Review of the New Hearts for Hearts Doll, Nyesha

Hearts for Hearts Doll Nyesha Review

Meet Nyesha, one of the two newest dolls from the Hearts for Hearts collection by Playmates Toys.  I have been stalking Target patiently waiting for this doll since her prototype photos began circulating after the 2014 Toy Fair in February.  You can read an excellent report about the H4H debuts at the Toy Fair, which included the unveiling of not only Nyesha but also Surjan from Nepal, by Char at Doll Diaries.

Hearts for Hearts has an unfortunate tendency of going silent on their Facebook page for long stretches of time, so collectors have been left hanging as to the general release date of the new dolls.  There were rumors that the release had been pushed back to 2015 so I’d pretty much given up hope of finding Nyesha anytime soon.

And then last Saturday happened.   My daughter attended a birthday party near a Target that I don’t usually frequent, so I decided to kill a little time in the toy aisle before picking her up.  I started in the Our Generation section, slim pickin’s.. Surprise! (not).  The Hearts for Hearts section is typically right next to OG and .. gasp.. there she was! Not only one Nyesha doll, but two.  And Surjan!  And quite a few of the other dolls as well.  I debated getting both Surjan and Nyesha, but then felt a bit guilty buying toys for myself so close to Christmas.  Heh.

I brought her home and stripped the box.  Would she be as gorgeous as her Toy Fair prototype?

Nyesha Doll Prototype H4H dolls

Well… almost.

Hearts for Hearts Nyesha

There are a couple of changes between the prototype and the actual production run dolls.  One easy to identify change is her hair.  Nyesha’s hair is not as gorgeous as the promo photos would lead you to believe, and it’s very, VERY prone to frizz.  My doll came out of the box with some frizz which only got worse as I gently worked with her.  If you purchase this doll for a child, be forewarned that the hair won’t look nice for long.

Hearts for Hearts Nyesha
That said, it’s not horrible, and this is a 25ish dollar doll, so given the manufacturing constraints at that price point, I’m not shaking any judgey fingers at Hearts for Hearts.  I just wish they wouldn’t bother teasing us with unrealistic, higher quality prototypes.

There’s also something different about the face mold that I can’t quite put my finger on.  My Nyesha doll’s face is still beautiful, but decidedly different then the Toy Fair prototype.

Hearts for Hearts Nyesha

Despite these little let downs, I’m not disappointed in my purchase.  Nyesha is a lovely addition to my collection, photographs beautifully, and I’m happy to have her. I’ll let you know how her hair holds up over time.  Her clothing is decent quality, especially for the price point, and I’m particularly impressed with her vinyl sneakers which are a step up from the usual molded plastic throw-away quality of most department store dolls.

Hearts for Hearts received criticism with their 2013 release (the Shola and Mosi dolls) for the prototype clothing being downgraded significantly for the production dolls.  It’s not that the downgrade was entirely unexpected, but they didn’t change the box art to reflect the changes, so customers found that the box contents were not accurately depicted by the photos on the box.  This time around, Nyesha’s clothing appears to be identical to the box art.  It remains to be seen whether consumers will react negatively to the slightly different face mold and lower quality hair which are one again inaccurately depicted (at least in my opinion) by the box art.

As I mentioned, I found Nyesha at Target for $25.99.  According to the Playmates Toys website, you may also find the Hearts for Hearts dolls at Toys R Us, Walmart, Meijer, Kmart, and Barnes & Noble.   If you don’t feel like driving or calling around to your local brick and mortars, you can often find these dolls online.  As of this writing, you can get both Nyesha and Surjan along with quite a few of the Hearts for Hearts Girls from Amazon at near-retail pricing.

Be advised that the prices swing wildly for these dolls online, and while Nyesha and Surjan are currently widely available, the pricing will be decent.  But as the holiday season approaches and the first wave of dolls are snapped up from the stores (both by consumers and resellers), the prices will almost inevitably sky rocket.  As with Our Generation, Hearts for Hearts has been known to have some distribution issues, and as demand exceeds supply.. well, I’m sure you know what happens!

I made a video review of Nyesha if you’d like to see her in a little more detail.  In the video, I compare her in size to my Corolle Les Cheries, Paola Reina, and our American Girl doll Meggie (aka Cecile).

I’ll leave you with a few more pictures of the newest small friend posing with her new vinyl sisters.  I’d love to hear your impressions of the Hearts for Hearts Girls!

