Monday, June 29, 2015

Featured Etsy Shop: Faux Real Foods & Giveaway!

- This giveaway has ended. Winner announced here. -

After a two month break, L&L is happy once again to bring your our bi-weekly Etsy Shop Features and Giveaways! To kick us off with lots of fun and energy, we are over the moon excited to present to you the talented food sculptor of the delicious goods at the Etsy shop Faux Real Foods, Winter! She has very generously provided not just one meal, but TWO meals to give away to two lucky readers. ^_^

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

FRF = Faux Real Foods

~Interview with Winter of Faux Real Foods~
Lissie: We’re back! We’re back! We’re back with a knick-knack-paddy-whack-give-a-dog-a-bone!
Lilly: No Lissie, what we’re giving out is so much better than a bone. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Lissie: Better ahead than behind! Welcome back everyone! I hope your Pavlovian responses ready because have we got some delicious treats for you today!
Lilly: All of us at L&L are so honored to have the chance to introduce you to Miss Winter, the genius behind the Etsy shop Faux Real Foods which offers detailed, high quality doll foods in a variety of scales!
Lissie: Though we all know I only care about myself. And chocolate. I care about chocolate too. And-
Lilly: Would you kindly care to join me in welcoming Miss Winter to the studio?

Lissie: *whispers* Uh, Miss Winter, did you, you know, by any chance, er, smuggle, no I mean, slip us, any you know, snacks?
Lilly: Lissie! Stay professional please! I apologize Miss Winter. Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today. I’ll get us started with the first question. How did you get started crafting with polymer clay?
FRF: I've been sculpting as long as I can remember, my first memories are of mashed potatoes and mud pies, I soon graduated to salt dough and plasticine. As a teen, I discovered polymers and was instantly hooked. My Noni, (Italian grandmother) had walnut trees. I have fond memories of sitting on a clean sheet on the living room floor surrounded by my family while we all shelled walnuts. I tried to crack them precisely in half so I could sculpt tiny polymer mice, squirrels and angels sleeping in the walnut shells. My parents and siblings took notice and soon everyone was saving the perfect half shells.

Lilly: Walnut cradles? That sounds adorable! It must have been so much fun for your family to help you collect perfect half shells. I’m sure they were curious to see what you would make from them too.
Lissie: Hmmm… I am desperately curious to know how did you transition from mud pies and walnut beds to AG scale food?
FRF: I've always been fascinated by miniatures and all things tiny. Among my favorite childhood possessions were the books my grandmother, Mary gave me. The one that sparked my interest in miniatures was about a squirrel, Miss Suzy, who temporarily resided in a doll house. I had a dollhouse with plastic furniture but I dreamt of a dollhouse like Miss Suzy’s with beautiful furniture, real carpets and plaster food.
When our youngest daughter, Ella was four, she asked for a "real" dollhouse. My husband and I built the house from a kit and I built all the furniture. I also made all the rugs, bedding and accessories but still felt as if something was missing. Then I remembered Miss Suzy. I pulled out my old polymer clay and made food for the little doll family. Tiny pies in bottle caps, diminutive cakes, cookies, fruit, sandwiches, a roast turkey dinner . . . I got a bit carried away. It was so much fun!!
Fast forward four years and eight year old Ella requests the AG baking set for Christmas. I replied "yes, we can do that but it's expensive so you won't get very many other gifts". A few days later while playing with her dollhouse, Ella had an epiphany. She sauntered into my studio while I was painting and said "Mommy, you're an artist, you can make anything!" (I am an artist and I appreciated the sentiment but that is an enormous overstatement.) "Thank you, honey" I replied. "Mom! You could make the baking set and I'd get more presents!" Clever kiddo. I took a careful look at the AG baking set, decided I could do better and made my own version. It was so much fun! After I finished the gingerbread house, I made pie, cake, cookies, sandwiches, drinks fruit. . . I got a bit carried away. Are you seeing a pattern here?
Ella's friends began asking their parents for "real doll food, the kind Ella has" and a business was born.

