Meetup Report: Dolls and Flowers

Meetup Report: Dolls and Flowers

I own a few ball-jointed dolls, but as much as I enjoy them I’m not necessarily as involved as some other doll owners. I’ve only been to a handful of doll-related meetups, and oftentimes when I’ve contemplating attending one I discover that it conflicts with a lolita meetup–and that’s something I’d much rather attend. I don’t often talk about my dolls, but sometimes dolls come up as topics of conversation at lolita events and then I realize that my friends also own dolls.

The last time this happened someone suggested we should have a combination doll and lolita fashion meetup, so at the beginning of July those interested arranged a meetup. The original plans involved the Garfield Park Conservatory, because it’s a wonderful place for a leisurely and beautiful meetup. The greenhouses are filled with lovely plants, and there’s a hall with tables where you can sit and chat or enjoy a snack. The conservatory is very easily accessible via public transportation.

A View from the Monet Garden
I didn’t take many flower pictures, but this was a view out onto the Monet Garden. It was lovely to see so much in bloom.
And then, on June 30th, a catastrophic hailstorm destroyed most of the greenhouses. Nearly half of the glass panes in the conservatory were shattered. Trying to cope with the damage, the greenhouse was closed with no announced reopening date. I thought we’d have to reschedule to another location, but just before the meetup the conservatory announced that it would be open again–to a limited degree. Repairing the damage is a very time-consuming process. Shattered glass has to be carefully removed from the plants, hoping to salvage as many of them as possible. The conservatory contained some very important and old plants, and some perished during the storm, so keeping those that can be saved is taken very seriously.

The Fern Room, Show House, Desert House, and Aroid House were closed when we visited, and they still don’t have an announced reopen date. We met in the Horticulture Hall, which was open, but it was only accessible from the outside through the outdoor gardens, as it is connected to the closed Show House. Areas of the Bluestone Terrace and City Garden are also closed. We didn’t stray far from the Monet Garden and Horticulture Hall.

Hearing about the damage to the conservatory was shocking, but seeing it was even more heart-wrenching. The Garfield Park Conservatory is one of those things that I count on to be there. It provides a beautiful service to the city–a free place for people to experience lovely plants. I’ve tried to help out by donating what I can, and I’m hoping that others donate their time and money to restore the conservatory. It will take a long time, but hopefully not too long if people really care.

At the Fountain
Obviously I’m not in this picture because I was the one taking it, but I love this beautiful tiled fountain.
The meetup itself was fun and relaxing~ The Horticulture Hall was nearly empty, so there was plenty of table space and chairs for everyone. I really enjoyed getting to see my friends’ dolls and discussing related interests. There were quite a few ball-jointed dolls in attendance, but also several Blythes, which I find fascinating~ I think it’s so much fun to pull the cord and change her eye colours. Her overall design doesn’t quite appeal to me, but I still think she’s a neat type of doll.

Pile O'Blythe
All of these are one girl’s Blythes! And this is only a teeny-tiny piece of her total doll empire.
Even though there were only a few of us who brought ball-jointed dolls, there was quite a bit of variety. I brought my two, a Volks SD and Volks MSD. Another friend brought a tiny Pipos cat and two Rosette Doll girls. A tiny Leekeworld girl in an adorable dress joined soon, as well as a Dikadoll elf girl.

I was really thrilled to see Rosette Doll girls again~ I remember my first doll, a Violet, very fondly. ♥ Sometimes I’ve even pondered the possibility of someday owning another Violet; I truly think she’s a lovely doll. Seeing a friend’s Armeria and Camellia was lots of fun~ They’re both so sweet. I still adore the crazy proportions of the über-lanky Rosette bodies.

Mediocre Group Shot
A pile of dolls dominated one of the tables. I thought they all looked very cute together, even with differences in sizes and styles.
I really enjoyed getting together with my friends and their dolls, and I know there were other interested lolita who couldn’t join us on that day. I hope that we have more events like this so that everyone can have an opportunity to come. It’s always fun to see what hobbies and interests I share with my friends~

Meetup Report: Dolls & Tea

Meetup Report: Dolls & Tea

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I consider a meetup to be any occasion where I am spending time with someone else and we both intentionally wear lolita fashion. If I had more days to my weekends, I’d try to spend as much of it as possible with friends! Schedules change and people move away, and I don’t want to wish I had gotten to know someone better.

Besides lolita fashion, I’m almost interested in ball-jointed dolls. Whenever I meet other lolita who also like dolls, it’s fun to get together to see each other’s dolls and talk about related subjects. Not every lolita likes dolls, and I don’t expect the two things to go hand-in-hand, so I try not to talk about it too much to avoid driving everyone else crazy~ However, I rarely get to local doll events (they are often too far for me to travel and conflict with my schedule), so I try to create my own with the friends I’ve made. ★

Nono Nono
Two dolls, both of which are the same but also different~ Neither of which are wearing lolita fashion, although both are frilly!

