EAH Basic Cerise Hood: A review

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Some time ago I bough the basic release of Cerise Hood. Before I managed to write a review, the autumn sun lured me out for an outdoor photo session. Now the time has come to finally give this doll a closer look!

Here is Cerise still in her box. This is the now retired style of Ever After High boxes (though, as you can see, it still possible to find them in shops and online). The box strikes me as rather spacious – I am pretty sure two dolls could fit in there if necessary. It seems that in the doll industry the size of the box is more related to the price point and quality than to the amount of space actually required to contain the toy – if that’s true, it seems that we are to expect pretty good things from this one:

basic Cerise Hood in the box

Here is the back of the box with some information about the character, in this case, in Polish and Czech. There is also a drawing of Cerise – it is rather pretty and it accurately represents the doll’s clothes and accessories. It is only perhaps a little odd that the style is different from that seen in the webisodes.

If you peek through the keyhole (which in this one case is OK  :)) you can see the doll’s stand tucked in a separate compartment of the box. Despite this subtle hint, doll stands still get thrown away with the box by unsuspecting parents – at least so I heard.

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You would also be alerted to check the box for a stand if you read the list of contents on the base of the box. This section of the packaging also informs us that the doll was made in China in 2013.

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People don’t usually like their toys to have been made in China, but in this case, I specifically sought out a “made in China” version. Basic Cerise Hood has had three slightly different releases so far, and this one is my favorite because of something about its face-up. However, its “made in Indonesia” counterpart also has many fans.

Even the side of the box has a little something special: it resembles the  spine of a book, complete with a picture of Cerise. I would certainly like to own a book of fairy tales with such lovely details! Thanks to the ornate ‘spines’ these boxes stack very nicely on shelves (but, unfortunately, I only have one to stack).

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Finally, the ‘aerial’ view. Just one look from this angle is enough to know there is trouble coming: glue leakage.

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I noticed the stain back in the shop, but I thought it was the same mostly harmless substance as the one that held Bunny Blanc’s hair in shape. Unfortunately, it’s not. The stain was a harbinger of the infamous “glue head” problem that affects certain Ever After High and Monster High dolls. In short, these dolls’ heads are filled with glue which seeps out over time, giving the hair a greasy look. It can apparently also stain fabric which remains in contact for a long time. I haven’t been able to wash it off any way I tried. This is definitely a big minus.

In the box, the doll had a section of her hair tied in something of a braid. I thought it looked nice, but I had to take the rubber bands off because they seemed to be… melting into the hair? It sounds quite unlikely for merely 3-year-old rubber bands, but somehow, perhaps through contact with the glue, they were unusually sticky.

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Time to free the free-spirited Hood. Here she is out of the box, with all her additional accessories: a key-shaped brushed (with rather few ‘bristles’), a doll stand and her basket. Her hair has been washed at this point, as you may be able to tell by the appearance of her bangs.

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Let’s have a look at her face first:

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Cerise has a warm complexion. Grey dominates in her eye make-up and is also the colour of her irises. Grey and silver accents also echo throughout her outfit. Despite being so monochrome, her eyes look bright, if rather serene in expression. Her lips are a nude shade of pink whitch fits her natural beauty. The lower lip has three silver dots which imitate reflections. I think it’s an odd way of painting lip highlights, but I quickly stopped noticing them anyway.

Nearly all basic releases of EAH dolls wear knee-length dresses, but Cerise is instead wearing a shirt or a tunic. The top is finished with a ruffle. It blends in fine colour-wise, but I  feel like it doesn’t match the outfit in its style. So I have a theory about its origin: Could it be that it’s been added to add more consistency between the outfits of the basics, and perhaps add more girly charm?

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Even so, Cerise is different from many of her Ever after High friends, in that her personality and her colour-scheme are less ‘cute’ and less princess-like. I had assumed that her plaid design was an expression her modest, down-to-earth style, but only until I went shopping recently – red plaid is everywhere! Intentionally or not, Cerise is being quite fashionable 🙂 (Also, it seems that it’s a good season for cosplaying as her. Only, you know… don’t go overboard :))

The sleeves of the tunic are tight-fitting, which means that the doll’s hands have to be removed to change the outfit. We have the manufacturer’s blessing to do so, but I still feel as if I’m ‘hurting’ the joints and I am worried about them becoming worn and loose.

