Saturday, January 30, 2016

Photos of GOTY 2016 Lea's Fancy White Dress & Accessories

First off, please allow me to apologize. I have not been able to post near as much as I would like this year. This semester's classes have caught me in a whirlwind of work and studying, and I have not had much free time to post. Thank you all for your patience with me! ^_^

Many of us were looking forward to the release of the Girl of the Year 2016 Lea Clark's white, fancy, embroidered dress that we saw leak last year, and were disappointed it was not part of her January 1st, debut. My current hunch is it will be released as part of the mid year GOTY release (June-July) when her movie comes out.

Despite the wait, we've seen the outfit appear on eBay a few more times, now paired with what appears to be the matching shoes and headband. The lovely Lynda kindly took several photos of the complete ensemble modeled on her Lea doll and sent them to us to share here. :)

Do not repost/copy/claim images without written permission.

We've seen the dress before, but it seems like it will now come with a beaded headband. This beaded headband can also be used as a necklace, depending on your preference (though I don't think that is AG's intention). 

Here are looks with it as a headband.

The beads are variations of light blue, and green-yellows to match the dress.

It seems to be 3 lines of plastic beads, strung on elastic, and connected in the back with with a larger elastic band. 

And this is the headband worn as a necklace. 

Here is a photo of the elastic band in the back.

It works well as a necklace since the larger, white elastic piece is hidden. However, I personally would probably prefer for it to be a headband, since the dress is already so decorated with that lovely embroidery. 

The dress will come with a pair of gold sandals.

There is a tiny butterfly decoration with a small, plastic rhinestone.


It closes in the back with velcro.

Overall, I think it's a simple but cute design, though I think it may be a little too cutesy for the style of the dress for my taste. 

"Like" us on Facebook and Follow us to get notifications of updates, news, reviews, and more!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Jinjia Mixed Goods Book Patterns Giveaway Winners

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway for the Jinjia Mixed Goods Book Patterns, and for sharing your thoughts on your favorite item in the shop. I appreciate those who liked/shared news of the giveaway with others! We had 91 entries total by 35 individuals. Every entry was assigned to a number and a random number generator picked the winning numbers. Although I normally go through and reply to each of you who entered, due to my heavy course work this semester, I wasn't able to do so, and for that I apologize. However, please be assured I carefully read and double checked each entry. ^_^

The winners are:
Amelia - McGuffey Readers
MyLittleMegara - LOTR + Hobbit

Congratulations Amelia and MyLittleMegara, and thank you to everyone who participated!

*Important: Winners must email me at within 72 hrs (by midnight, central US time, Monday, Feb. 1st). If I haven't heard from you by then, another winner will be selected.*

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! ^_^

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Mini Josie sneaks inside Buckingham Palace in London, England

Of course I couldn't visit London without going to the State residence of Her Majesty the Queen. Buckingham Palace has been visited by so many famous people, including a number of our American Presidents. But right now the Queen is not at home - she's spending Christmas at one of her other palaces. How can you tell? It's easy. You see that flagpole on the very top of the portico (a very grand word for porch) - well, when Her Majesty is in residence at Buckingham Palace, the Royal Standard flies from that flagpole.

I'm sorry this isn't a better picture but Great-aunt Helen was so busy looking at all the beautiful thing that she couldn't keep still! There are so many lovely rooms in Buckingham Palace crammed with exquisite furniture and pictures and China - it really is a fairytale palace! Just look at those huge chandeliers!

This staircase is so beautiful - you can imagine great ladies and gentlemen sweeping down to a grand ball! There are pictures of the Queen's ancestors everywhere.

Yes, another picture gallery! The Queen owns so many pictures that there isn't room for all of them in her house so she made a special gallery that people can come in to and see a selection of her pictures. it has a nice little portico, much cosier that the one at the front of the Palace. Inside there's a really cool gift shop packed with beautiful things, even sweet little baby onesies with "His Royal Highness" and "Her Royal Highness" on the front!

Twelfth Night, 6 January, is the last of the Twelve Days of Christmas. By tradition all Christmas decorations are put away on this day. So I was very lucky to see one of the Queen's many Christmas trees in the Queen's Gallery the day before it was taken down. It was very tall, almost all the way to the ceiling, about fifteen feet high, and it was decorated with just simple white lights and dozens of purple and gold Royal crowns. I thought that was a wonderful sight for my last outing in London!

On Twelfth Night I started packing to head on to the next stage of my adventures. I won't tell you where I'm going - it will be a surprise! But I can promise you I'm not going to need my new winter boots for a while!
Love, Josie X

Sent on behalf of Mini Josie by her British great-aunt
Helen McCarthy

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

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Mini Josie appreciates art at Trafalgar Square in London, England

3 January 2016 - happy New Year everyone! Here I am in London's Piccadilly Circus, just coming up from the Piccadilly Circus Tube station. Still no snow, but everyone is wrapped up warm!