On Friday, a friend of mine came over with a few of her dolls. We had originally talked about making plans so that I could see her newest doll in person, as it was a doll I have liked for a while. I wanted to see how it looked in real life compared to promotional and hobbyist photographs. However, I wound up purchasing that doll at the event I went to in NYC, so we actually got together to compare dolls and talk~

My home is very tiny, but I really love having friends over! ♥ Someday I’ll have to get a bigger place so that I can do more entertaining. I was also glad to have a chance to introduce my friend to my husband, as she hadn’t met him yet. It’s nice when he can connect a face and personality to the name of whomever I’ve been talking about.

We went out to lunch at my favourite bakery~ The weather was perfect for sitting inside, enjoying the air conditioning while the sunlight streamed in through the windows. The menu was full of light and summery dishes–I ordered chilled cucumber-mint soup that was absolutely amazing! ♫ My husband and my friend each ordered a berry lemonade, one of the beverage specials of the day. It was deliciously homemade–so much better than bottled flavoured drinks!

On the walk back to our house, I showed my friend the “secret” Japanese market. It’s not really a secret, but it’s very unobtrusive and many people don’t even realize it’s there at all! She’s didn’t realize she’d walked past it so many times~ It’s not an extensive market along the lines of Mitsuwa, but they do carry an assortment of food, toiletries, dinnerware, traditional clothing, garden supplies, books, origami paper, caligraphy supplies, and more! However, since there isn’t a lot of foot-traffic they don’t do much business, and thus they don’t always have very new stock. However, it’s still convenient to have nearby. I bought some sweet rice; I’m hoping to make mochi~

Double Nono
My doll, still unnamed, is on the left. My friend’s doll, Hotaru, is on the right.

When we returned to my house, we talked about dolls and I unboxed my new doll. It was a lot of fun to have the same doll! They’re literally identical, except for the fact that we’ve each dressed ours to suit our tastes. (I was very amused to see that we had both almost immediately swapped out glass eyes for the default acrylic eyes. It was so nice to have someone to talk to while I changed those in my doll. The company that makes our dolls uses hot glue to secure the eyes, and getting that hot glue out can be very difficult!)

ElleJay and Hotaru
ElleJay and her doll, Hotaru. Don’t they look alike? ♥

I’m sure my husband appreciated that I had someone else to talk about doll-things with instead of him! (Although he’s a sweetheart and doesn’t mind, anyway.) Inevitably our conversation darted back and forth from dolls to clothes and back to dolls again. We enjoyed some tea, as well, although I think the weather was so warm that we kept forgetting about actually making the tea we had previously discussed! I think we both really enjoyed ourselves; I can’t wait to plan something else.

I want to do something creative and entertaining, but I haven’t focused on exactly what yet. Maybe a doll photoshoot, or an actual doll tea party… Hmm… Or some kind of craft… I think we could have a lot of fun! ♫

Charming Activities: Rosette Doll Spotlight

Charming Activities: Rosette Doll Spotlight

I don’t really have too many hobbies, but one area I’m very interested in are ball-jointed dolls. I waste idle hours on Den of Angels, my go-to for boredom. Clicking from forum to forum I can enjoy beautiful photographs, ponder discussions as I read others’ responses, or follow a well-chronicled transaction gone wrong. Dolls tend to fit very well into a sweet lolita lifestyle stereotype, but I’m not quite at the level of intensity where they line my walls as depicted on the blogs of some Japanese lolita. (And I’m not quite sure that’s what I aspire towards, really.)

My first Pullip, Raphia. Her counterpart was a kurololi named Cornice.

My interest in dolls is directly related to my love of lolita fashion. My first doll was a Pullip, specifically Raphia. She was fluffy and white, swathed in lace, and her arrival was the push I needed to move from dreamy sighs at the BABY, the Stars Shine Bright website to owning and wearing lolita clothing. She’s no longer in my possession, but I fondly think back on her whenever I look at my current ball-jointed doll, although they bear no resemblance to each other.

These past few days I’ve been very focused on ball-jointed dolls, specifically everything Volks, as I am in a tizzy about attending the 2010’s Dolls’ Party in NYC 4. I know I’ll be bringing my Claire, a Volks MSD Nagisa in Preschool, but I’m still up in the air about what I might get there. I also want to wear lolita fashion, and dream about my doll dressed in something that “fits” with that image, but not necessarily a lolita outfit for her. (Although that would be cute!)

