Thursday, December 17

A Charlie Brown Christmas tree

I don't know who is more excited (or sentimental) about Maryellen's silver Christmas tree - Momma or Maryellen.

Momma has fond memories of her paternal grandparents' silver aluminum Christmas tree - complete with color wheel.

Aluminum Christmas trees were first made around 1955 and continued into the 1970s. The aluminum Christmas tree was even used as symbol of the commercialization of Christmas in 1965s, A Charlie Brown Christmas:

Charlie Brown: Well, this is one play that’s not going to be commercial. What our play needs is the proper Christmas mood. We need a Christmas tree. 
Lucy: Hey, perhaps a tree. A great big shiny aluminum Christmas tree! That’s it! Get the biggest aluminum tree you can find. Maybe paint it pink!

Admittedly, the tree of Momma's youth is long-gone, but this is the next best thing.


Tuesday, November 24

Salad days

Momma found The Best tutorial for dolly-sized salads at Joanne's 18" Dolls blog, so Clementine and I are happily dining upon salads this week in anticipation of Thanksgiving.

The word "salad" comes from the French salade of the same meaning, from the Latin salata (salty), from sal(salt). In English, the word first appears as "salad" or "sallet" in the 14th Century.

Romans and ancient Greeks ate mixed greens with dressing. In his 1699 book, Acetaria: A Discourse on Sallets, John Evelyn attempted with little success to encourage his fellow Britons to eat fresh salad greens. Mary, Queen of Scots, ate boiled celery root over greens covered with creamy mustard dressing, truffles, chervil, and slices of hard-boiled eggs.

(Incidentally, Mary helped popularize marmalade.  She brought it back to Scotland from France and ate it when ill - hence "Marie est malade" or marmalade.) 

The United States popularized mixed greens salads in the late 19th Century, although several other regions of the world adopted salads throughout the second half of the 20th century.

Saturday, November 14

Momma's got a toy box


Look at what Momma found for me today at Cracker Barrel!

The World's Smallest toys!

The Duncan Toys Company is an American toy manufacturer based in Middlefield, Ohio, best known for its yo-yo line. The company was founded in 1929 by Donald F. Duncan, Sr. The Imperial yo-yo is the classic model that made Duncan yo-yos famous; a fixed-axle plastic yo-yo in a traditional silhouette. Available in many colors, the Imperial is the "starter yo-yo" in the Duncan line. (She's getting the red yo-yo for Clementine today.)

Etch A Sketch is a mechanical drawing toy invented by André Cassagnes of France and subsequently manufactured by the Ohio Art Company. The Etch A Sketch was introduced on July 12, 1960 for $2.99 and sold 600,000 units that year. It was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York in 1998 and in 2003, the Toy Industry Association named Etch A Sketch to its Century of Toys List.

A Rubik's Cube is a 3-D combination puzzle invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculpter and professor of architecture Ernö Rubik. Originally called the Magic Cube, the puzzle was licensed by Rubik to be sold by Ideal Toy Corp. in 1980 via businessman Tibor Laczi and Seven Towns founder Tom Kremer, and won the German Game of the Year special award for Best Puzzle that year. As of January 2009, 350 million cubes had been sold worldwide making it the world's top-selling puzzle game. It is widely considered to be the world's best-selling toy.

Best of all? They all work!


Friday, November 13

Soft be her tears

My heart is breaking because of the news from Paris.

More than 100 people are dead.

More than one hundred.

Neither Momma nor I have been to Paris, but Grandmomma and my Big Cousins have. Grace (who is joining our Family this Christmas!) has been there.

It doesn't matter where. Or when. This senseless killing must stop.


Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.

Sunday, November 8

Now that's motivation

Momma and I were browsing Etsy when we stumbled across Megan Lee Studio: Science, Astronomy, & Geek Chic Designs.

Using art to inspire science, education, and celebrate the joys of learning, reading, and showing off your nerdy geek pride!