This was our big culture day. Here I am in the famous National Gallery in London's Trafalgar Square. It's a huge building packed with wonderful works of art from all over the world and from all ages of history. These are from the seventeenth century.

Just around the corner from the National Gallery is the National Portrait Gallery. This is smaller, but in a way it's more fun. It tells the story of famous Britons though paintings and photographs. It really brought history to life for me!

When we came out of the galleries it was starting to get dark and the sky and the lights were just as beautiful as any painting. Behind me you can see Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square. It commemorates a big battle in 1815 where Lord Nelson stopped Napoleon and his French army from conquering the whole of Europe, including England. And can you see the dial of Big Ben shining in the distance on my right, your left? You can see Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament from the steps of the National Gallery.

Here I'm standing beside the famous fountains of Trafalgar Square with the National Gallery all lit up behind me. What an amazing Christmas tree! It's a gift from the people of Norway to the people of Britain. They send one every year as a thank-you for all the help and support that Norway received from Britain in the Second World War.

This was a very tiring day, but so much fun!
Love. Josie X

Sent on behalf of Mini Josie by her British great-aunt
Helen McCarthy

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

Monday, January 18, 2016

Featured Etsy Shop: Jinga Mixed Goods & Giveaway

- This giveaway has ended. Winner announced here. -

Welcome to our first Etsy Shop Feature of 2016 everyone! We’re thrilled to have Ms. Cassie Waldrop of Jinjia Mixed Goods with us here today to answer some of our questions. She has a variety of items in her shop for AG dolls including outfits and accessories, but is one of the only Etsy shops that carries a wide selections of AG scale books for your doll’s reading pleasure! She has generously sent us the book printable patterns for the complete set of the Lord of the Rings series (including The Hobbit), as well as the full set of McGuffey Reader Collection to giveaway to two lucky winners!

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

JMG = Jinjia Mixed Goods

~Interview with Cassie Waldrop of Jinjia Mixed Goods~

Lissie: Come on, come all! Today Lilly and I are more eager than beavers to interview the creative and talented Ms. Cassie Waldrop, creator of the Etsy Shop Jinjia Mixed Goods!
Lilly: Ms. Cassie has kindly agreed to sit down with us and answer some of our questions about the fantastic book patterns she puts together for dolls like us so we can stay well read.
Lissie: And that’s not all! When this interview is done, Sam and Cecile will give you guys an up close and personal look at the books Ms. Cassie makes in a review stuffed like a burrito full of photos.
Lilly: Ms. Casssie has even provided two sets of books for a giveaway at the end! Please join us in welcoming Ms. Cassie to the L&L Studio!

Lilly: Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today Ms. Cassie-
Lissie: Oh oh oh oh oh! Me first! Me first! Ms. Cassie, you’re one of the few and only shops on Etsy to specialize in doll books. How did you get the idea to make papercraft books for AG dolls in the first place?
JMG: It started with me wanting the little historical textbooks from the old Pleasant Company school accessories, only I wanted math books as well as the readers, and no place I knew made anything like that.  So I started looking for ways to make doll-sized books, and since I'm lazy (and running out of space to store craft supplies, I wanted a method that didn't involve sewing or fancy bookbinding.

Lissie: Ah… indeed nothing motivates like laziness!
Lilly: I’m not sure that’s the moral of her response Lissie. Ms. Cassie, you have several styles of books in your shop, but do you have a favorite genre or book series to make?
JMG: My favorites so far have been modern-ish science fiction and fantasy books, and anything Japanese or Chinese.  I also still want to duplicate all my old textbooks for my dolls.

Lilly: Oh what a lovely idea! I would love to have my own sized set of our Big Person’s textbooks!
Lissie: Sheesh Lilly! Of all things, textbooks! Me, I want my own sized copy of our Big Person’s manual on maniacal laughter and diabolical scheming. Now Ms. Cassie, as awesome as the books are, surely it can’t be all fun and games right? What are some difficulties and challenges you face when it comes to making the books?
JMG: Making sure the text inside is readable and looks good is my main challenge.  Then it's the decision of how to bind the books with just glue and paper.  I have to do things a little differently than 'proper' bookbinding because I want it to be easy for people to follow the pattern with supplies they had around the house.  It took a few rounds of trial and error before I found a process that works.