Hearts for Hearts Nyesha

Hearts for Hearts Nyesha

Hearts for Hearts Nyesha

Hearts for Hearts Nyesha and American Girl Doll Cecile

Cozy Hat and Mittens Patterns and Tutorial

Make a Cozy Hat and Mittens for your 18 inch Doll


  • Cozy Hat and Mittens Pattern Sheet
  • 1/4 yard knit fabric –or– recycled sweater. Polyester fleece is a great fabric choice to make this project fast, fun, and EASY!
  • Coordinating polyester thread
  • Sewing machine –or– hand sewing needle
  • [Optional] Embellishments for the hat – ribbon, buttons, felt flowers, etc.

IMPORTANT – Be sure to download and save the patterns to your hard drive and print at “Actual Size” from a PDF reader like Adobe Reader.  If you print directly from your browser, the patterns may not print at the correct scale.



1.  Cut four squares of fabric, using the dashed box on the pattern sheet as a guide.  For the wrist bands of the mittens, you can cut either four squares measuring 2″ x 2″ – or- if you are using a recycled sweater and have some pre-finished edging (from the bottom of the sweater or sleeves), cut four rectangles measuring 2″ x 3/4″ using the finished edging as one of the longer 2 inch sides.

Hat and Mitten Tutorial

2.  Make a fabric sandwich with two squares of fabric, right sides together. Make sure to align the fabric squares so that they stretch in the same direction and in the direction indicated on the pattern.    Cut out the mitten template from your pattern sheet and pin it to the center of your fabric sandwich.

Hat and Mitten Tutorial3.  Using the paper template as a guide, sew around the mitten shape, starting at one black dot and finishing at the other, making sure to back stitch a few times at the beginning and the end of the seam.

Again using the template as a guide, trim away the excess fabric sandwich, cutting close to your sewing line.  If you are using a knit that will fray, you can go over the seam you just sewed with a short, narrow zig zag stitch to keep the inside of the mitten neat and make it more durable. If you are using fleece fabric, you can skip the zig zag, you will not need to finish any of the edges.

Very carefully snip a “v” between the thumb and fingers, taking care not to snip into your stitching.


4.  Turn your mitten right side out.  If you are using new fabric, fold one of the 2″ x 2″ squares in half, wrong sides together.  Align the raw edge with one side of the bottom of the mitten and pin.  Sew in place with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Be sure not to catch the other bottom side of the mitten as you sew (which would close up the wrist opening!).   I found it easiest to fold the other side of the mitten back and sew from the  “inside” of the mitten.  Trim the seam allowance to a scant 1/8″.

Hat and Mitten Tutorial

Repeat with a second 2″ x 2″ wristband piece, sewing to the other side of the mitten.

Hat and Mitten Tutorial


5.  Turn your mitten inside out again, and pin.  Sew the open sides of the mitten closed (see white dotted line below) back stitching several times at the wrist openings to secure the seams.

Hat and Mitten Tutorial

Turn your mitten right side out and admire your work!  Repeat steps to make the second mitten.

Hat and Mitten Tutorial


Cozy Hat

1. Using the printed pattern as a guide, cut 5 panels of fabric or recycled sweater for your hat plus one rectangle for your hat band.  If you are using new fabric, your hat band rectangle should measure 10-1/2″ x 2″.  If you are using a recycled sweater and have enough finished edge available, cut your rectangle 10-1/2″ x 1″, using the finished edge for one of the long sides.

Hat and Mitten Tutorial


2.  Pin two of the hat panels together, right sides facing. Sew along one long side with a 1/4″ seam allowance (as indicated by the white dotted line in the picture below). Pin a third panel to two you just sewed together, right sides facing, and again sew along one long side.  Continue in this fashion until all five panels are sewn together.

Hat and Mitten Tutorial

3. Fold your hat in half, right side in, aligning the long sides of the outermost two panels.  Pin and sew the panels together, which finishes the crown of your hat.

American Girl Doll Hat and Mitten Tutorial and free pattern

Trim seam allowances to a scant 1/8″.  If you are using a knit fabric that will unravel or fray, stitch over each seam allowance with a short and narrow zig zag stitch to finish.  This step is unnecessary if you are using polyester fleece.