Lissie: I already like your daughter. She has all the skills necessary to conquer the world! A sugary tongue, a sharp wit, and a pinch of sauntering!
Lilly: Oh dear, it sounds like you found a protégé Lissie. Miss Winter, do you have a favorite food or type of food you like making best?
FRF: I love a challenge, the more complex the food, the happier I am. I also enjoy researching historical dishes and food from other cultures. The research and recipes are fascinating.

Lilly: That’s fantastic! Did you hear that Lissie? A true craftswoman appreciates a challenge.
Lissie: I appreciate challenges! As long as I get to rule an empire, and fill my stomach, I’ll challenge any bok choy that comes my way! Of course, any great leader *ahem* I mean craftswoman needs the proper weapons *ahem* I mean tools. Would you tell us what is your favorite tool for working with the clay Miss Winter?
FRF: I have three; my handcrafted needle tool, tissue blade and elongated ball tool.

Lissie: Now did you hear Lilly? She clearly said blade. I need a blade. A sharp one.
Lilly: Come now Lissie, you don’t need a blade. Why, the true artist can make tools out of practically anything. For example, Miss Winter what is an everyday tool people wouldn’t think would be good for crafting doll food but is?
FRF: There are several, Aluminum foil leaps immediately to mind. It's great for texturing, using as an armature in larger items, lining plastic bowls and dishes to make fitted oven-safe molds. A battered toothbrush is essential. And I wouldn't be without my soft pastels.

Lissie: Lilly, I’m gonna need some foil and armature too.
Lilly: I’m not sure why that sounds so much more devious when you say it Lissie.
Lissie: Geez, it’s as if you’re expecting me to build a foil palace complete with turrets!
Lilly: … I’m not going to comment on that Lissie. Just ask your next question.
Lissie: Oh alright then. Miss Winter, I know working with food must be delicious and fun but what is your favorite part of what you do?
FRF: My customers! I have the best customers. I enjoy making custom orders, replicating a nostalgic food. A recent week had me sculpting bunny shaped pizzas one day and an accurate colonial feast for Felicity the next. That was great fun.

Lissie: A colonial feast??? FOR ME?
Lilly: I don’t think you qualify as colonial anymore Lissie.
Lissie: Why not? I have the pin curls don’t I?
Lilly: Miss Winter, could you tell us what or who inspires your creativity when crafting doll food?
FRF: Gosh, everything inspires me. I always notice patterns, colors, the way the light plays across my project table. I research cookbooks, Pinterest recipe pages, the Internet. My family often gives me ideas they’d like to see, I think they’re trying to stump me. Ella has been requesting garlic roasted tofu for quite some time. I should probably make that.

Lissie: Argh now I’m certain she’s a girl after my own heart! Garlic roasted tofu sounds drool worthy and I’m not even sure I’m anatomically capable of drooling.
Lilly: Quick, change the subject  before we find out!
Lissie: Okay! Next question! Do you ever get a creative block? If so, how do you overcome it?
FRF: No, not with sculpting. A much bigger problem I have is time, there isn't nearly enough time to make all the things I have in mind.

Lilly: That seems to be a common theme among artists, lack of time.
Lissie: It’s a common problem for eaters too! I never have enough time to eat everything I want.
Lilly: Though certainly not for lack of trying. Now Miss Winter, I know you craft mainly for AG scale dolls like us, but you also make food for smaller scale dolls like Barbie and Monster High. Could you tell us what are some differences between crafting food for 18 inch AG scale dolls versus smaller dolls like Barbie and Monster High?
FRF: 1/6 scale, Barbie and MH require a lighter touch, both in terms of texture and color but you still need the detail if you're going to sell the realism. 1/3 scale requires more precise detail, slightly more vibrant coloring and heavier texturing. And at 1/3 scale you can’t fake it, every error is obvious. I also work in 1/12 scale, and life size. Each scale has its challenges. 1/12 tends to be fragile, life size is challenging because the pieces like to crack when curing.

Lilly: That’s so interesting! It never occurred to me there would be such a difference when it comes to making the food difference sizes.
Lissie: Life sized chocolate… Big Person sized chocolate…
Lilly: Lissie? It’s your turn to ask the last question.
Lissie: Huh? Oh! Ahem! Miss Winter, aside from polymer clay, do you work with other mediums or materials when crafting AG scale food?
FRF: Yes. I often use two part epoxies and dyes. I almost always use soft pastels for more realistic color and shading.

