Tag Archive | Ellowyne Wilde

Preorder and Land Updates

IMG_2588Bonjour, mes amis! C’est moi, Ellowyne Wilde. Yes, I’m as shocked to be writing this post as you are to be reading it. Then again, Laurie’s busy packing to leave on Wednesday for a writer’s conference in Texas, so who better to pick up the slack around here than moi?

I thought she’d forgotten about us dolls by the way the dust bunnies keep piling up, but today she surprised us with our own copy of Tinsel in a Tangle!

I’m told digital copies are now available for preorder, so if you would enjoy a light-hearted Christmas romance complete with snarky reindeer, cute Kringles, and a lovable, spirited, faulty elf, head on over to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iBooks. And if you know someone who would also enjoy such a read, please help us spread the word. 🙂

Another note of interest. Remember waaaaay back, about a year ago, when Laurie shared how God had led her and Hubby to purchase some land…and then gave them an inconvenient yellow light, prohibiting them from doing anything further with it? (You can read about that here.) Well, she and Hubby finally have a hearing with the County Planning Board on Wednesday to present their plans for a small subdivision. (All right, so it’s really just Hubby going, as Laurie will be sweltering in Texas by then, but she’ll be with him in her thoughts. Does that count?) If you’re a praying kinda person, prayers are appreciated that they might be able to move forward in this endeavor as they’ve been in limbo for almost two years now. They should know by October 10th if their plans are a go, and of course she’ll keep you updated.


Panoramic of the land.

That’s it for now, though I wish it weren’t, as my peeps and I are still waiting for a fireplace. But since we have. No. Place. To. Put. It, once Laurie took down our shelves last summer, I won’t hold my breath. We’ve been waiting for that fireplace longer than she’s been waiting for a green light from God!

A Sad Day for Ellowyne Wilde

IMG_5658Bonjour, mes amis! Ellowyne Wilde here. It’s been a long time, n’est ce pas?  I thought I would chime in today with an update on Laurie’s dolly adventures—oh, wait. Sorry, my bad. There haven’t been any adventures. Why’s that, you ask? Because she was too busy trying to perfect her Christmas story this past winter and spring that she hasn’t taken the time to play. And then! Then!

Then she packed. Us. Away.

Can you believe it?

“Only for a little while,” she promised. And she removed our accessories.

“Just until we move into a rental house.” And she wrapped up our furniture.



“Look on the bright side—you can still see the goings-on around here.” And she stuck us in the—gasp—doll cabinet!


Let us out!

At least she had the decency to look contrite.

And now that she’s not moving? Dare we hope she’ll free us? Bring back our humble abode?

Nope! Claims she doesn’t want to put a new set of holes into the walls she freshly patched and painted.



Oh sure, she stops by our cramped quarters now and then, looking a little put-out (like she’s the one who lost all her belongings), but it’s not the same as when she could pose us, and decorate for us, and imagine with us. We’ve been guaranteed a kitchen and fireplace when we finally move. Hmm, methinks I’ve heard that one before.

But you know what really boils my vinyl? The fact she’s letting the Senson girls—those mischief-makers—run free. Cinnamon joined us this spring, Mistletoe got a new outfit, and Piper got a new hairdo.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think Laurie had found a new favorite doll.


Time will tell I suppose. Maybe Christmas…2017? Maybe by then, we Tonner girls will be warming our non-articulated toes by an LED-fed fireplace befitting dolls of our caliber.

Adventures in Walt Disney World

IMG_3426Psst! Hey, everyone. It’s me—Mistletoe! I figured since Laurie is too busy running around doing “life”—which includes everything but the one thing she should be doing (working on her Christmas story!)—I’d share with you my latest escapade. You know—for posterity’s sake.

Cuz for a doll like me, taking a trip to Walt Disney World is worth remembering!

Okay, okay—I snuck into WDW via Laurie’s travel bag when she wasn’t looking.

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Can you blame me? I’ve been listening to these plans since last fall! What doll wouldn’t take advantage of Laurie’s distraction during the pre-vacation packing? Um, besides all the Ellowyne dolls, the two Prudence dolls…and Tori…and Ping Lei… I almost convinced Piper to join me, but she said one doll would be less conspicuous than two.