4.  Fold the fabric rectangle for your hat band in half, right sides together, aligning the short ends.  Sew short ends together with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Trim seam allowance to a scant 1/8″.  If you are upcycling a sweater and have a finished edge, you can skip to step 5.   You’ll use the circle you just sewed for the hat band.

If you are using new fabric (no pre-finished edge), fold in half again lengthwise, wrong side in, right side out, creating the hat band.

Hat and Mitten Tutorial

5. Align and pin the raw edge of the hat band to the raw edge of the hat crown, right sides together.  Sew the band to the crown with a 1/4″ seam allowance, stretching the hat band slightly as you sew to fit it to the crown.  Trim the seam allowance to a scant 1/8″ and finish with a short and narrow zig zag if desired.

Hat and Mitten Tutorial

You’re finished! You can embellish your hat with buttons, ribbons, or flowers if you’d like. I will be sending the MSF Newsletter subscribers an idea sheet for embellishments next week, so be sure to subscribe if you’d like to receive that email.

18 inch doll free sewing pattern for winter hat mittens

Beforever Mini Doll Review – American Girl Kit Kittredge

There’s a new Small Friend in town, and this little girl is extra small!

Beforever Kit American Girl Mini Doll Review

American Girl mini doll Kit Kittredge found her way into the MSF collection this week!   The Beforever minis are available on the American Girl website, but I have consistently found them to be a few dollars less expensive on Amazon.  I’ve also spotted the minis on the Barnes & Noble website and retail stores,, Costco and Sam’s Clubs, and occasionally in Target stores.  The packaging and pricing may vary, along with the size of the included book(s).  The online pricing for these dolls tends to bounce around, so keep your eyes open for a good deal.  For example, as of this writing, the Beforever Rebecca mini doll is $17.58 on Amazon while the rest of the AG minis are $21 or more.!

As with most of the historical collection, Beforever brought changes to the American Girl minis.  Most notably, all of the face molds were updated and the dolls’ torsos are now made of vinyl instead of cloth.  Additionally, if the full sized version of the Beforever doll got a new meet outfit, so did her mini counterpart.


The AG Minis

The mini abridged books that accompany the dolls were also updated, but this “update” can only be considered a “downgrade”.  In the photo below, the book “Really Truly Ruthie” came with the previous version of the mini Ruthie doll, while the Beforever Kit book, “Read All About It!” is the new mini book format.

Not only have the new Beforever mini books become considerably more miniature, but they have lost their hard cover, accompanying dust jacket, and illustrations, too.  Pfffft.


Beforever Mini Doll Mini Books

I like the face mold updates on all of the new minis, especially Kit’s!  Beforever mini Kit looks younger and sweeter to me.  Neither version exactly replicates the full sized doll, but in my opinion, the new Kit better captures the essence of the character.

American Girl Mini Doll Kit Comparison


American Girl Mini Doll – Beforever Video Review

Below is a video review of my new mini Kit.  Included are a few more pictures and comparisons to the previous mini dolls and a look inside the mini books as well.


Have you added any of the Beforever mini dolls to your collection?  I’d love to hear your opinions on the changes.  I’m really enjoying my new mini Kit but ultimately I do wish she had the older style squishy cloth body and the hardcover  illustrated book.


The AG Beforever Minis - Kit, Addy, and Ruthie

Skeletons and Pandas and Elsas, Oh MY!

American Girl Doll School Halloween Party


American Girl Doll School Halloween Party Kanani


It’s all fun and games at the Many Small Friends school Halloween party, until the lights go out!



Are your dolls dressed for Trick or Treating?  MSF reader Sophie sent me this picture of her girls in the costumes she made last year:


Sophie's AG Dolls - Halloween Witch Costumes

Sophie made these costumes from supplies she found at the dollar store!  What?!?  It’s real-life Dolly Project Runway and Sophie totally made it work.  😀 I’m particularly in love with the hats.

If you want to see how she cast her magical spell on dollar store supplies, check out her guest post on Karen Mom of Three’s Craft Blog.


I’d love to see your costumes and Halloween displays, too!

If you’d like to share your work, you can post your pics on our dolly Facebook page or email me to post for you.  Be sure to send me a link to your [blog /Instagram /Flickr/etc.]  if you’d like your photo linked.

How to Make a Panda Costume for your Doll

How to make a Panda Costume for American Girl

So I had leftover foam sheets and t-shirt scraps after my impromptu Skeleton costume tutorialWhat’s a girl to do, but make another costume?