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Her leggings are grey/silver, with what appears to be snake leather texture. Given her connection with the forest, they could just as well be tree bark imitation. Rebel-esque or forest-inspired, they fit the doll quite well.

Perhaps her most iconic item of clothing is the red cape with hood. It is by no means plain red, though:

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The cape is adorned with an intricate, borderline scary, fascinating design in the shape of branches and leaves.

It has a slit in the back to let the doll’s hair out (but I like it tucked inside the cape more anyway).

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You can also notice here that the hair has subtle highlights. This variance in colour gives the hair a more realistic appearance.

After removing the doll from the box, I washed the cape with warm water, tea-tree oil (as suggested on doll forums) and large amounts of dish-washing liquid. When it dried, I tried leaving in some cornstarch to absorb the grease. Neither of this techniques work to completely remove the stain. Welp. (Unfortunately, it’s more obvious in person)

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On the positive side, the cape’s clasp is very nicely detailed, and that can’t be taken away  🙂 I am only a little surprised how richly adorned it is for a humble Riding Hood. Perhaps this line of fairy-tale characters has richer history and a richer bank account than I had expected.

I am very tempted to paint these gems.

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Cerise’s detailed accessories do not end here. Consider her jewelry:

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The ring is very much in keeping with the style of cape clasp, and surprisingly well sculpted.

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The bracelet is something a little different. It too has decorations which can be interpreted as jewels, but overall it looks like black leather bracelet with straps. I like to imagine that the previous pieces are family heirlooms, but this one is Cerise’s own touch as a Rebel.

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The belt is most certainly (make-believe) leather. The style is more informal and more natural, but the details are no-less pleasing to the eye:cerises-belt

The back has little pegs for fastening:

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It sits snugly at the narrowest part of her waist, but it doesn’t get in the way of the stand.

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The doll is wearing brown leather boots that go well with the belt:

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Despite the compulsory high wedge, these are possibly the most reasonable shoes I have seen in EAH dolls. The colour is natural, the sculpt is rich but not overdesigned. They do not scream “Little Red Riding Hood”, which means they are perfect for sharing with other dolls. I am very pleased with them. There are a few details which could be painted in, but they look very good as they are.

Finally, Cerise Hood’s basket:

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They did a good job with this piece as well. There is so much going on: cute bows, intricate jeweled ornaments, a rustic napkin, wicker texture and even fur-like trim that I hadn’t noticed until right now. All these things come together without overwhelming the eye. It doesn’t open, though – I guess you can’t have everything, and with fashion accessories, functionality is the first thing to go.

Now let’s consider some physical features of the doll. If you have watched the webisodes, you may be wondering about the doll’s ears. Well, they are slightly pointy, but that’s all:

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Ashlynn’s ears for comparison:

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While we’re at that, notice how greasy the hair is near the ‘scalp’. Stringy, sticky, suspiciously shiny. And this is all post-washing. Fortunately, the greasiness does not show on the top layer of the hair as much.

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It seems that this dolls fingernails are more pointy than the average ones, but again, the difference is negligible. Here are Cerise’s fingers:

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And Ashlynn’s fingers:

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Definitely more noticeable is the height difference. Here are three of my Ever After High dolls, each a different height:

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Ever After Height

Bunny Blanc is the shortest one. Her thigh pieces and her calf pieces are unique to her (between these three that is). Ashlynn Ella and Cerise Hood share the same thigh length, but Cerise’s calves are longer, giving her the extra overall height.

Bunny Blanc was my first doll. Her body proportions looked perfectly normal to me. When I bought Ashlynn she seemed unreasonably tall. And now that I bough Cerise and she is even taller, I do think it’s freakishly excessive. It doesn’t show as much when she is dressed in leggings and high boots.

Cerise, as all the other dolls above, is fully articulated Ever After High style – wrists, elbows, and knees all  bend and rotate at the joints, arms rotate back to front and lift up to the sides, legs at the hips bend so that the doll can sit as on a chair, they also go slightly to the outside (so she could, for example, ride a horse). Some of Cerise’s joints are a bit more loose than in the other dolls: her right arm, for example, has trouble supporting the weight of her basket, but it still keeps poses on it’s own.