But hoo, boy! I had no idea getting to the east coast from Montana was such a process! Two flights. Always two flights. And this time we had a four-hour layover in Minneapolis. No way was I going to stay cooped up in that bag for 240 minutes…

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At long last, after leaving Missoula, Montana around 6am, we arrived in Orlando, Florida at 5:20pm, where we hopped the Disney Express bus and joined up with Laurie’s parents and her sister’s family at the Port Orleans French Quarter resort. There we stayed for the first half of our vacation. What a fun place that was, with cobblestone streets, wrought iron fences, a pool featuring a sea serpent, and way more foliage than I’m used to! As Laurie and her family enjoyed a late dinner, I made friends with the local alligators and stretched my legs on the nearby playground.

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For the second half of the vacation, we stayed at the Polynesian, reminiscent of the South Pacific with its palm trees, tropical vegetation, and sandy beaches. The Lava Pool is the main attraction for the kids, with its 142-foot water slide through a volcano, and across the lake one can make out the distant view of Cinderella’s castle in the Magic Kingdom, just a monorail ride away.

Gazing out at the beach from the [] lounge at the Polynesian

Gazing out at the beach from the lounge in the Hawaii building at the Polynesian

Astride a horse in the lobby of the Grand Floridian

Astride a horse in the lobby of the Grand Floridian

For the next week, I called a Cabela’s knapsack “home.” Laurie carried it with her everywhere—to every kingdom, every meal, every ride, every event and show—and I fit quite well in the main compartment.


Over the course of a few visits to the Magic Kingdom, we hit all the popular rides, such as Thunder, Splash, and Space Mountain, as well as the newest roller coaster, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. We enjoyed the less-popular but always entertaining attractions like the Carousel of Progress and Mickey’s Philharmonic in 3D. Aside from the characters we met at several character dinners, we also met Anna (Laurie’s favorite), Elsa, Merida, Tinker Bell (Laurie’s second fav), and even caught a glimpse of Flynn Rider wending through the crowds! {Swoon}


Eek! There’s Flynn Rider! Be still my heart.


Ahem. For lunch one day, we dined in the Beast’s Enchanted Castle. It was amazing! Most people sat in the ballroom to eat—get a load of those chandeliers!—but Laurie’s mom led them into the West Wing. Dark, gloomy, and thunderous, the room contained the enchanted rose, as well as a slashed picture of the prince over the fireplace. Every so often during a spine-chilling rumble of thunder, that prince changed into a picture of the Beast! :O Not the most cheerful atmosphere in which to eat a meal (Laurie’s youngest did not enjoy), but hey, the food tasted delicious and I got some selfies out of it! (Lighting was terrible, so sorry for the less-than-professional pics!)


The ballroom. Check out the chandeliers!


Cousin, daughter #2, daughter #1

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We visited Animal Kingdom only once, and only once did I sneak out of the bag. Can I say, “People!” There were people everywhere! Not only was it summer break for the US, but apparently it was also Brazil’s winter break, so that didn’t help with the congestion. But after conquering Mt. Everest (now that’s a roller coaster), bracing the Kali River Rapids (not a dry seat on the boat), and surviving the Kilimanjaro Safari (lions and rhinos and giraffes, oh my!), I did manage to get this one selfie:


And then there’s Epcot—way more fun now than Laurie remembers it being as a kid twenty-five years ago. It offers dozens of fun rides in the Future World that hadn’t existed “back then,” and let’s face it: learning about another country’s history and culture in the World Showcase is far more interesting as an adult than as a child. Germany and France are Laurie’s natural favorite countries to visit, but Norway runs a close third. Her family on her mother’s side has an odd fixation with the trolls in that country that stems back to their first visit in the 1980’s, plus Norway will now feature characters and a ride from Frozen (Laurie’s favorite Disney animated film).


Here is Laurie’s oldest daughter. Great pose, right? I so wanted to do that pose myself, but once again—people! So I settled for second best. (Please tell me you see the big ball behind me to the left!)

Me with my Mexican Sombrero and my German beer stein.

Me with my Mexican Sombrero and my German beer stein.

And here I am in Canada. They show a ten-minute film in a 360-degree theater, hosted by Martin Short. I didn’t stop laughing the entire time. (And I had no clue so many well-known actors call Canada home!)


Hollywood Studios was Laurie’s hubby’s favorite kingdom, hands down. (But then, with the new Star Wars attractions, that didn’t come as much of a shocker.) We watched the theatrical performance of Beauty and the Beast, caught the Frozen Sing Along that ended with an auditorium full of snow, blasted through Star Tours, a 3D motion-simulated ride that offers over 50 story combinations—almost ensuring you’ll have a different experience each time—and stayed late one evening to watch Fantasmic (once again, Laurie’s youngest was not too thrilled by the scarier bits). Laurie’s hubby, off on his own at one point, ended up following the crowd to a huge outdoor arena where he sat spell-bound as the Extreme Stunt Show unfolded before him featuring race cars that performed high-speed chases, split-second spins, and explosions.