Panda Halloween Costume for Kanani


This costume requires a tiny bit more sewing then the skeleton costume, but no painting.  Since you don’t have to wait for paint to dry, this is a fabulous and fast last minute doll costume.

Can you see how easy it would be to use this formula to make a huge variety of Halloween costumes for your dolls?  Change the mask to penguin : Boom. Penguin Costume.  Or change the colors to red and brown and make a fox!  Make a kitty!  How about a dragon? The possibilities are endless.

If you make a costume for your doll (even if you don’t use MSF patterns) will you post pictures on our Facebook page?  I’d love to see!


Materials for the Panda Costume

In addition to the black knit fabric or human-sized black t-shirt to cut up, and the black and white foam sheets, you’ll also need a few scraps of black, white, and red felt.  You could probably substitute other fabrics you have on hand, but felt is so versatile and easy to work with, I always keep some on hand for dolly projects.

Download the Panda Costume Pattern Sheet – Pants, Paws, and Mask

Download the Long Sleeve T-Shirt Pattern  from the Scientific Seamstress

IMPORTANT – Be sure to download and save the patterns to your hard drive and print at “Actual Size” from a PDF reader like Adobe Reader.  If you print directly from your browser, the patterns may not print at the correct scale.

I put together a 5 minute video tutorial on YouTube to show you how to make the Panda Costume. Kanani told me it was about time she got the starring roll in a Many Small Friends video I think she’s a natural.

A note that bears repeating from the Skeleton costume, remember that black fabrics sometimes contain a lot of dye that can stain your doll.  It’s best to pre-wash your fabric or the t-shirt you cut up for this project before you start.  And just to be safe, don’t leave your doll in her costume for an extended period of time or in a very hot environment (like a hot car or in a sunny window).  She’ll be fine for Trick-or-Treating, but don’t leave her in her costume til the New Year!

Panda Halloween Costume for American Girl Doll Kanani or any 18 inch doll

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Boo! Skeleton Costume Pattern and Tutorial

Make Your Doll a Halloween Costume

Free Pattern and Tutorial for American Girl or 18 Inch Doll

Skeleton Costume Pattern Tutorial for American Girl DollThis was NOT the pattern and tutorial I planned to publish this week.  I have a fun pendant necklace project and quickie Halloween bunting tutorial that I’ve been working on, but this is one of those project ideas that refused to be ignored.

I went to Michael’s in search of a specific decoration for the small friends’ classroom Halloween party, and came home instead with all the materials for this project.  Despite my best efforts to convince myself I really did not have the time, my hands independently added a black t-shirt, 2 foam sheets, and white acrylic paint to my basket.   Does that ever happen to you?

Anyway, I’m glad I gave in, because I’m very pleased with the end result, even though the time required to hone the technique, draw and digitize the pattern,  take photos, and write up this post has eaten up most of the weekend. We must suffer for our art, right? 😉


So are you ready to get started?

Here’s what you’ll need to make your 18 inch doll her very own skeleton costume. Don’t worry, it’s really fun, easy, and fairly quick (the most time consuming step is literally waiting for paint to dry)!

Ada's Skeleton Costume


  • 1/3 yard of black knit fabric -or- 1 black t-shirt to cut up.
  • White paint and foam or stipple brush used for stenciling.  I used inexpensive acrylic paint and a foam brush.
  • White and black foam sheets -or- white and black felt.
  • A few inches of elastic -or- ribbon -or- yarn for the mask.
  • Sewing machine, iron, and coordinating thread.
  • Glue.  I used Alene’s Tacky Glue.
  • Tape or pins to adhere your paper Bone templates to your fabric.


Ada's Skeleton Costume

You will also need a few patterns, all of which are FREE! 

Be sure to download the patterns to your hard drive and print at “Actual Size” from a PDF reader like Adobe Reader.  If you print directly from your browser, the patterns may not print at the correct scale.

A note about the Scientific Seamstress pattern.  I have been aware of this free pattern for years and it is readily Google-able, but I could not find where the Scientific Seamstress. Carla, has posted about this pattern on her website. I would prefer to link to the pattern via her site, but since I couldn’t find the proper page, I linked directly to the download link which I found via Google.  I do want to give her a MAJOR shout out, as I have enjoyed her patterns for years, and if you are not familiar with her work, check her out at The Scientific Seamstress.