Lilly: Well, that concludes our interview. Thank you so much for sharing your time and talent with us Miss Winter! Is there anything you would like to share with the readers? Any advice?
FRF: If you're interested in sculpting, or creating any type of art, start where you are. It sounds simple but in order to improve you must practice. Make mistakes. Lots and lots of mistakes. Ask questions. Watch other artists work every chance you get. Experiment; be brave enough to create bad art. I look back at work I did a few years ago and I almost feel I should apologize for it. But if I hadn't done that work, I wouldn't be able to do what I do now. The most important bit of advice, do the things that give your heart joy. Life is fleeting, enjoy every moment.

Lissie: WAIT! Lilly! How could you forget the 1 Word Bonus!
Lilly: Oh, um, well… I was waiting for you to ask it! Clearly!
Lissie: Miss Winter, here is the last and most critical question a doll can ever put to an artist. Your 1 Word Bonus: Dumplings or Donuts?
FRF: Donuts. Definitely. But not too sweet.

Lilly: Let’s have one more round of applause for Miss Winter! If you would like to see more of her work, you can visit her Etsy shop here: and website:
Lissie: Now, we’ll gorge on the feast Miss Winter has provided!

Lilly: Down Lissie! Now we’re going to go to Samantha and Cecile who will be reviewing 4 fantastic meals Miss Winter has kindly sent to us. Lissie, restrain your urges!

Cecile: Thank you Sawako Lilly! Bonjour everyone! Samantha et moi are eager to give you an up close look at the delicious meal sets Miss Winter has graciously sent us.
Sam: She provided 4 separate meals for us to review and at the end of this feature, 2 lucky winners will get to choose their favorite set to keep!

Cecile: Let us get started! And what better way to start than with the packaging? Here at L&L we always like to advocate environmentally friendly practices so we would like to mention Miss Winter’s packaging is all reused or recycled material.

Sam: When you receive a delicious treat from her, please do recycle or reuse the packaging material as well.

Sam: For our first meal, we have this traditional Vietnamese dish featuring two spring rolls stuffed to the fullest with a bevy of carrots, lettuce, julienned daikon, crab sticks, and shrimp. There is a side of sweet and sour sauce, and the entire dish is paired with a delicious strawberry smoothie topped with whipped cream and a strawberry on top.

Sam: The lettuce is cut thinly and the edges are ridged, like actual lettuce. The sauce is lightly translucent and you can see the individual chili flakes in the sauce. 

Sam: The wrap for the spring rolls is translucent as well, similar to actual rice wraps used for making these rolls, and allows you to see the details of the cut shrimp on top. 

Sam: The crab stick in the center has gradations in color to give it the same look as a real crab stick. 

Sam: The whipped cream and strawberry are firmly attached and won't fall off. The strawberry has little indentions where the seeds would be. 

Lissie: Hey Samantha! Something smells good!
Cecile: Oh no! C'est Lissie! We must distract her.
Sam: Lissie! Look! It is a lollipop! Don't you want the candy?
Lissie: CANDY!
Sam: *throws lollipop* Go get it Lissie!
Cecile: Bonne idée Samantha! Good idea! We are safe for now. On to meal two.

Sam: The second meal is a traditional meal, perfect for Thanksgiving. It contains two slices of turkey with gravy, a large serving of mashed potatoes also with gravy, as well as a side of glazed sweet potatoes, and a side of green beans. It comes with a glass of water stuffed to the brim with ice. 

Sam: The individual ice cubes are throughout the entire cup, and like true ice cubes float towards the top of the water.

Sam: Now I will show each item on the tray individually so that you can see the details.

Sam: Even our vegetable avoiding Lissie would enjoy these green beans. Notice the seam lines on them as well as the melted pat of butter on top. The beans are one piece so the butter and the melted butter drippings line up.

Sam: We were so impressed with the turkey slices! The texturing on the surface gives it the lines a real piece of cut turkey would have, as well as the variations in the turkey meat that show where the fat is. The skin around the turkey was not forgotten and also textured and colored. You can see tiny specks of pepper in the gravy drizzled on top. The two slices are attached so the gravy lines will match up.