I love her designs and ideas. My two favorites?

Women Inspire Science featuring:
  • Ada Lovelace
  • Marie Curie
  • Lise Meitner
  • Cecelia Payne
  • Barbara McClintock
  • Grace Hopper
  • Rachel Carson
  • Rosalind Franklin
  • Esther Lederberg
  • Jane Goodall
  • Jocelyn Bell Burnell
  • Mae Jemison
  • (And space for Your's Truly!)

 and Tea & Books Make the World Brighter.

Which are your favorites?

Saturday, November 7

Sonic boom

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Doctor Who?

Neither Momma nor I cared much for Peter Capaldi, the twelfth Doctor much ... until this season. 

Showrunner, writer and producer Steven Moffat made some wonderful changes this series - making the Doctor warmer and switching the sonic screwdriver for sonic sunglasses.

"As of now every kid with glasses is Doctor Who! Kid whose parents don't want to shell out for a Sonic Screwdriver toy, just put on a pair of sunglasses, you're Doctor Who! And best of all, every pin-brained celebrity walking into a party with shades on is now cosplaying Doctor Who!"

My secret is out.

Tuesday, October 20

Frightfully tall ghoulfriends

Momma is over the moon with the introduction of the tall, taller, tallest Monster High dolls.

In case I haven't mentioned it before, Momma is Above Average. Nine inches above the U.S. average to be exact. (In case you don't know, 5'6" is the U.S. average!) Her buddy Jen is no slouch either at 6'1".

Being so tall, Momma has always liked height recognition, so she was thrilled to hear Monster High was breaking the 12" doll mold.

(Yes, they've had the Big Sister mold, but now they're using it for contemporary classmates, instead of older sisters or Headless Headmistress Bloodgood.)

First they introduced Marisol Coxi. Then they brought out the 17" Gooliope Jellington - and 17" Clawdeen, Draculaura, and Frankie!

Finally, just when she thought they'd hit the height limits, Walmart introduced their two 28" Gore-geous Ghoul dolls!

Give your Beast Freaky Friend a complete spook-over! She's always got her eye on the newest trends — watch her transform her look and eye color with just a wink. Style your ghoul with plug and play accessories and doodle deadly designs using creepstastic chalk pens.
Monster High Voltageous Ghoul Friend:
  • Age Range: 6 years and up
  • 28" Gore-geous Ghoul
  • Style your ghoul with plug and play accessories
  • Includes 23 Freaky Fab pieces: 28" Gore-geous Ghoul, interchangeable mask with carrying jar, headband with ears, glasses, eye mask, 1 pair of earrings, hair extension, 2 sets of hands, 2 wings, 2 leg vines, 2 sets of boot covers, 2 chalk markers, 1 sticker sheet and 1 tattoo sheet
  • 2 assorted styles sold separately
  • Green or purple

Both are gorgeous, other than their inflexible knees and weird blobby feet. The purple version seems more complete though. She has ribbons lacing up the back of her boot covers (the green ghoul does not) and her colors match better. The green ghoul's hands are a slightly different shade than her body.

What's up with that?

Now we're anxiously awaiting the 17" Maddie Hatter from Ever After High.

I hope she comes with Eat Me cakes!

Saturday, October 17

Tools of the trade

Eek! I am so excited! 

Momma has found me my very own tool-chest and is stocking it with mini tools for me!

The tool-chest is a tin gift card holder from Lowe's, and the mini tools are keychains from Oriental Trading Company:

I'm busy stocking it with tiny nails, screws, and hose-clamps. Whee!

Thursday, October 15

Fright-Mare before Christmas

I'm a finely tuned Fright-Mare who's geared to trot like a top. I believe precision makes the world go round and that includes getting my name right. It's P-E-N-E-P-O-L-E! Please pronounce it precisely.

I create clockwork pieces that are part functional, part art. All my beasties have received at least one as a gift.