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Unfortunately, I have no picture of my days in Hollywood Studios, since the first day the Germaines visited, they were on a tight schedule—no time for me to sneak out and wander—and the second day it rained off and on, enough to get everything extremely wet.

Oh, well. Next time. There will be a next time, right?

Anyone else going to Walt Disney World? Mind if I tag along?

Anyone else going to Walt Disney World? Mind if I tag along?

I’ve heard Laurie’s sister (who lives 40 minutes from Walt Disney World) is going to treat herself and her family members to year-round passes to WDW as a way of celebrating her fortieth birthday. Wonder if I can ship myself back to Florida around Christmastime for some more pics? (I never did get a selfie with that Norway troll…)


Never a dull moment…

Hallo! Ich bin’s, Ellowyne! (I thought I’d try out some German since it was Laurie’s college major, but I’m not feeling it. She claims it sounds beautiful. If you ask me (which nobody does since I’m a doll), I think French sounds far more elegant…eloquent…Ellowyne-esque!)

But enough about languages. Who wants to talk language (other than Laurie) when we have a doll to introduce?! Yes, we have a new member of the family, who arrived when the Germaines returned from the fishing trip in early May. Here’s what this InMotion Girl by Ruby Red Galleria looked like originally, when Laurie’s mom received her…


Original Lia

With a brown wig...

With a brown wig…

…with her original name of Lia. By the time she came to us in MT, she wore a nondescript brown wig, which didn’t quite gel with those intelligent eyesbut Laurie had plans.

A change of clothes paired with a sassy new wig brought out Lia’s true personality…and we all agreed this required a new name.



So everyone, meet Piper.

...and improved

Piper: New and improved

As you can imagine, she and Mistletoe hit it off right away.


Kindred spirits

We have four younger dolls now in this expanding motley crew: Tori, Mistletoe, Ping Lei, and Piper. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s one that captures the essence of these girls’ personalities when it comes to mischief or adventure:


Left to right: Ping Lei, Piper, Mistletoe, and Tori

Though Mistletoe and Piper switch roles at times, Mistletoe is typically the “driving” force behind their escapades, Piper supplies the fuel (the encouragement and follow-through), Tori goes along for the thrill of the ride…and Ping Lei tries to curb their enthusiasm so they don’t do anything too foolish.

And then, of course, there are those days when Mistletoe takes an idea and runs with it all on her own.



Sigh. Drive safe, dear.


Tschuss! Au revoir!

Be sure to turn around at the property line!

(I suspect our lives will no longer be as quiet and uneventful as they once were.)

A Taste of Spring

Bonjour, mes amis! C’est moi, Ellowyne Wilde, back for another post now that spring break is over–for Laurie’s daughters are once again at school and quiet reigns here at the house. While February and March teased Montanans with unusually mild temperatures, April seems to have decided at least one month must come in like a lion and it might as well be her. Yet while out-of-doors still reflects the winter—sans the snow because New England confiscated it all—we dolls on the Front Porch enjoy spring-like views.

Yes, Laurie finally managed to get to a larger craft store in Missoula a few weeks ago and brought us back…well, just this:


This is all we get? Sigh.


In times past, she’s spoiled us with lots more goodies to enjoy, but apparently the store was running low on dolly-sized items. Nonetheless, this sprig of flowers is all we really needed to complete our spring project: a topiary tree!


Wink Wink

Laurie spruced up our pot, using Mod Podge to affix scrapbook paper to the pot’s exterior and then brushing another two coats of Mod Podge over the paper to harden it and give it a glossier look. We dolls don’t go anywhere near glue for obvious reasons (plus, one never knows what ideas it might put in Mistletoe’s head), which is why Laurie also had to attach the flowers to our tree.




Topiary pulled apart


About to use Mod Podge…













But once the glue dried, it was our turn to do some work…and that ended up being relatively easy (especially since we can divide and conquer jobs between sixteen dolls).

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Within minutes, we had the tree planted and set “just so” on our porch.

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I say the topiary looks fab. Prudence says it looks lonely. Laurie says she’ll keep her eye out for more foliage.

I won’t hold my breath.