Sam: The mashed potato mountain has little holes and edges where it was shaped with a utensil. A hole in the center holds a lake of gravy.

Sam: Although sweet potatoes may seem simple, the glaze on them is not uniform, which makes them look more realistic. They are not clumped together like AG food, which lets your dolls share!

Lissie: Mmmmmmm.... You know, I love gravy...
Sam: Lissie! You are back! What happened to the lollipop?
Lissie: Oh, I finished it eons ago. Now what I really want is-
Cecile: Another lollipop! Here Lissie! *throws lollipop*
Sam: Hurry Cecile, we are half way done!

Cecile: The next meal is very américain, the cheeseburger with a side of fries and a glass of orange soda.

Cecile: You can see the tiny soda bubbles rising up the cup and gathering under the ice cubes!

Cecile: Now we will look closer at this délicieux meal! The edges of the cheese are melted and hanging over the patty. Under the patty you can see the lettuce. Notice how the edges of the lettuce are ridged so you can make out the individual leaves. There is ketchup on the burger as well, all to make a mouth watering taste.

Cecile: Most impressive! The fries are all individual and separated so your dolls can steal fries from each other. The ends of the fries are cut at a slant and all are of different lengths. They were painted and colored to resemble real fries, hot out of the fryer with the golden exterior.

Cecile: Miss Winter has also taken the time to texture the undersides of the buns as well! The top and edges of the buns are lightly toasted as well. 

Lissie: Cheeseburger! Fries! I love to steal fries!
Sam: Ahhh! Lissie! You sneaked up behind us.
Cecile: Ah, but why steal fries when you can steal another lollipop? *throws lollipop* Steal it before our Big Person's puppy does!
Sam: Do you think she will get there first?
Cecile: Mais of course! This is Lissie we are talking about. Now for our last meal!

Cecile: Our final meal is truly comfort food, perfect for warming you up on a chilly October day. It is toast with cheese and a big bowl of tomato soup. A glass of milk will wash everything down so your doll will be ready for more fun again.

Cecile: The tomato soup has a rich color and you can see tiny specks of seasoning and pepper on the surface. The cheese cutouts give the bowl a seasonal touch of fun. The bowl itself is study glass.

Cecile: What happened to the rest of the cheese slice? It is sitting on top of these crispy piece of toast. A perfect meal after an evening of trick-or-treating. The spoon for the soup is metal and very solid.

Cecile: As with everything, Miss Winter does not leave out any details. The back of the toast slice is textured with bubbles like break, and colored to resemble toast. The edges are darker as well too where the crust is.

Lissie: RAWRRRR! I'm back! And all that running has made me hungrier than ever! FOOD!
Cecile: Oh no! Quick Samantha, another lollipop!
Sam: We've run out of lollipops Cecile!
Cecile: Non! We must protect the food! Tackle her!
Sam: Hurry Marie-Grace and Lydia Charlotte! We can only keep her back for so long!

Lydia: Do you best Cecile, Samantha! Marie-Grace and I will take it from here.
MG: Deux, that is, two winners will receive their favorite meal from the four meals Miss Winter has so generously provided, the spring rolls, Thanksgiving meal, cheeseburger, and tomato soup.

Lydia: All you must do is visit the Faux Real Foods Etsy shop and comment below and tell us what your favorite food in the shop is and why.
MG: C'est très facile, it is easy! Be sure to put in your comment which meal set you would like to be entered for. In the case of both winners opting for the same set, the second winner will be asked to select their second favorite meal.
Lydia: The giveaway is open to all readers, including international ones, no purchase necessary. However, if you are under the ago of 13, please ask a parent or guardian to enter for you.
MG: Please do not forget to put your name in your comment if you do not have an account. You can use the "Name/URL" option. Put your name in the "Name" box and leave the "URL" part blank.
Lydia: Now please hurry, before Lissie eats everything! Good luck to everyone!
MG: Bonne chance, good luck to us, if we can keep Lissie from eating everything!

- This giveaway has ended. Winner announced here. -

The giveaway will run from June 29 - July 10 (midnight Central USA time).