Screampunk! I like to take 19th century fashions, add bits of brass – like gears and maybe some goggles – and make something mane-ificent!

Don't mistake my love of all-things-vintage to mean I'm not a forward-galloping ghoul.

It's a challenge for me to prance-straight through other monsters' dreams where time gets so muddled.

Monday, October 12

Sentimental journey

Momma has been mourning the death of her one and only aunt.

Aunt Barbara was a childhood doll collector who shared her love with dolls with Momma. She gave Momma one of Momma's most prized dolls, Belinda, and they spent many delightful hours talking about dolls.

Momma and Aunt Barbara loved to peruse the early Pleasant Company catalogues featuring the original trio, Kirsten, Samantha, and Molly.

Aunt Barbara (who was born in 1928) particularly liked Molly. (Heck, she even looked like Molly - down to the braids and glasses!) Each item in Molly's collection could trigger a flood of memories and hours of conversation.

So which American Girl doll was Momma's first?

My Big Sister got Kirsten and Addy for Christmas 2006. It was the first time Momma had actually seen and held an American Girl doll, and she fell in love.

Momma quickly found some online groups dedicated to Pleasant Company/American Girl dolls where several people mentioned finding used dolls at Goodwill. Skeptical, Momma stopped by after work and found a beautiful Pleasant Company Molly for only $9.95! (Her one and only time, I might add.)

Goodwill Molly has become a mini Aunt Barbara over the past eight years. She has her drop-leaf kitchen table like we have, Kit's roll-top desk and typewriter, and other goodies that remind her of Aunt Barbara and other family stories.

RIP, Aunt Barbara. We shall meet again in the giant dollhouse in the sky.

Saturday, October 10

Gore-geous accessories

While poor Momma is mourning the death of her only aunt, I wanted to share that I finally found a Gore-geous Accessories Robecca Steam doll!

Parties, dances, the maul... the li-bury! So many things to do and monsters to see on a busy ghoul's calendar. An on-the-go monsterista knows that the most important accessory in her closet is a gore-geous bag for any occassion!

I love her, but couldn't Mattel spring for new designs? One of her two purses is the same mold (but a different color) as her Meet purse.

Tuesday, September 29

Wolf in rabbit's clothing?

Momma and I were checking out the latest Madame Alexander catalogue looking for information about Steampunk Red Riding Hood when we saw this:

"Steampunk Red Riding Hood includes monocle, binoculars, pocket watch, shoulder bag with rabbits foot"

Rabbits foot?

Did we miss something?

Sunday, September 20

Counting puppies

I must admit I am Quite Amused watching Momma make a fool of herself over the new BeForever girl, Maryellen. (I was very surprised that Sissy didn't get her!)

Momma is the same age as Julie, but eras can blend easily when you're raised in a small town. Momma relates a bit more to the 1950s than she does the 1960s for many reasons, including the wearing of hand-me-downs from her older cousins. 

But one of the things Momma likes best about Maryellen is Scooter.

Scooter is Maryellen's lovable dachshund dog. He's short and stout with soft tan fur and sweet brown eyes—and he's always looking for a comfortable place to rest.

And with Maryellen's Sofa Bed Set,

In the 1950s, autograph books took on a new form—as stuffed animals! This set also comes with a dachshund-shaped toy dog printed with the names of Maryellen's classmates.

Momma's family has had dachshunds for as long as she can remember. (Girl of the Year Lindsey has always been one of her favorites, but she was disappointed Mr. Tiny was never made.) So you can imagine her excitment when she spotted the new Counting Puppies pajamas from Target. Even the turquoise and pink colors are nearly perfect for Maryellen.

I'm detecting a couple of trends here, aren't you?

Saturday, September 12

How to make an American Girl quilt

American Girl
Momma and I are both Quite Pleased that American Girl is giving the BeForever girls some long overdue attention. Not only are new items being added, but old items are being freshened up.