Now, for the conclusions:

Strong points:

  • pretty face sculpt and paint
  • unique and detailed outfit design
  • outfit composed of separate, interchangeable pieces
  • numerous intricate accessories
  • doll stand included
  • pretty hair colour
  • poseable
  • visually pleasing packaging

Weak points:

  • permanently stained cape
  • greasy hair
  • slightly loose joints
  • a little lanky  🙂

As in the case of many other dolls, the design is great, but the execution detracts somewhat from the final product. I expect the manufacturer to address the problems in future releases, but meanwhile, this is still a doll worth having and fully capable of giving lots of enjoyment to children and collectors alike – in short, I’m glad to have it.

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Bunny Blanc, the Cute and Friendly Witch!

Doll collectors do not play with dolls. But they do maaaybe change their doll’s clothes for fun from time time  🙂 Recently, when I was mixing outfits between my Ever After High dolls, I noticed that Bunny dressed in Cerise’s cloak and hood looks somewhat like Wendy the Witch (a character I didn’t even know I remembered until that moment). I decided to expand on this association and celebrate this Halloween by turning Bunny into a witch – but she’s too cute to be scary  🙂

I made her a hat and a few magical accessories. To be fair, opting for a hat instead of the hood left her resemblance to Wendy significantly lessened, but I guess that’s OK.

I cannot entirely explain my inclination to dress the doll in jeans and a t-shirt. I know this isn’t proper witch attire, but I was visually pleased with this combination and it stuck. I guess the modern touch is in keeping with the spirit of Ever After High, where fairytale legacy meets fashion every day. Speaking of the series, perhaps we’ve finally found someone willing to poison Apple White so that her story can go on?

Normally Bunny would never consider poisoning anyone, but perhaps she would understand that it simply has to be done if she were in Apple’s shoes… Oh wait, she is  🙂

Just kidding, though, Bunny is too damn cute to be a real witch, she’s just cosplaying  🙂

I must admit that I wasn’t entirely pleased with colour balance in some of these photos, and had trouble trying to remedy the situation. In my defense, I had to work in quite distracting conditions…

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That’s what I get for doing the work last minute on a night like this.

Have a spellbinding Halloween  🙂

Golden leaves, Cerise Hood

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I am pleased to introduce Cerise Hood, my third Ever After High doll, in our first photo session together 🙂

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One day, when I was just beginning to discover the Ever After High brand, I was browsing through online auctions, only to see a Cerise Hood doll for the first time. At that point I didn’t understand  who would want a Little Red Riding Hood junior, when you could instead have one of the glamorous daughters of the famous princesses? But that was before I discovered the webisodes 🙂 (be forewarned, the intro plays straight away  :))

I immediately liked Cerise’s personality in the series, and the desire to own the doll soon followed.

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Cerise Hood is of course the daughter of the Little Red Riding Hood. The Little Red Riding Hood and who else, you might ask? In fact, you should ask, or better still, find out in the webisodes 🙂

Even despite the outward resemblance to her fairtytale predecessor, it is unlikely that Cerise’s story will mirror that of her mother, given that she counts herself among the Rebels. Not even the webisodes paint a clear picture of where she is headed. And that’s surprisingly intriguing.

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Being a Rebel means you get to take a bite of grandma’s lunch 🙂

(I simply must mention that this mossy stump was fantastic 🙂 I’ve noticed that some people make themed beds for their EAH dolls, however, nature has taken care of this one for me.)

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In Mattel’s own words: “Cloaked in mystery”

When I say that it was Cerise’s show personality that enticed me to buy the doll, it is by no means an indirect way of saying that Cerise is lacking visually. She is, however, a little different from other more ‘princessy’ characters, and perhaps does require a second, closer look. Her colour scheme – unique to her and preserved throughout different releases – is not one I’m used to seeing in play dolls.

In the series, miss Hood is swift and agile, has a talent for sports, and she seems to feel at home in the woods – often in solitude. But she is sweet too. I feel like a lot of this is well reflected in the doll, which to me makes it worth having over ones I used to think more attractive. Her voice in the show is also adorable, but the doll has so far refused to speak 🙂

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Cerise making her way through the thorns and branches. All in a day’s work for a Little Red Riding Hood.