1.  Cut the pieces for the long sleeved top and pants from your fabric.

**IMPORTANT – Add about 1/2 inch length to the bottom of the long sleeved t-shirt Front and Back pattern pieces so that the painted Bones will all fit.

TIPS – I love cutting up t-shirts for doll clothes because I can use the pre-made hems!  Align your doll t-shirt pieces and pants pieces along the hems when you cut and save yourself lots of work.  This is particularly useful for the top of the Skeleton Pants.


2.  Cut apart the paper Bones pattern on the dotted lines.

Separate the chest piece, the two arm pieces, and the two leg pieces.  Carefully cut out the Bones, creating a template for you to paint the Bones onto your fabric. Tape or pin the paper template pieces to your fabric, aligning as shown. Note that the Arm Bones and Leg Bones are NOT aligned in the center of the sleeve and pant leg pieces, but are shifted off center.  This is very important for the correct positioning of the Bone designs on your finished costume.

TIP – Trace the paper templates and cut the bone designs from freezer paper or fusible embroidery stabilizer. Then, you can iron the freezer paper or stabilizer templates directly onto your fabric, paint, then peel off the templates after the paint dries.  This makes your painted edges very crisp and also ensures that your templates won’t slip around as you paint.

Skeleton for Dolls Tutorial

3.  Paint your Bones on the fabric pieces.

I used inexpensive white acrylic paint.  Use a foam sponge or stipple brush to apply the paint, in an up and down vertical “stamping” motion, rather then side to side strokes.  This will help to keep the paint within the boundaries of the paper templates and keep the edges of your design nice and crisp.

Skeleton for Dolls Tutorial

Avoid overloading your brush with paint, a little bit goes a long way! It’s better to do multiple thin coats, letting each coat dry between the next coat, if you want a thicker paint application.  I found one coat of acrylic paint to be just right.

Be sure to paint on a washable surface or with scrap paper behind your fabric, as some paint may bleed through the fabric.  TIP – Practice painting on scrap fabric before you begin!

Allow paint to dry thoroughly before you continue.  I waited about 4 hours.  Check the label on your paint for recommended dry times.  You can skip ahead and make the Skeleton Mask while you wait!

When your paint is dry, remove your paper templates and admire your work.

Skeleton for Dolls Tutorial

4. Sew the Long Sleeve T-Shirt

Refer to the instructions that accompany the pattern download.  Be sure to position your sleeves correctly so that the Bones will be on the front of the arms and not the back!

Skeleton for Dolls Tutorial

5. Sew your Skeleton Pants.

With right (painted) sides together sew the front and back seams.  If you did not use the hem of a t-shirt for the top edge of the pants, fold and iron a 1/2 inch hem and sew.  There is no need to insert an elastic waistband, the stretch of the knit will hold the pants in place.
Skeleton for Dolls Tutorial


You can turn up a 1/4 hem on the pant legs at this point, or leave the edges raw.  Don’t feel guilty if you decide to leave the pant legs unhemmed.  Knit edges won’t unravel, and it is after all, a costume!

After hemming the pant legs (or not), bring front and back center seams together, align the legs and crotch, and sew.  Your Skeleton Pants are done!

Skeleton for Dolls Tutorial


6. Make your Skeleton Mask.

Trace and cut the mask pattern from white foam or white felt.  Cut out the eyes, nose holes, and mouth. You can stop here, or you can glue black foam or felt to the back of the mask to make the eyes, nose, and mouth areas black and appear “empty” looking.  I backed my mask with black foam and cut holes in the eye “sockets” just large enough for my doll’s eyes to peer through.

Punch holes in the sides of the mask and thread elastic, ribbon, or yarn through the holes.  I used elastic and tied a knot at each side.

That’s it, your Skeleton Costume is done! Easy peasy lemon squeezy.  If you’d rather not paint on the Bones, you could use the pattern to cut Bones from white felt and sew them on the costume or fuse them on with a fusible web like Steam-a-Seam or Stitch Witchery.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if any of the steps were unclear.  I’m working on making these tutorials clear, yet concise.  Concise can be an issue for me. 😀

One last quick note.  Black fabrics sometimes contain a lot of dye that can stain your doll.  It’s best to pre-wash your fabric or the t-shirt you cut up for this project before you start.  And just to be safe, don’t leave your doll in her costume for an extended period of time or in a very hot environment (like a hot car or in a sunny window).  She’ll be fine for Trick-or-Treating, but don’t leave her in her costume til the New Year!


