are absolutely beautiful, polished, and utterly feminine. I will totally admit to wearing sweatpants and an old hoodie, but the idea of living in an era where everyone made the effort on a daily basis to look presentable and put-together sounds fabulous. The concept of constant corset wearing, on the other hand, doesn't sound quite as nice. :) In creating historical outfits, I can relish the gorgeous decades that I wasn't able to experience first hand.

One of Ms. McCrery's favorite time periods to sew for is Regency style dresses, like this Purple and Cream Regency Dress.

Cecile:  It is never too late Ms. McCrery! You can still don a corset and eye patch now!
Sam: Oh dear Cecile, you have pirates mixed up with ladies.
Cecile: Could she not be a lady pirate?
Sam: Well, I suppose there is nothing to prevent her from doing so. Ms. McCrery, you sew from a variety of time periods but do you have a favorite time period to sew from?
JW: Hmmm. That's a tough one! May I pick three? :) I love looking at photos from the 1950's, because the basic silhouette is universally flattering, and I almost always come away with new design inspiration. Plus, I think AG dolls look especially adorable in 50's apparel. Civil War/Victorian fashion pulls me because I love fabric prints from that era – almost all of my designs for that time period have been spurred on by a single piece of fabric. And finally, I'm physically unable to read a Jane Austen novel, or watch one of the movie adaptations without itching to pull out the sewing machine and make a tiny Regency outfit. :)

Sam: How lovely! I do love Regency era clothing myself! So feminine and elegant!
Cecile: Oui, but I prefer the big ball gowns from the Civil War era. Such large hoops! You can hide so much underneath the skirt.
Sam: Why, what are you hiding under your skirts Cecile?
Cecile: C’est un secret. Ms. McCrery, how did you get involved with sewing & designing? Surely not since Mr. Dickens novel was published?
JW: I'm a self-taught seamstress. I love learning and trying new things, and sewing was something I decided to experiment with at a young age. I think my first project was a hand-sewn, nine-patch quilt block – inspired by Laura and Mary Ingalls in the Little House books. :) I stuck with hand sewing for a long time and it wasn't until my late teens that I did much with an actual sewing machine. I found my enjoyment of designing quite unexpectedly. I never actually owned an AG doll growing up. My first encounter with them was my best friend's collection – we spent hours and hours (and days and days...) playing with them. My parents always thought that the price was a little exorbitant for a doll (which I can easily understand!), but one year, they bought a knock-off 18 inch doll for my little sister's birthday. I knew about the present, and decided to try and make some dresses to give to her at the same time. I fell in love with creating historically inspired outfits for that size, bought several AG dolls for myself, and have never looked back. :)

Cecile: It seems books play an important role in your life Ms. McCrery! First Charles Dickens and now the Little House series.
Sam: Although you explained that you started sewing on the 18 inch scale for your little sister at first, why did you pick AG dolls in particular to design and sew for?
JW: I think that 18 inch dolls lend themselves to the perfect amount of detail when it comes to clothing - not frustratingly tiny, or overwhelmingly large. AG's quality is the best I've come across, and they just so happen to also produce the cutest faces EVER.

Her second favorite time period is the Civil War era. This Olive Civil War Era Dress is an example.

Cecile: Oui, I cannot deny that! You focus your attention on sewing for the adult collector, but can you please explain to us how sewing for the adult collector is different than for a mom buying an outfit for her child?
JW: When I started my Etsy shop, I had to make a decision about who to market my doll clothing to. There are many wonderful sellers who choose to make less time-intensive outfits that are perfect for little girls who are mostly interested in the big picture. I lean toward the perfectionist end of the personality spectrum, and I love details, so it made sense to put in the extra time toward things like precise, well-finished seams and using metal snaps instead of velcro (which is easier for little hands to manage, but inevitably does a number on your dolls' hair). Some of my designs are also a bit more fitted than they would be if I were trying to accommodate a child's developing motor skills as they dressed their doll.

Cecile: Ah! Très bon! I love it when a seamstress uses snaps instead of velco. It is so much kinder to mes cheveux.
Sam: I find I must agree Cecile. Velcro gets caught in everything so easily it is quite the nuisance. Ms. McCrery, can you share with us what is your favorite part of what you do? Least favorite?
JW: I dearly love looking at the finished product! :) I also enjoy flipping through historical fashion books and scrolling through Pinterest, soaking up the images, and then attempting to put all the elements I like into a newly drafted pattern. My least favorite part would be cutting out the fabric... Or trying out a new pattern for the first time and finding that I need to make adjustments. That's my sister's favorite though, because it's normally still perfectly usable, and it means that she gets it free and clear – no longing looks, or begging, necessary. ;)

Cecile: Your sister is very fortunate! Her dolls must be very well dressed. About how much time on average goes into an outfit or design? Could you briefly explain the process?
JW: If I already have a pattern that I'm working from, it takes about 4-5 hours to complete a dress – from cutting out the fabric, to finishing the last seam. I usually let a couple outfits pile up, and then sew on the snaps (and decorative buttons, if applicable) while watching a movie. If I'm designing a new pattern, I turn on an audiobook (most vital things, first!), try to sketch out my ideas, draft the pattern, pick out a fabric that will look good if it turns out (but not feel like a total waste if it doesn't!), sew it up, critique the outcome, and hopefully like it!