What do you think of our tree? Are any other dolls out there decorating for spring? I’d love to see some pics!

Crafty Cushion

Bonjour, tout le monde! Ellowyne Wilde here with another dolly update. It almost didn’t happen this week, I’ll have you know. Laurie has been hogging the laptop in an attempt to finish the first draft of her Christmas novel (apparently the rest of the Christmas décor around here isn’t coming down until she’s accomplished that!)—but she’s no match against 16 dolls. We’ve got 256 inches to her 66; that’s a decent amount of leverage to wrestle away one little laptop.

And while Laurie’s family might have to suffer through the first half of February with green garland and reindeer figurines, we dolls in our corner of the house begin to welcome spring. I know, I know—seems odd here in Montana, but temperatures have been unusually warm these past few weeks. We just can’t help ourselves. So to pay tribute to Spring’s inevitable arrival, here is our latest accomplishment: a seat cushion boasting the lush, cheery colors of the lush, cheery season (at least, it’s lush in other parts of the country).

Now, in certain social circles, Laurie may try to take credit for making the cushion, but the following pictures show the truth of the matter, wouldn’t you agree?

Here, Ping Lei wraps batting around the foam.

Here, Ping Lei wraps batting around the foam.

And here, Prudence and Lizette work at cutting the fabric to the specific measurements.

And here, Prudence and Lizette work at cutting the fabric to the specific measurements.

Mistletoe and Tori had the job of pinning the fabric around the inner cushion, but we have since learned that leaving these two alone together produces a slew of mischief:

Girls, put those "swords" away before you poke out a glass eye!

Girls, put those “swords” away before you poke out a glass eye!

Step away from the thread, Mistletoe, and nobody gets hurt… 



Following this tutorial, Ping Lei, Mistletoe and I tried sewing the pieces together, along with the piping–something I had not attempted before this project–but the rubber feed dog fell apart halfway through. I suppose it was just a matter of time, since the machine dates back to the 1970’s (how good will I look in forty years?!). To tell you the truth, I really didn’t mind waiting the week for the metal replacement to come in the mail because of what you can’t see in the picture above the sewing machine: a deer head presides over the living room. An animal hanging on the wall, no matter how dead, can be rather intimidating for a doll. I couldn’t sew fast enough, despite Mistletoe’s attempt to slow me down.







After sewing a Velcro closure along the back, we at last have our new cushion. Makes the bench look all the more inviting, n’est pas?




And after.











You’re welcome to sit for a spell, but don’t be offended if we can’t join you right away. It seems one of our party has gone missing (or hiding, depending on who you ask) and the rest of us must go in search of her.

I can’t imagine where Mistletoe has disappeared to…can you?


It’s Christmastime in Ello-land…

Merry Christmas! Ellowyne Wilde here. So excited about the upcoming holidays! We’ve been busy decorating, wrapping presents, coiffing for parties, and anticipating the arrival of a new friend: Urban Legend Lizette!

Meet Lizette!

Meet Lizette!

Last week, we enfolded her into our family with as much enthusiasm as a pack of moody dolls can muster and Lizette wasted no time jumping into the mix of activities (her skills with a tube of icing are quite remarkable).

Decorating the gingerbread house.

Decorating the gingerbread house.

And while some of us affix candy to gingerbread houses, others of us affix ornaments to Christmas trees.


How am I supposed to get this star all the way up there?











Tori, bless her little heart, has been wrapping presents for days…

Keep up the good work!

Keep up the good work!

…and some of us could stand a little less primping and a little more productivity (oh, get to the party already, ladies!).


Here are a few different snapshots of our lovely new front porch decked out for Christmas:




Our loft railing…IMG_2227

And a pair enjoying a chilly rendezvous under a sparkling tree.IMG_2231

Yes, it’s quite festive around here right now, although I’m hoping Laurie will toss a disco ball our way for New Year’s Eve…

All we’re missing is a cozy fireplace hung with stockings, but I’m told that’s on Laurie’s To Do list for 2015. (And blurting out something like that on her blog is kind of like a binding contract, right? Now she’s obligated to make me—er, all of us—a fireplace. Aaah, I can feel the warmth already.)

We dolls hope everyone has a safe and joyous holiday season. Don’t forget to schedule in time amidst the busyness to rest and soak up the more delightful aspects of Christmas…such as driving through neighborhoods to look at lights, listening to favorite carols, watching favorite holiday movies, quality hours spent with family and friends, couch time with a mug of hot cocoa and a good book—

Oooo, now that last one sounds inviting. Say, girls, do any of you know where I put my reading glasses?