Ada's Skeleton Costume

Ada's Skeleton Costume



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The Shrug Pattern : Re-sized for Smaller Dolls

Shrug Sewing free Pattern for Hearts for Hearts Corolle Les Cheries doll

The Autumn Shrug ::

We’ve had girl drama here at MSF headquarters.  The little ones are threatening to revolt.  They’re feeling bitter about all of the attention the American Girls have been getting here on the blog.  Nobody likes to be ignored!

So, in an attempt to assuage hurt feelings, I re-sized the Autumn Shrug pattern for the 13″ to 15″ dolls.  They are pleased.

Initially I tried to simply reprint the pattern in a smaller scale, but all my little girls (Hearts for Hearts, Les Cheries, and Paola Reina) are slimmer bodied then American Girl, so a few pattern adjustments were necessary beyond just scaling down.  The resulting pattern fits all three doll types well.

The instructions for assembly are the same as for the 18″ size and I am sending the pattern to the Many Small Friends newsletter subscribers later today.  If you’re not a subscriber yet, you can sign up here (it’s free!)  and you’ll get the link to download the shrug pattern for 13″ – 15″ dolls along with the 18 inch doll pattern, too.


In other news, American Girl is offering FREE SHIPPING again (I know, right? Again!) for $100+ orders through November 25, 2014.  Enter code BESTGIFT in the promotional code box during checkout.  They have just released their new holiday collection of outfits and accessories.  How about that Pretty City Carriage? Definitely has the “Wow” factor and a price tag to go along with it.


“Hey, do you sew?” HELP WANTED

Speaking of the holidays, have you started your crafting yet?  I know, I know, it’s not even Halloween yet but .. uh.. 70 days.  Just sayin’.

I’m starting my holiday sewing this week, and I’d love to share some of my original patterns with you.  I don’t want to bother with patterns you already have or aren’t interested in, so I put together a short sewing-for-dolls survey.  I would super duper appreciate it if you would take a minute to do the survey.

Your answers will directly influence the patterns that I offer here, in the newsletter, and on Etsy.  You don’t have to share any personal info, not even an email address (unless you volunteer to be a pattern tester, in which case I will need your email), so now is the time to put in your order!

Knowing the Internets, only a few people will take this survey, so you probably have a really good chance of getting your wish patterns made if you take the survey.  🙂

:: Pretty Please..  Take The Survey ::


Many Small Friends on FACEBOOK

Last but not least, I set up a Many Small Friends Facebook page, because dolly posts on Facebook are way more entertaining then political conspiracy theories, news about what your friends aren’t eating these days, and funny cat pictures. Okay, funny cat pics are pretty entertaining, but I’m hoping to give Grumpy Cat a run for his money.

Many Small Friends on Facebook

Many Small Friends Dolls on Facebook

Our Generation “What a Trek” – What’s in the Box?

Our Generation What A Trek Set for 18 Inch Dolls like American Girl

I have a love-hate relationship with the Our Generation company.  In case you’re not familiar with the brand, Our Generation makes dolls, clothing, and accessories that are compatible with many other 18″ doll lines like American Girl.  Our Generation is primarily distributed by Target, but you can find some of the items on Amazon and through resellers on eBay.

I love Our Generation because they make cute, playable doll food and accessories that work fantastically for American Girl and our other 18 inch girls.  I don’t buy the  OG dolls ( American Girl has made me into a doll hair snob and OG wigs can’t yet compete) but I’m always on the lookout for the new OG accessory sets.  They aren’t the quality level of AG, but they’re usually a third of the price and well worth the money spent.  I would probably buy the clothing as well, but I talk myself out of purchases because, “I could sew that”.   Sound familiar, fellow seamstresses?

What I hate about Our Generation is a major distribution problem.  I’m not sure if the issue stems from Target or OG, but the availability of the accessory sets I’m pining for are spotty, at best!  It’s completely unpredictable when and where the items will be available.   Some sets sell out immediately, never to return, and then others languish for months on end.  My best advice for Our Generation items is, “If you see it and love it, buy it, because it may never be restocked.”  I learned this painful lesson with an OG sewing set two years ago.  I had the package in my sweaty little hands, but put it back because I was feeling frugal that day, and have yet to find it again.  Occasionally the set pops up on eBay and usually sells for over $100.  The price the day I held it in Target? $16.  Arghh!