In particular, my doppelgänger's Bed and Bedding.

Once Addy and her family move into the boarding house, she has a bed of her own for the very first time. It features:
  • A sturdy wooden bedframe with an authentic “fly-specked” finish
  • A checkered pillow trimmed in ruffles
  • A muslin mattress that’s supported by woven rope instead of bedsprings, as was typical in Addy’s day
  • A beautifully detailed quilt—inspired by a Civil War era design—with nine squares depicting Addy’s family album
They kept the quilt! They kept the rope bed! The pillow has been changed from the realistic plain muslin to one with ruffles, but I don't care.
They kept the quilt!

Tuesday, August 25

American Girl Scottsdale: Grand Opening

At long last, the Grand Opening for American Girl Scottsdale was Saturday and Sunday, August 22 and 23.

We were told during the soft opening tour that about 9,000 people were expected to attend the two-day Grand Opening. 

Scottsdale Quarter responded well to the demand. Free crafts, activities, photo ops, free chilled water, doll drawings, and entertainment were generously provided during the entire Grand Opening weekend.

A ticket system was used for the AGS Grand-Opening to manage guests' waiting times and observe fire-safety regulations. Each person (including children) who wished to enter the store received a ticket with an assigned group number.

We couldn't go Saturday because Momma had to work (phooey!) but we monitored the progress throughout the day. Ticket distribution began Saturday at 7 a.m. One grandmother (who began the line at 2 a.m.!) was the first and both her granddaughters received a free doll.

Group one entered the store at 9 a.m. Each person who entered the store got a free gift. (We got a book on Sunday, but I don't know if everyone got the same thing.)

Those who had higher numbered tickets could leave or shop elsewhere. Text alerts were sent out telling people when their group was up. To the best of my knowledge, 66 groups made it through the doors on Saturday before the crowd diminished enough for the ticketing system to be abandoned for the day.

Finally, Sunday was our turn!

We awoke early and made the 20 minute drive to Scottsdale Quarter. We arrived after the 8 a.m. ticketing began, but we still got group nine tickets!

We had our photo taken then Momma and My Big Sister played on the splash pad while I made friends. It wasn't long before it was 10 a.m. and first group was allowed in! After another 30-40 minutes it was our turn!

We were familiar with the store because we were there Wednesday, so we headed straight for Maryellen - which wasn't hard since she had the place of honor up front. (We were spoiled after practically having the place to ourselves on Wednesday, but it was exhilarating to be surrounded by other doll enthusiasts.)

We spent nearly an hour looking things (Maryellen) over and noting future purchases (Maryellen) before we decided to leave and make room for others.

We continued to monitor the store's progress, but the crowds were significantly reduced on Sunday. As far as I know, the tickets were abandoned after group 16 went in!

In conclusion, we love having an AG store so close to us. Yes, it's smaller but it has a nice assortment and we definitely like the emphasis on the historic/BeForever dolls.   

Well done, Scottsdale Quarter and American Girl Scottsdale. Well done.

You can Rest Assured we'll be back soon!!! 

American Girl Scottsdale: Soft Opening

What a day!

After an Exhausting couple of months with a job change for Momma and a month of illness for Grandmomma (including six surgeries!) we took a day for ourselves on Wednesday, August 19 and went to the Soft Opening for the new American Girl Scottsdale store!

The Grand Opening was Saturday and Sunday, August 22 and 23, but they quietly opened the store three days earlier for friends, family, and the media ... and for the new staff to get used to the computers and software before the hoards descend Saturday morning.

Whee! Talk about a kid in the proverbial candy store!

Momma and I met Susan, an American Girl public relations person who flew in from Wisconsin that morning. She asked if we had ever been to an American Girl store (yes, AGPLA), and gave us a tour of the new 12,000 square foot facility.

We were both Very Pleased to find the BeForever section at the very front of the store. Heading clockwise you got to see each doll displayed with her collection. Some were in cases but some were out for people to touch and feel.