Lilly: That is quite a bit of work! How much time on average goes into making a book?
JMG: If I'm starting a new project (I usually do a set of 5-10 themed books at a time), it takes about a day of research on the theme (say, 1950s school books) before I decide exactly which books I want to miniaturize.  Then layout takes about an hour for each book, and half of that is in trying to find the exact cover and spine art.  I do a test print and build out my set of prototypes, and the physical assembly process takes 15-45 minutes depending on how I decided to bind the books.  So call it 2-3 hours per book for design and prototype.

Lilly: Wow! I didn’t even think about the research that has to go in to preparing each book, along with the time it takes to test them out afterwards.
Lissie: What is the full process for converting a full sized book to doll scale Ms. Cassie? Could you give use a quick walkthrough of the process?
JMG: I start by finding my source material and figuring out the exact size of my finished project.  I have templates on hand for 5-6 different doll book sizes because even a doll's bookshelf should look like it has some variation.  Depending on the source, I either scale down the entire page or just shrink the text down.  For full pages, I also do a bit of image cleanup to make sure it's going to print well.  Each book is about 24-32 pages long, so I either take just the first chapter or two, or I take my favorite chapter.  Then I find the cover art and if it's available, the spine art.

Aside from book patterns, Jinjia Mixed Goods also has outfits and accessories for dolls too, like this 1940s Valentine's Day Jumper & Blouse.

Lissie: Hmmm…. Perhaps I was wrong about laziness being a great motivator. It sounds like each book takes a lot of effort and time to prepare.
Lilly: You’ve made such a wide variety of books from different sources but I’ve been wondering if you can explain to us some of the differences between making an older, out of print book versus a more recent, newer book?
JMG: This is where copyright law comes in and determines what I offer for sale vs offering for non-commercial educational use.  Books published before 1923 (and a very rare handful published after) are in the public domain, so I can freely make miniatures versions.  Anything that is still under copyright, I may make a miniature to distribute for educational purposes, to show people what these vintage books looked like.

Lissie: All things I touch are in the public domain! And I will touch all things!
Lilly: I’m… uh… not quite sure you understand what that means Lissie.
Lissie: Meh, what’s a domain or two between dolls? Ms. Cassie, what is your favorite part of what you do? How about your least favorite?
JMG: My favorite part is the research and discovery of what books are out there.  My least favorite is actually writing the instructions and taking pictures of everything I've made.  I'm really bad at remembering to do that.

There are also school accessories, like this set of science glassware, in case your doll needs to work on her chemistry, or perhaps start her own mad scientist lab!

Lilly: Now all of here at L&L have been a big fan of your blog and all the cool crafts and projects you do with your dolls. Aside from making doll scale books, what other activities and hobbies do you enjoy?
JMG: I'm an avid gamer (console, tabletops, live-action), and I'm currently studying kungfu and tai-chi.  I also sew extensively for my dolls and am dabbling in making polymer clay doll food.

Lissie: A gamer martial arts warrior by day and a seamstress food crafter by night?
Lilly: And crafting all those book patterns as well too! I envy you your talents Ms. Cassie!
Lissie: I envy her massive doll library! Ms. Cassie, could you tell us what new books are coming up for your shop?
JMG: I'm currently working on a few sets of 1940s/1950s books for the more modern BeForever dolls.  I have one set of 1940s/1950s readers and nature study books, and another set of 1950s science books coming up later this month.  I'm also working a full set of the Andrew Lang Colored Fairy Books (all 12 books).

Or perhaps just regular school supplies in general, like this laptop, calculator, and activities books collection. Either way, your doll will be prepared for school!

Lilly: It sounds like you’ve got quite the exciting line up! I’m so excited about the Andrew Lang Colored Fairy Books. Before we end, is there anything you would like to share with the readers? Any advice or tips?
JMG: I'm always looking for new suggestions for future doll books, so please contact me if there's something in particular you want to see.  As far as advice goes, for both papercrafting and life, it's a lot easier if you have some patience and realize that little screwups don't mean the end of the world.

Lissie: Now just one minute here Lilly! You know we can’t end with anything other than the One Word Bonus! Ms. Cassie, think carefully, this will be the culmination of the whole interview… Jambalaya or Jelly Beans?
JMG: Oh definitely Jelly Beans.

Lissie: And there you have it folks! Let’s all give Ms. Cassie another round of applause for coming here today and revealing her hidden secrets!
Lilly: You can visit Ms. Cassie’s shop at the link below, and be sure to check out her blog, also linked below for more information, free crafts, and other cool activities!

Etsy Shop –
Blog –

Lissie: Now we’re going to pass the blow torch to Cecile and Samantha who will review one of the book patterns Ms. Cassie has created!


Cecile: Non non non Lissie, do not give us any blowtorches.
Sam: Cecile is quite right! In fact, the only things we need to assemble one of the book patterns created by Ms. Cassie are a pair of scissors and a bottle of glue.
Cecile: Today we are making one of our favorite books, The Hobbit! Let us begin!