And her final favorite period to sew from is the 1950s. This 1950s Red Floral Dress is perfect for the rumored new historical character coming out this fall.

Sam: My! So you draft your own patterns as well! They are all so lovely, if you do not mind me asking, what or who inspires your creativity when sewing and designing patterns?
JW: I have a weakness for books of all kinds (my overloaded shelves will attest to that), and I particularly like my collection of fashion history books – so much pretty in one place! Paintings, Illustrated fashion plates, photos of dresses from museums, and especially historical images of people wearing their own, real-life clothing are especially inspiring to me. My thirteen year old sister, Trinity, is also great for bouncing ideas off of. She has a fabulous innate sense of what looks good (and historically correct), and advises on everything from ruffles and buttons, to fabrics and trim color.

Cecile: Ms. McCrery, truly you are a seamstress after my own heart! What I would not give for a library of fashion history books!
Sam: And your younger sister sounds like the perfect assistant as well. Together the pair of you make quite the talented team.
Cecile: With so many books to draw inspiration from, do you ever get a creative block? If so, how do you overcome it?
JW: I haven't had too much trouble with creative block, but if I do, Pinterest is the quickest way solve that problem! I have boards for different eras, and if I get stuck, I'll usually scroll for a little while and come up with plenty of new ideas. I also find it helpful to frequently switch time periods so that I can avoid burn-out. If I get bogged down in anything, it usually means that I need to move on to something completely different. If nothing else, I can usually fall back on some sort of fantasy/quasi-medieval outfit (no real fashion rules!) and come up with something that I can happily add to my own collection.

Sam: This has been quite the captivating interview! I’m afraid we are running out of time so before we end, is there anything you would like to share with the readers? Any advice?
JW: I think that everyone should try sewing at least one outfit for their dolls! You never know if it'll become your new favorite hobby. :) I did it the hard way (no pattern, LOTS of adjustments - but also tons of fun :), but there are so many patterns out there to choose from. Pick a fashion era that you love, find a pattern, and see what happens.

But it's not all seriousness and history at Jenny Wren's Dress Shop! If your doll is feeling particularly hobbity, be sure to take a look at this Medieval Fantasy Hobbit Outfit.

Cecile: That advice is excellent! We will let our Big Person know she must sew some dresses for us.
Sam: Oh dear, I nearly forgot Lissie’s favorite question! Ms. McCrery, please excuse our forwardness, your 1 Word Bonus is Blueberries or Bacon?
JW: Agh. This is cruel. I suppose... bacon. If necessary, I could substitute raspberries or blackberries for the blueberries, but there is NOTHING to substitute for bacon.

Cecile: Merci beaucoup, thank you very much Ms. McCrery, for visiting us today and answering our questions!
Sam: If you would like to visit Jenny Wren’s Dress Shop, you can do so at the link below.

Cecile: Let us have one more round of applause for Ms. McCrery! Now we will go to Lydia Charlotte et Marie-Grace, who will review the outfit we are giving away.


MG: Merci Cecile et Samantha! Lydia Charlotte and I are very excited to review this beautiful 1950s Mint Green Dress from Jenny Wren's Dress Shop. Lydia Charlotte is modeling the dress for us.

Lydia: The color and design is perfect for spring! After all these cloudy, gloomy winter days I'm ready for spring's colors to appear again.

MG: There is a row of 6 decorative buttons down the front of the dress, tightly sewn on.

Lydia: The crisp white collar lays flat on the dress, perfectly symmetrically, framing the first button.

MG: C'est belle! Look at those cuffs! Is any part of the dress uncomfortable or tight Lydia Charlotte?
Lydia: Not at all, it fits wonderfully!

MG: Ah, thank you for turning around Lydia Charlotte. Now we can see the back of the dress.

Lydia: It closes with snaps in the back so it's easy enough for anyone to manage without causing any hair tangling.
MG: Would you take the dress off now and let us have a closer look?
Lydia: Well... if I must... I do so like wearing it though Marie-Grace.

MG: You can see that the front of the bodice is pleated to give a better shape and fit to the dress.

Lydia: The back of the dress is very neatly sewn, and you can't tell where the snaps are at all.

MG: Only 3 snaps? Incroyable! No wonder why it looks so smooth from the back. Did it feel like the dress was secure with only 3 snaps?
Lydia: Oh yes indeed! Any more and it would have taken a day and a half to put on. 3 is more than enough for modesty and keeping the dress secure.

Lydia: You can see the inside of the bodice is lined as well, and even the inner lining is pleated like the front of the dress.
MG: Oui, and look at the tiny stitches holding the buttons to the front. Ms. McCrery is very skillful!

Lydia: Goodness those stitches are so neatly done!
MG: Did you know? Jenny Wren's Dress Shop uses reproduction fabric to give all their historical outfits more realism.
Lydia: I can certainly see why they have such an excellent reputation!