The bistro was closed to the public, but the staff was serving the family and friends of employees for experience. (When Momma returned later with my Big Sister it was empty.) The bistro does include a teeny-tiny private dining room for parties - how fun!

The rest room has the doll hangers in both the stalls and by the sink. Momma insisted she take my photo there. How rude.

We checked out the Hair Salon where my Dear Friend Emily was getting her hair done, and saw the Creativi-Tees area. I want the "Stand Tall" T-shirt!

Can I tell you how much I want the Bride of Frankenstein costume wig?! It was even better in person!

We checked out Girl of the Year Grace. Grace's Pâtisserie is to die for, and Grace and BonBon will definitely be joining us later this year.

Having the new store Finally Open was exciting, but we could not wait for the Grand Opening and to meet Maryellen!

American Girl Scottsdale: Grand Opening to come!

Wednesday, August 19

The One and Only

Don't you think I deserve a my own spot?
What a day!

After an exhausting couple of months with a job change for Momma and a month of illness for Grandmomma (including six surgeries!) we took a day for ourselves and went to the soft opening for the new American Girl Scottsdale store!

The Grand Opening is Saturday and Sunday, August 22 and 23, but they opened the store three days early for friends, family, and the media ... and for the new staff to get used to the computers and software before the hordes descend Saturday morning.

Whee! Talk about a kid in the proverbial candy store!

I'll write more (photographs, too!) over the next few days, but I had to tell you the Inside Scoop!

Maryellen, the newest BeForever girl, will be available this weekend in Scottsdale - five days before the national debut!

Maryellen wants to stand out, but with five brothers and sisters, it's not so easy. Giving herself a haircut doesn't go quite the way she expects—and when she draws a cartoon of her teacher on the first day of fourth grade, she draws more attention than she wants! At least her drawing skills help her make an interesting new friend. Together they might be able to win the Geography Bee—but only if Maryellen can find a way to make her old friends overcome their prejudice.
The One and Only, the first volume of the Maryellen's stories about growing up in the 1950s, tells how Maryellen learns to stand out and be her own person.

American Girl Scottsdale Grand-Opening Celebration
August 22: 9 a.m.
August 23: 10 a.m.

Discover the newest American Girl store, coming soon to Scottsdale Quarter! You and your girl are invited to join in the fun during our grand-opening weekend. She’ll enjoy free crafts, exciting activities, and doll drawings, and receive a FREE gift—just for attending! Gift available while supplies last. Scottsdale Quarter, Scottsdale AZ - Grand Opening Ticket Entry Process:

  • To manage guests’ waiting times and observe fire-safety regulations, a ticket system will be used for the American Girl Scottsdale – Scottsdale Quarter Grand-Opening Weekend.
  • Each person (including children) who wishes to enter the store will receive a ticket with an assigned group number.
  • We recommend parking in the Scottsdale Quarter parking structures: South Garage, East entrance.
  • A-frame signs will be set out to assist customers
  • American Girl guests are recommended to visit the Quad at the shopping center located by the fountain as their first stop to obtain tickets for entrance into the store.
  • Ticket distribution for Saturday admittance begins at 7 a.m. on Saturday, August 22nd.
  • Saturday tickets are valid for Saturday only.
  • Ticket distribution for Sunday admittance begins at 8 a.m. on Sunday, August 23rd.
  • Sunday tickets are valid for Sunday only.
  • Overnight camping is not allowed on property.
  • When the store opens each day, groups will be announced in numerical order for admittance through the American Girl entrance adjacent to the main entrance on 73rd.
  • You can shop or dine in Scottsdale Quarter until your group number is called. If you have a Bistro reservation, you can come directly to the ticket-distribution table, as check-in is allowed up to two hours prior to your Bistro reservation time. The ticket-distribution table will be located outside the store.
  • Facebook message alerts will be available, providing updates on group numbers being admitted; details below.
  • Access the event page starting Saturday, August 22nd on your mobile device
  • Once Facebook is open, search “American Girl
  • When on the page, scroll down until “Upcoming Events” section appears on the American Girl Facebook page.
  • The Scottsdale events will be the most recent posting, make sure to look at the correct date.
  • Simply hit “Join” right there on the page.
  • Check Facebook settings to make sure notifications are on otherwise check back on event page for live updates
  • Text Message alerts will be available as well, providing updates on group numbers being admitted; details below.
  • You may sign up for text alerts by texting AGSQ to 444222 (message and data rates may apply). For SMS Terms and Conditions + Privacy Policy visit
  • You can also follow Scottsdale Quarter on Facebook at Facebook/Scottsdale Quarter
  • American Girl is not responsible for compatibility issues or technical difficulties with technological devices.
  • Event staff and security officers will also be able to assist with information on what group numbers are being called.
  • American Girl reserves the right to stop ticket distribution at any time based on space and time-frame constraints.