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I can’t think of a doll more fitting for this autumn landscape 🙂
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Yes, it’s my third ‘aerial’ shot of a doll on this blog. It would appear I’m partial to these.

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The above photo is a variation of the one opening this post. I like them both because I feel like they capture Cerise’s character – mysterious and, in all the relative simplicity of her outward appearance – somehow alluring.

There is also a little inspiration story behind these two photos. One day I was walking through my city and I saw something that looked like a professional photo session in progress. The person being photographed was a young man in a hoodie, sitting on the stairs outside a building, his head bowed down, arms rested on his knees. This image stuck in my mind and became my inspiration for when I got to photograph my own little hooded model soon after.

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Many of these photos are very contrasty, especially compared to the previous ones with Ashlynn. My reasonable side makes me wonder if not excessively so, but at the same time something about the colours excites me.

The autumn forest is a beautiful photo set, but I also brought my own tiny leaves to make sure that Cerise looks like a Little Red Riding Hood and not one of the seven dwarfs in comparison to her surroundings. I made them from painted tissue paper using a leaf-shaped punch. I have long wanted to have one, and have finally found it, just in time!

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This unintentionally looks like “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper” 🙂

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Once again I couldn’t decide between two versions of a photo. I definitely prefer the lighting in the one above, but the second one seems to have a better composition?

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The signature Cerise Hood is a very intriguing doll, and much remains to be said about it, its clothes and accessories, and, when time is right, I will. An unexpected sunny day in the midst of deep grey autumn lured me out of my home with Cerise in my hand, but my focus was to enjoy the light, the landscape and the doll’s charm, more so than to gather proper review material. I intend to put together a separate in-depth review which will show the doll from a more ‘technical’ side – strengths, flaws and details.

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I’m hoping there will be more sunny days this October, and if not… at least we have our dolls to cheer us up 🙂

One last summer memory

The weather has just turned very autumn-like today, making it all the more clear that summer is now in the realm of memories.

This is another summer memory that I share with Ashlynn Ella, who accompanied me to the seaside.

This doll bracelet works rather well, doesn’t it? It’s a jewelry piece from craft store, it is used to separate beads in necklaces. The braid-like ornament reminds me especially of Holly O’Hair, but it fits this model and outfit no less.

I sewed the dress especially for a summer occasion like this. It is based on an in-depth tutorial by Strawberry Butterscotch. I would definitely recommend it: it can be used to make a dress for any doll, but the author gives you pre-measured dimensions to fit Ever After High dolls, and thanks to a smart workaround, there is no need to hem the neckline. I made minor changes by adding a sweetheart finish to the top, adding straps and opting for a longer skirt. I used lightweight white cotton, and, overall, ended up with something I would gladly wear at the edge of the sea myself.

In the photo, the dress bunches up a little, because I needed to anchor the doll in the sand to keep her steady without using a stand.

This little bottle would have made a nice souvenir once the photo session was over, but, unfortunately, it must have been lost on the beach. I wonder if someone was thrilled to find it.

We will have to find other ways to remember.


In a lounge chair, or another childhood doll item re-used years later:

She really looks quite Royal, though in a rather different way than the usual fairy-tale sense.

And so, the sun sets over the summer days.

The above photos on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/147182045@N05/30035751286/in/album-72157672722218701/

Ashlynn’s Beach Holiday

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Doesn’t everyone look forward to summer, the time when the weather is great, when you can take a break from everyday chores and… pack your dolls for holidays? I sure did, and months ahead.

I imagined I would be taking one of the Animators’ girls – they would be adorable posed in the sand, doing whatever toddler things toddlers do on the beach. Alas, my imaginations were confronted with reality – the reality of my suitcase which couldn’t possibly hold a 16 inch doll – not if I also wanted to take a sweater or two, anyway. And when you’re looking for the highest concentration of summer beauty per inch, Ashlynn Ella is the perfect pick. In the end, I wasn’t even disappointed with this sudden turn of events.

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Ashlynn Ella from the Mirror Beach line (with my polymer clay ice-cream)

All Ashlynn Ella dolls seem to share a few pleasant characteristics – a lovely golden complexion, green eyes and cute, natural-looking strawberry blond hair. And yet it was the Mirror Beach version that stole my heart. It all comes down to, I think, her perfect coral lips. I just love this lip colour, on her and overall (I’ve been trying to find a matching lipstick for myself, but nothing has measured up to my expectations yet).