And it’s not just my bad luck, this story is repeated amongst my doll collector friends.  I can’t understand a company that leaves that kind of cash on the table.  Here I am, begging you to take my money, and you can’t reliably get your most popular items on the shelves?  Insanity, I tell you.

Anyway, end rant.  I happened upon the Our Generation “What a Trek” set at my local Target last week and knew it had to be mine.  I like a lot of the pieces, but it was the dolly camera that sold the set.  I’m not a superfan of the unrealistic fuchsia color, but I suppose if it bugs me enough I can repaint it.


Our Generation "What a Trek"


In addition to the camera, the set includes a good assortment of doll food, a few dishes, and some typical camping and hiking gear including sunscreen, bug spray, a compass, a flashlight, bandages (which have a removable strip that reveals a sticky backing) and a lightweight nylon backpack to carry it all.   All of the accessories are plastic, of course. One nice surprise is that the lens barrel on the camera can turn as if to be “focused”.  So cute!
Our Generation "What a Trek"


There are some obvious and somewhat large molding marks on the apple and banana.  The apple, banana, granola bar, peanut butter sandwich, and bear-paw-shaped pancake are made of a flexible vinyl rather then rigid plastic. The tops of the water bottle, bug spray, and sunscreen are fixed and not removable.

The flashlight doesn’t have a real bulb or lighting mechanism, but the shiny silver center reflects light and it almost looks like it’s actually working. The face of the compass is just a fixed sticker under a plastic cover.
Our Generation "What a Trek"
Our Generation "What a Trek"


My daughter and I took the girls outside to give everything a test run. Taryn (My American Girl #44) and Kanani were our happy volunteers.  They both consider themselves to be the most outdoorsy of the small friends and neither are prone to mosquito bites.  Of course they applied sunscreen (a responsible SPF 65+) and sprayed on some bug spray, just in case.


Our Generation "What a Trek"


Our Generation "What a Trek"


Our Generation "What a Trek"
Our Generation "What a Trek"
Our Generation "What a Trek"


Our Generation "What a Trek"


We made a short 5 minute unboxing video, if  you like that sort of thing.


I would like to close this post with an open letter to Our Generation.

Dearest Our Generation Sirs and/or Ma’ams,


I have good news for you!  I have some money I would like to give you and, better news yet, I have lots of friends with money they would also like to give you.  This seems simple enough, because I’m sure you would like to receive our money.


Receiving money is actually a key point in your business model, correct?  I ask, because “teasing Stephanie with adorable sets like the new Bon Voyage Travel Set but making them neigh impossible to find” appears to be the more plausible model.


While I’m asking you to do me favors like taking-my-money, would you mind removing the Sewing and Dressmaking Set from your website altogether? It hasn’t been available for purchase for several years and the tease, at this point, has become just plain cruel.


Speaking of the Sewing and Dressmaking Set, are you aware that your competitor is selling a similar product for $275?  Do you know how many $16 sewing sets you could blow out the door this year? Are you certifiably insane not to have these sets on the shelves in 2014?


But I digress.  Back to taking my money.  To make this monetary exchange possible, I am pleading with you to do a better job distributing your products.  Target is good!  Amazon is good too!  Heck, I’ve even been known to pay a little more to the resellers on eBay.  But I’m not paying 10x retail.  I just can’t pull that trigger. So pretty please, get your stuff on shelves.  I’ll buy it!  My friends will too!



A devoted but frustrated dolly consumer.

How to Make Festive Doll Socks in Five Minutes

How to Make Socks for your American Girl Doll

I’ve got a fun, fast, and EASY doll sewing project for you today! You can make festive, seasonal socks for your dolls in just five minutes using store bought human socks.  Find socks in lots of fun prints at the dollar store, at the craft store, or in big box retailers like Walmart or Target.


American Girl sewing craft from socks

I found this fun assortment of Halloween socks at Target.  Each pair cost only a dollar, and you can make two pairs of dolly socks from each pair of human socks.

This is a great way to recycle your socks with holes in the heels, too, since you’ll only need the ankle portion for your doll socks. However, if your socks tends to develop holes in the ankles, I don’t know what tell you.  That’s just weird. 😉


DIY Five Minute Doll Socks


This is such a fun and quick project, perfect for a new or young crafter.  Even the video instructions are less then two minutes!