Also, Valerie Tripp is scheduled to appear in Scottsdale from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7.
Tripp is best known for her American Girl historical/BeForever characters: Felicity, Elizabeth, Josefina, Samantha, Nellie, Kit, Ruthie, Molly, Emily, and Maryellen.

Wednesday, July 8

There's a place for us

Ooh, the excitement is palpable around here!

American Girl Scottsdale is scheduled to open in 44 days!

Momma and my Big Sister and I went by the new location earlier today, but sadly, there was nothing to see other than construction workers going about their business.

However, since the new store is only 20 minutes away, Momma and I shall go by weekly and keep you, My Faithful Subjects, well informed.

We were excited to see the Scottsdale store map online. I thoroughly approve of the layout so far.

American Girl Place Los Angeles has the books and Girl of the Year as the primary focus when you first walk in. You have to go upstairs and search for the historic (Be Forever) sections. American Girl Scottsdale will have the Be Forever section front and center!

I hope my doppelgänger Addy is the Very First One to see!


Tuesday, June 16

Be a doll

My friend Ahmie has passed, but her suffering little sister is still here and needs our help.

Apparently Aishah's 18 inch doll is in desperate need of clothes and shoes. 

Can you help? If so, please email me at steampunkaddie (at) gmail dot com.

Thank you, from the bottom of my Build-a-Bear heart, thank you.

Monday, June 15

The mother of invention

I do not know how this was released without My Notice, but look at this new steampunk pattern from Pixie Faire!
It is the Inventor who uses their talent and imagination to create the marvels of the steampunk world. Ceaseless tinkering, designing and occasionally blowing things up – the Inventor is a quintessential steampunk archetype.
The steampunk movement is built on Victorian science fiction. As such, steampunk fashion uses the Victorian and Edwardian eras as a basis and builds from there. One steampunk blogger advises "dress Victorian and then add". It's the additions – gears and gadgets - that make steampunk so fun. This pattern bundle includes not only the basic clothing pieces – Knickerbockers, Shirt and Utility Bustle – but also some fun goggles!  This PDF sewing pattern is designed to fit 18 inch dolls such as American Girl®.

Sunday, June 14

Adventure now or tea first?

Ahh, there's nothing like a relaxing Sunday at home with my Big Sister, a bracing cup of tea, and watching Jason Isaac's delicious performance as Mr. Darling/Captain Hook in the 2003 moving picture Peter Pan to cheer one up.

We'd been kind of melancholy about Ahmie's death, when Momma's sister-in-law arrived with British tea fresh from her European vacation.


Then my Big Sister started watching Peter Pan, the first authorized and faithful moving picture or television adaptation of J.M. Barrie's
1904 play and 1911 novel since Disney's 1953 cartoon version.

Jason Isaacs (whom we met at Phoenix Comicon 15!) is amusing as Mr. Darling, but he excels as Captain Hook. 

Yes, life is good.