Coral accents appear all throughout the doll’s outfit, brightening it up and holding it together. There is also a skirt, which must be made of pure magic, otherwise I don’t know why I’m so bedazzled with it. It’s light, translucent and oddly tutu-shaped for a beach cover-up, but something about its ballerina-like charm speaks irresistibly to a girl’s heart. Let’s not forget the equally magical filigree print.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I mentioned earlier that I was only able to find this doll second hand, and even so I considered myself lucky (they were long sold out everywhere). Not having much choice I had to settle for one without the sunglasses that came with the original set.

I gave her some other beach accessories instead, such as a beach towel and binoculars. The binoculars date back to my original toy collection from my childhood. They came with a confused mishmash of knock-off Barbie accessories which included an arbitrary number of shoes per type, hats, permanently closed umbrellas, golf clubs and other beauty necessities.

Also, it was my idea to braid her hair – I like her with her hair undone, but this is cute too, and makes way more sense to me  🙂 We wouldn’t want to get seaweed in her perfect hair, would we now?

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The doll’s swimsuit is very pretty. I would definitely wear it, only perhaps without the frills on the straps. I also appreciate the fact that it is separate from the skirt and can be used as a top to mix and match with other doll clothes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photographing the doll at the beach was great fun, but it turns out that not even sand is quite to scale. The ripples in the sand look more like dunes in comparison to her, and at the wrong angle the landscape takes on the appearance of a doll desert. Which could be interesting, but that’s an idea for another time.

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At least the Baltic Sea was kind enough to produce a seashell small enough for Ahslynn to enjoy 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately, the Baltic doesn’t perform quite so well when it comes to the colour of the water. But I love it anyway  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apart from the binoculars, golf clubs and such, I was also able to unearth an old Barbie photo camera. The shape was very nice, but it was one solid colour (you’ll never guess which colour ;)). My husband was nice enough to repaint it for me at 9pm the night before leaving for holidays. Because that’s when I remembered I didn’t want it (spoiler alert) pink 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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Sand everywhere…
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…and twice so, because I couldn’t make up my mind on the photos.

Somewhere at this point I was reminded that sand is the enemy of all cameras, toy ones and real ones alike. I briefly lost the tiny one altogether, but was able to miraculously find it by feeling in the sand in the spots I had visited. As for my real camera, I may have gotten a few grains of sand into the lens mechanism :S In the end I got it out without any permanent damage, but it was a scary moment.

…but since it was still on and open anyway, I proceeded to take these last few photos:

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Basking in the summer glow.

Even the doll has sand in her hair. And probably joints. But don’t worry, she was alright after rinsing a few times with tap water.

 

I enjoyed posing Ashlynn Ella at the beach – she does seem to belong there. As for the Disney dolls… maybe next year 🙂

Pretty in pink – Ashlynn Ella

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Ashlynn Ella was the second the second Ever After High doll that I set my sights on after Bunny Blanc. It so happened that the one that really charmed me was the Mirror Beach version and, alas, it seems they are all sold and gone everywhere that’s in my reach (unless you want Apple or Maddie, I saw plenty of those). I was fully satisfied when I finally I found a second-hand one online.

I decided to skip any reviews and introductions and jump right into a ‘custom’ photo shoot – I believe that a beach doll is best photographed in her basic clothing  on an actual beach, and I’m hoping that I will be able to do this in the upcoming summer months.

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In the meantime, Ashlynn is wearing a little something that I put together and enjoying spring in the local rosarium.

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The dress is based on the first pattern I’ve made from scratch. My aim was to create the simplest t-shirt pattern possible – no shoulder seams, no separate sleeves, all from one piece. Then I added the skirt part.

I like the result visually, but the back is a work in progress. The flaps are small and do not close comfortably. It sounds like a small problem, but in my one-piece pattern there is no space left to add more fabric in-between them, if that makes sense. I hope that I will sort it out and end up with a pattern worth sharing 🙂

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The shoes came with the doll, though the mold was originally used for Briar Beauty. Briar definitely isn’t the only girl who appreciates roses and rose-inspired designs.

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Ashlynn is such a beautiful, sweet doll. I’m so glad some kid out there grew out of it so that I might have it 🙂

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