To enter:
Visit Faux Real Food's Etsy Store by clicking here and then come back and comment with your favorite item in her shop and why.  

For bonus entries:

Favorite Faux Real Food'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 5 additional entries*

The winners will be announced in 2 weeks on Friday, July 10th on this post, so check back then! ^_^
- This giveaway has ended. Winner announced here. -

Thursday, June 25, 2015

BeForever Bedtime & Truly Me Release - June 25

Wow! What a release today! New bedtime sets for the Beforever characters, and tons of fun new things for the newly revamped Truly Me line. ^_^ On top of that there are tons of store exclusive back to school supplies for girls, an exclusive Grace spatula, and the author Mary Casanova was at the store too!

I had such a fun (long) day at the store taking photos of all the new releases and measuring them with my handy dandy measuring tape. It was a bit frustrating because everything was in a display case so people couldn't really play with the items so I did the best I could. >_< The photos are organized into categories below for ease of viewing. ^_^

*DO NOT use these on your site/blog/channel, or direct link to the images. Feel free to link to this post.*

To view full sized image, Right Click on the image, then select "Open link in new tab" or "Open link in new window".

-Julie: Zigzag Pajamas, Bed & Bedding, Daisy Vanity Set
-Kit: One-Piece Pajamas, Bed & Bedding, Radio Set
-Josefina: Nightgown, Bed & Bedding, Nighttime Accessories
-Rebecca: Satin Pajamas, Bed & Bedding, Bedroom Accessories
-Addy: Nightgown, Bed & Bedding, Bedroom Accessories
-Kaya: Pow-wow Dress of Today

-Recess Ready Outfit
-Sparkle Sweater Outfit
-Basketball Outfit
-Mod Monster Costume
-Striped Hoodie
-Flutter & Fly Outfit for Bitty

-Terrier Puppy
-Tweed Driver’s Cap
-Fun Fedora
-Silver Sparkle Beanie
-Rhinestone Baseball Cap
-Sparkle Sneakers
-Shearling Boots
-Sparkle Socks & Leggings
-Double Braid Headband
-Stylin’ Bangs

-Hot Lunch Set
-Science Fair Set
-Flip-Top Desk
-Sport Storage Bench
-Slow Cooker Dinner Set

-Zigzag Pajamas
-Fuzzy Fuchsia Slippers
-Puppy Print Pajamas
-Coral Cuff Slippers
-Desert Dreams Pajamas
-Satin Pajamas
-Pom-Pom Slippers
-Embroidered Nightgown
-Blue Patterned Pajamas
-Recess Ready Outfit
-Striped Hoodie
-Rhinestone Baseball Cap
-Flutter Outfit

-Grace Exclusive Spatula
-Store Exclusive School Supplies: Backpacks, Lunch bags, Pencil Cases, Folders, Notebooks, Journals, Watches, Wallet/Phone bag, Days of the Week Socks, Messenger Bag
-Grace's Author Mary Casanova
-Store Sale Items
-Miscellaneous Pictures

-Julie's Daisy Vanity Set
-Josefina's Nighttime Accessories
-Rebecca's Bedroom Accessories

-Hot Lunch Set
-Science Fair Set
-Flip-Top Desk
-Slow Cooker Dinner Set


Store Photos of Truly Me Accessories from June 25 Release

Truly Me Accessories
More photos of details on the Measurements Page Here:

-Hot Lunch Set

-Science Fair Set

The knob on the side can rotate and extend the eye piece backwards. The top knob is a compass. 

You can look through the telescope! It really works! :D The compass is decorative though.

Sticker sheet and ribbon

Left Panel of Board

Center Panel

There are knobs on the back that can actually rotate the wheels on the front of the board.

I am really impressed with the quality of the board. I thought it would be rinky dinky cardboard, or similar to the card board used for actual student science boards, but you can see it's very sturdy and glossy (like the surface of a dry erase board).

The sticker sheet

-Flip-Top Desk

Sticker sheet for decorating desk.

-Sport Storage Bench

-Slow Cooker Dinner Set 
This set is FANTASTIC! It has so many pieces to play with, and the plastic parts feel like high quality plastic.