I love this picture of all of the Rosette girls in their school uniforms! It’s one of the wallpapers on the website, and was my background for many months.

Before I owned my current doll, my first doll was made by the SOOM subsidiary Rosette Doll. I was drawn to these dolls because they fit beautifully with some of the dreamy idealization of the Victorian era that I’ve had since childhood and was intensified by my love of lolita fashion. Most ball-jointed dolls are sold as an unfinished product–something that arrives without eyes, hair, painting, or clothes. They’re dressed for pictures, but intended to be altered to fit any desires of the customer. Rosette Doll is a little bit different–their dolls are all more or less “finished,” arriving with the eyes, wig, outfit, and face painting specified in the shop’s pictures. They are complete, but they still have potential for customization.

 This was the image of Violet that made me fall in love with the doll. I always wanted to get a violin for my Claudia, but that remained a dream.

Rosette Doll has a theme carried throughout the website, the theme of a Victorian-era boarding school. The website is organized like a school, with information on the website detailing the imaginary class structure, school president, and schedule of holidays. The company posts beautiful “diary” stories of the students and encourages customers to register their dolls for class. Each doll arrives with an acceptance letter and a care guide disguised as a student handbook. The attention to detail is staggering.

 They wear such beautiful outfits! These were the “Spring Term” limited editions.

Most of the dolls are not wearing clothing that would fit the definition of lolita, although some could be considered inspired or “almost.” Regardless, I think they very much fit with the lolita aesthetic. Beautiful fabrics, laces, and ruffles adorn the clothing in ways that aren’t completely historically accurate, but more of an interpretation of a fond reminiscence of that time in an idealized European boarding school.

The newest limited release, “Extracurricular Activities,” features more elaborate outfits and white-skinned dolls.

Honestly, I’ve never seen a company with a more “lolita” appeal. Even some of the fashion brand crossovers (which perhaps I’ll write about again) aren’t as strong if only because they’re single releases, while Rosette Doll has a steady stream and is continually developing along the same aesthetic. (They did release some modern-styled clothing, but even that had a frilly, ruffly inspiration.) I can’t help thinking that some of the outfits worn by the Rosette girls could be considered “sweet aristocrat!” Maybe that’s how I can dress when I’m too old for lolita fashion.

I can’t end this without sharing at least a few more pictures from the company’s website. They’ve taken so many beautiful photos!

Daily Life: What a Surprise!

Daily Life: What a Surprise!

The other day, while having dinner with a friend I had invited over, my father called.

“Have you checked your email?” was the first thing I heard.
“No; I have a friend over.”
“You need to check your email.”
“Um, okay…”
“Check your email and call me back.”

I apologized to my guest, wishing that I had let the call go to voice mail, and turned on my pink netbook with the intent to check my email as quickly as possible. I couldn’t imagine why my father was calling me to have such a suspicious conversation, or what could be in my inbox to require immediate attention. When my account loaded and clicked on my newest message, I let out a squeal.

I’m going to VolksDolls Party in New York City!

I own a ball-jointed doll. I’m not very active or passionate about ball-jointed dolls as a hobby, but I enjoy my doll and keep an eye on doll-related things. My doll is from Volks, so I often browse the Volks USA website. Several months ago I had heard whisperings and speculation about a US Dolls’ Party. A “Dolls’ Party” is rather like a mini-convention hosted by this company particularly for their customers/fans and limited to their products. This event was canceled in 2009 due to concerns about swine flu, but it seemed as though it was likely to happen in 2010. When this was confirmed and the date was announced, I wanted to go.

My father often has business in New York, so I had emailed him last week to see if he would be in town on June 19 and 20–hoping, of course, to stay at his hotel room and avoid paying for one of my own. Getting a plane ticket would be another issue, but I could save quite a bit by avoiding hotel costs. His response–hence the cryptic phone call–was that I had been booked a hotel room and plane ticket!

Little Alice is one of the limited items for the event! (The limited items are Alice in Wonderland themed, with Alice, Lorina, and the White Rabbit.) She has such a sweet face.

Now I’m so excited I barely know what to do with myself! I want to get the most out of the event, but I my doll doesn’t need a visit to the Dolly Doctor (Beauty Salon) and it’s very unlikely that I’ll buy another doll. I’m determined to take the workshop, but I’m not sure if or which school head I should buy. There are so many choices~ I can’t wait to see more information released on the website.

I’m planning my attire as well, because obviously I want to wear lolita fashion the entire time! ♥ I can’t think of a better choice, really. If only they made Alice or Lorina’s dress in MSD size, so my Claire could be dressed in a similar fashion~ I can’t wait to see what it’s like! I need to make up my mind and get my registration in order.

I wonder if any other lolita are attending this event~ ♥