Finally…A Front Porch!

Before I hand things over to Ellowyne, I just want to thank the Lord for helping me complete this project that’s been two years in the making. I’ve prayed over this porch every step of the way—from prayers that I wouldn’t fudge on the detailed painting to prayers that I would make the correct cuts to prayers that I could drill straight holes, etc.—and I just have to point out the obvious: God answered every prayer.

He gave me steady hands when I used the drill—especially during the more stressful moments when I had to attach the brace for the swing, when I attached the railings to the posts, and when I fastened the roof to the back wall. He gave me strength and judgment several times when I had to wrestle with the roof and a free-standing wall (not yet attached to the base and propped up only by a child’s chair) to insure they would mount properly with the porch posts before I could begin securing things together. And considering I had never attempted such a project before, it was only through God downloading His creativity into me via insights, epiphanies, and good advice from my hubby and my dad that allowed all the different pieces of this porch to actually fit together in the end! So, THANK YOU, LORD, for being present in the details.

(And thanks to Mike Harrison for letting me use his drill press, without which I couldn’t have created my railings!)

Ellowyne? Do you have anything to add?

Well, of course I do! Let’s not forget all the help we dolls gave you at the end, there! I’ve got pictures documenting it all. See for yourself:


Here we are at the beginning, having a little pow-wow before getting down to the nitty-gritty.


Here we are, anchoring the back wall to the porch floor and reattaching the lanterns.


Prudence and Spring fit the porch posts and railings into the floor.


Here we are enjoying a job well done and celebrating the fact we now have more square footage in which to stretch—and play and chat and vent and…you get the picture.

Some interesting tidbits you might like to know about this porch’s development:


The swing cushions inhabit what otherwise would hold birdseed.

Laurie’s oldest daughter initially came up with the idea for a porch when Laurie was pondering future diorama possibilities (this was before my shelves in the dining room were even in the lineup). Laurie then told her mother in MA about the idea, her mother later shared the idea with Laurie’s aunt in TN during a visit, and you know what Aunt Fran said? “Every porch needs a swing.” So she bought a cedar swing originally intended to hold birdseed, fashioned cushions for the swing, and sent it on to Laurie in MT. More than a year later, that swing finally has a home. 🙂

Laurie knew she eventually wanted lanterns to flank the front door, but they had to be the correct scale, so naturally the prevalent three-inch lanterns she could find just about anywhere wouldn’t do. At last she scored after this past Christmas season when she found on clearance a set of twelve plastic lanterns fitted with a string of Christmas lights. The easy part was in popping off the lanterns from the mini light bulbs. The hard part was figuring out how she wanted to attach the lanterns to the back wall and how she could make them light up—because we dolls need functioning lanterns, after all! In the end, she used cup hooks screwed into the wall, black chain links, some black wire, and mini, battery-operated party lights that she can change out when the batteries die (or change the batteries—whichever one is a cheaper fix!).


Lantern with mini party light


Working lanterns!

The railings are made from trim bought at the hardware store and lots of spindles ordered online from a craft supply store. Using Mike’s drill press, Laurie drilled holes into the flat side of the trim and, after painting all required pieces, she glued the spindles into the holes. The railings were later attached to the posts (originally stair balusters) via small nails used as pegs for precision fit and strength. Strength, you ask? Well, you see how Mistletoe and Tori treat the railings!

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Two things Laurie had to keep in mind when creating this porch:

  1. It had to involve affordable materials so her hubby’s eyes wouldn’t bulge when he read the credit card statements.
  2. Even once she put it together, the porch had to be able to come apart—just in case. So the big pieces like the roof, back wall, and floor are only attached to each other by screws, and the railing system fits into holes in the floor and holes in the roof braces. No glue.
To show you the scale, here's Laurie standing beside the porch.

To show you the scale, here’s Laurie standing beside the porch, which measures 2 ft tall, 4 ft wide, and 16 inches deep.

All in all, we dolls are as pleased as inanimate objects can be over the completion of our front porch! As you can see, we didn’t waste time decorating for autumn…

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…since in a few days we’ll be bringing out the Christmas decorations (yeah, we do that early in this household!). I’m thinking strings of Christmas lights around the railings…a wreath on the door…and maybe we can wedge a Christmas tree over there in the corner! What do you say, Laurie? Think you can find us a twenty-two-inch Christmas tree?