MG: Even the insides of the sleeves where they attach is beautifully sewn.

Lydia: All the edges are finished to prevent fraying and the inside is as neat as can be.
MG: Now that you have seen this beautiful dress up close and personal, we'll have Lissie and Lilly explain how you can enter for your chance to win this outfit!


Lissie: Alright! It's finally our time to shine Lilly! I hate being at the end.
Lilly: But isn't the giveaway the most exciting part?
Lissie: Your logic won't fool me, even if it's true!
Lilly: That's enough raving for now Lissie. We've got to tell people how they can enter to win this beautiful 1950s Mint Green Dress.

Lilly: Yes, there's no purchase necessary, and anyone can enter, though if you are younger than 13, you must ask your parents to enter for you.
Lissie: But... can't we extort everyone for chocolate and sugar galore?
Lilly: Diabetes is difficult to manage, even in dolls Lissie. Absolutely not. Be sure to remind everyone to include their name with their comment.
Lissie: Who would forget to put down their name? If you don't know how you can select the "Name/URL" option when commenting and leave the URL part blank.
Lilly: Hmmm... I think that's about it Lissie. Thank you again so much to Ms. McCrery for providing such a beautiful outfit for the giveaway! Good luck everyone!
Lissie: *whispers* And if you want to discreetly bribe me with some truffles, just leave them in the comment!
Lilly: LISSIE!

- This giveaway has ended. Winner announced here. -

The giveaway will run from Mar. 23 - Apr. 2 (midnight Central USA time).

To enter:
Visit Jenny Wren's Dress Shop's Etsy Store by clicking here and then come back and comment with your favorite outfit in her shop and why. (theme, design, style, time period, etc.)

For bonus entries:
Favorite Jenny Wren's Dress Shop's Etsy store. (include username in comment for verification)
"Like" Lissie & Lilly on Facebook (click here to go to the page) (include username in comment for verification)
Follow/Google+ this blog. (If you are already a follower/google+, just comment with your account. ^_^)
Share about this giveaway on social media (Facebook, Your Blog, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Google+, Pintrest, other forums, etc.) - Be sure to include the link(s) to your post(s) in your comment so we can verify where you shared. 
*max 6 additional entries*

The winners will be announced in 2 weeks on Friday, April 3rd on this post, so check back then! ^_^

- This giveaway has ended. Winner announced here. -

Friday, March 20, 2015

Pippaloo's Cookies & Bunnies Giveaway Winners

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway for the Pippaloo Girl Scout Cookies & Chocolate Bunnies, and for sharing your thoughts on your doll's favorite food. I appreciate those who liked/shared news of the giveaway with others! We had 197 entries total by 45 individuals (91 for the chocolate bunnies & 101 for the Girl Scout cookies). Every entry was assigned to a number and a random number generator picked the winning numbers.

The winners are:
Elewys - Chocolate Bunnies
Kathy Davis - Girl Scout Cookies

Congratulations Elewys and Kathy Davis and thank you to everyone who participated!

*Important: Winners must email me at within 72 hrs (by noon, central US time, Monday, March 23rd). If I haven't heard from you by then, another winner will be selected.*

Please check back on Monday, March 23rd for our next giveaway as part of our Etsy Store Feature! It will be fantastic (2 winners for the next one!) and you definitely won't want to miss it!

Follow the blog by email (top of right side bar) and "Like" us on Facebook to stay up to date and be the first to know about new giveaways, photostories, store photos, and more! ^_^

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Mini Josie learns the history of Mission Inn at Riverside, CA

Today Josefina took me to The Mission Inn in Riverside, CA. It is a historic National landmark where many famous people have stayed and visited. It is so beautiful.

There have been so many Presidents that have visited the Mission Inn. Pat and Richard Nixon were married here and Nancy and Ronald Reagan honeymooned here! Some of the Presidents who have stayed/visited here are: William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover, John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, George W. Bush, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley and other famous people such as Booker T. Washington, Hellen Keller, John Muir, Albert Einstein, John D. Rockefeller, Susan B. Anthony and lot and lots of astronauts and aviators. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ozzy Osborne have been here! The list is so long! Even my host honeymooned here and the hosts niece was married here.

Inside the Main building.

There have been so many Presidents that visited here that they even have a Presidential lounge, and even a place where Presidents sat to eat. They let us in to take a photo of the amazing artwork that hangs over their table.

Here I am with the pool behind me!

Here is one of the corridors. Look how pretty!

You can see the dome behind me.

The clock overlooks the Spanish Wing:

St. Francis Chapel. This chapel has an 18-karat gold leafed Kayas altar that dates back to the mid-18th Century that came from Guanajuato Mexico. The windows are Louis comfort Tiffany stained glass. There are many magical weddings here!

Here we are on one of the canons out front!

Bye! I hope you enjoyed SOME of our photos. We saw so much and there is just SO much history here that you just have to visit yourself to see! They even have Macaws here, a cupcake shop and a spa and an Aviation wall…an amazing spiral staircase..a Spanish library… I had so much fun!

To see more of Josie’s adventures, click here to view her Travel Log!