I would love to see your socks!  Try out the tutorial and then show-and-tell on the Many Small Friends Facebook page.

American Girl Beforever Review – Julie Albright Doll

American Girl Doll Julie Beforever Review

Hey girl, you’re looking pretty foxy in those bell bottoms and banana-yellow crochet vest! And that center part and single braid is sooooo groovy!

Yep, one last more American Girl doll has arrived.   Do you know who she is? Of course you do.  It’s 1974 representin’ with Julie Albright! 

In my three years of collecting American Girl, I have not been even slightly interested in starting a Julie collection.  Other then a personal connection to 1974 (Can guess the connection?  Ten years before I was born? Oh, you’re SO kind.. hah ha), I’m just not that into the 70’s and I wasn’t particularly attracted to the Julie doll, either.

Julie is made with the  Josefina mold, shared by Josephina (obviously),  Rebecca , Nellie, Elizabeth, Girl of the Year characters Marisol, Chrissa, and McKenna, and a number of other My American Girl dolls.  I haven’t been a big fan of the Josie mold and, having never visited an American Girl store, I had never seen a Josefina mold doll in person until my daughter received McKenna for Christmas.  Once McKenna arrived, I realized that I like the facial features a lot more in person then in photographs, so I didn’t discount the possibility of someday finding a Josie mold doll to add to my own collection.

Enter Beforever.  Before I decided Julie must join my troop of small friends, I fell in love with her Beforever collection, specifically her new wardrobe.  I adore just about every new piece!  It’s  kitschy without being gaudy, playful, and fun.  I admit I balked a little at the meet and the accessories together.

AG Doll Beforever Julie

Photo Credit :

Is this a little too over the top cliche? Maybe, but the 70’s was a decade of exuberant expression, and this combination certainly fits that bill!

But, oh the Bell Bottoms with print floral insets!  That gorgeous purple coat!  And the Tunic Outfit!  I must have it all. *eventually.   The more I drooled over the clothing, the more I realized I should just dive right in and get a Julie doll.  Especially since the new Beforever meet outfit alone is $36.  For just a few dollars more (79 is still “a few”, right?) I could get the coveted meet outfit, the doll, and the book, too!

<conversation with myselfBut really, do I need another doll?  It’s getting downright crowded in here. I haven’t seen my cat in a few weeks, he may or may not be buried under a pile of vinyl and serger tails. Maybe I should wait for Christmas.

I held out for a record 76-ish hours, but free shipping clouded my better judgement and broke my resolve.  Julie was ordered and a week later, she arrived.

Surprise… I love her!  Her chocolate brown eyes are gorgeous.  Her overall coloring is perfect. The meet outfit is simple; jeans, sleeveless tee, undies, and sweater vest, but all well made and as adorable as I expected.


Julie Albright - Beforever


I’m not crazy about her single line eyebrows.  Most of the other American Girl dills have multi-line feathered brows, and even Addy got a brow makeover with Beforever.  Julie is the holdout.  I think she looks okay with the solid line design, but I would have preferred her brows to be updated with Beforever, as well.


Julie Albright - Beforever


Julie Albright - Beforever


The sandals are fantastic.  The girls are already fighting over them.


Julie Albright - Beforever


Julie is one of my only straight haired dolls, and it really is a joy to comb through her silky, shiny hair. However, I was a little surprised and disappointed that she doesn’t have the short hairs in her wig that keep the wig cap from showing when her hair is separated into two pony tails.

Here is a comparison shot with Julie and My American Girl #61, Ada.


Beforever Julie and #61


Sometimes the short hairs stick out a little and poke through an otherwise combed area of hair, but that minor hassle is worth a hidden wig cap, in my opinion.

Regardless of line brows and nakey wigcap, Julie Albright has found a home among the small friends, and she is here to stay.  I’m glad to add the Josefina mold to my collection and I can’t wait to collect and sew more 70’s inspired outfits.  Maybe I’ll even cave and buy her those crazy accessories!


Julie Albright - Beforever


I made a short unboxing video (no really, it’s only 2 minutes! I saved the “blah blah blah blah” for this post, instead.  Lucky you.)  for my dolly channel on YouTube.  I make a brief cameo appearance at the end, finally fully revealing all my dorkiness for the world to see!


Thanks for hanging out with me today and talking dolls.. see you soon!