Cecile:  All of Ms. Cassie's book patterns come as a PDF file and can be printed out at home.
Sam: That way, if you should happen to make a mistake, or lose your book, you can print out another copy to make!

Sam: The first thing you want to do is cut out all the pieces. When you cut out the strips of the book pages, make sure you keep them in order.
Cecile: C'est fini! Finished! Now let us move on to assembling the book.

Sam: Take the strips of the book pages and fold them into a "W" shape, the glue the ends together.

Sam: It should look like this once you glue the ends together. Continue doing this to all the pages.

Cecile: While Samantha is assembling the book pages, let us put together the book cover and binding.

Cecile: Ms. Cassie has labeled all of the pieces so it is easy to follow the instructions she provides with her book patterns. We will first glue piece A on top of piece B to make the binding.

Cecile: Next we will fold down the edges of the book cover and glue pieces D, E, and F inside to reinforce the cover and make it stronger, more like a real hardback book!

Cecile: Once the pieces inside have been glued down, then next step is to  glue down the tabs you folded over earlier.

Cecile: Finally, glue the two C pieces to the middle to create a thicker binding support for your book. I am ready Samantha!

Sam: Excellent timing Cecile! I have finished assembling to book pages as well, Let's put them together now.

Sam: We start by gluing on the binding piece. This will keep all the pages together and tidy.

Cecile: And of course, after that we must glue the book to the cover!

Cecile: Regarde! Look! What do you think of our very own copy of The Hobbit?

Sam: Wait, not yet Cecile, we cannot forget the book cover. Let me fold over the two flaps so we can slip it on...

Sam: There! Now it is complete! It took us a little under 30 minutes to put the whole book together.
Cecile: Oui Samantha, and it was so much fun that we did not stop there.

Cecile: We also made the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy too! Now we have much to read.

Sam: Yes indeed! All the text on the pages are clear and easy to read, perfect for us, and for our Big Person to read to us as well.

Cecile: They also look so nice on your bookshelf too! See how the spines are all decorated and even?

Sam: Here is a comparison of how the scale of The Hobbit looks in our hands, and compared to one of the mini doll books. Ms. Cassie's books come in a variety of sizes so there is variation on your shelves. 
Cecile: Samantha, I want to make an entire library of books for us!
Sam: I do as well! We will pass this over to Lydia Charlotte and Marie-Grace who will explain how you can win your own set of these book patterns. Come on then, let us get started on making even more books Cecile!

MG: Merci Samantha et Cecile! Bonjour everyone! Lydia Charlotte and I are here to present the giveaway today. Ms. Cassie has generously provided the book patterns for the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit series, as well as the entire collection of the historical textbook McGuffey Readers for 2 lucky readers to win!

Lydia: You've already seen the lovely Lord of the Rings series by Cecile and Samantha, so Marie-Grace and I will give you a quick look at the McGuffey Readers. 

Lydia: They are doll sized versions of the textbook books that were widely used by children in the 19th and 20th centuries. 
MG: There are a total of 8 book, 6 grades of Eclectic Readers, a Primer, and a Spelling Primer. Perfect for any historical doll or even a modern down who wants to see what children over a 100 years ago studied.

Lydia: The insides are filled with lessons for your dolls to work through, and stories to read.

MG: To enter the giveaway for either the Lord of the Rings series or the McGuffey Readers, please visit Jinjia Mixed Goods' Etsy shop, then come back here and comment below with your favorite item from her shop.
Lydia: This giveaway is free to enter and open to everyone over the age of 13, including readers outside of the USA. If you are under 13, please ask a parent or guardian to enter for you. 
MG: Make sure you do not forget to leave your name with your comment, and which set of books you would like to be entered in the drawing for. If you do not mention which series you would like to win, we will enter you in both, though each reader can only win one of the series. 
Lydia: Good luck everyone! We hope you will all enjoy starting off the year with some lovely books!

- This giveaway has ended. Winner announced here. -

The giveaway will run from Jan. 18 - Jan. 28 (midnight Central USA time).

To enter:
Visit Jinjia Mixed Goods' Etsy Store by clicking here. Comment below with your favorite item in the shop. 

For bonus entries:
Favorite Jinjia Mixed Goods' Etsy store. (include username in comment for verification)
Follow/Google+ Jinjia Mixed Goods' blog (click here to go to blog) (If you are already a follower/google+, just comment with your account. ^_^)
"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 7 additional entries*

The winners will be announced in 2 weeks on Friday, January 29th on this post, so check back then! ^_^

- This giveaway has ended. Winner announced here. -