Oh, and I wanted to discuss with you some plans for a possible back porch, now that you know how to go about making these structures. A balcony might be nice down the road, too—



Um, girls…I need some smelling salts over here!

A Teaser

IMG_1790Hello, everyone! Ellowyne Wilde here. I’m back (finally!) with a quick update on how Laurie is coming along on my front porch. She’s allowed me to reveal a few snippets, assuring me she will have the whole thing completed by the end of September. Okay, so she didn’t promise. I believe the word she used was “hope.” But I have to hand it to her; she’s done more work on the porch in the last couple of weeks than she has in the last six months!

Here is the latest piece completed: the porch roof.

All 816 square inches of it!

Finished roof...

Finished roof…





After calculating how many shingles she would need to make and how much wood that would entail, Laurie went about using her hubby’s table saw to cut up a 4’ x 2’ MDF board. She had finished just over half the number of shingles when she began to corral them all into a plastic bag. Well, the bag became heavier…and heavier…and heavier…

Note to self: MDF is too heavy to use for shingles when a doll’s front porch is being constructed by a non-professional.


So, Laurie moved on to balsa wood and ordered several sheets of it from an online company. They arrived a few days after she left for vacation this summer. We dolls would have had a work party while she was gone and helped her cut some shingles…except we worried about knicking our plastic and vinyl bodies with the X-acto knife. Thankfully it didn’t take her but a few days to cut the 322 shingles all by herself (8 sheets of 36” x 6” balsa wood sheets, in case you wanted to know!).

During the gluing stage...

During the gluing stage…

Then came the gluing. You guessed it—she used Power Grip glue. And then came the staining, for which she used a cherry finish, along with a 1” foam brush for the shingles and a narrow craft bristle brush for all the tiny spaces in between.

And now that it’s done…we wait.

Because there are several things Laurie needs to finish before she can put all the pieces together. Like attaching the door to the doorjamb on the back wall, for instance.

I watched her working on it yesterday. She didn’t look too happy. Apparently once she screwed the hinges into the door…the door doesn’t fit into the opening anymore! So now she has to take a chisel to the doorjamb.

She had better take care of my wall!

She had better take care of my wall!

Given that the back wall is already finished, she had better not deface my wall with a chisel gone awry!


You know, I’m beginning to wonder if I shouldn’t have hired a real carpenter in the first place—two years ago when this project first took root in that woman’s brain. At the very latest, we dolls probably could have had a completed porch by this time last year!

Of course, then Laurie wouldn’t have had all the fun in making it herself. (She doesn’t like me to remind her of the frustration involved!)

Weighing the options...

Weighing the options…





Hmm…weighing the options. Profressional…non-professional. Happy Laurie…disappointed Laurie…

Ooo, wait! Laurie has some carpenter friends, doesn’t she? Surely they’d be willing to lend a hand to a gal in need!



Yoo-hoo! Mr. Schwaubauer! I could really use your help on something…!

Too busy?

Okay. Um, Mr. Harrison, you interested?

Not into doll-scaled details?


Maybe I should seek out Ty Pennington. Think he’s doing anything important these days?

Anybody know of a reputable carpenter?

Anybody know of a reputable carpenter?

Time to…Play?

Hello, my cyber-space friends. It’s me: Ellowyne Wilde of the Germaine clan, back with some news that’s thrilling enough to keep me happy for more than a few minutes! Yours Truly is now officially in charge of all future Doll Drama posts. Eeee!

I'm excited--can't you tell?

I’m excited–can’t you tell?

Today, I’d like to highlight one of Laurie’s latest projects: an American Girl backdrop. (If I didn’t have three floors of my own and a porch on the way, I might be a little jealous.) From what I understand, these AG dolls—and other dolls of similar size—are quite popular among young girls right now, and I, for one, am very thankful for that…otherwise I might not have half the furniture I currently enjoy in my own not-so-humble abode!

Anyway, it seems Laurie had so much fun making my backdrops that she got it in her head to make some more, except this time on a slightly larger scale for the AG dolls. Heaven only knows what she’s going to do with them all, but that’s her problem, not mine. Just as long as she leaves my corner of the dining room out of it…IMG_1051

So here are the “bones” of her first backdrop: a 2’ x 4’ MDF board (1/8” thick) bought at Home Depot. This picture shows it cut in half then duck-taped together again with an inch-wide “spine,” as well as a cutout for the door. The cutout will later become the actual door.

The next step requires some fun fabric that would look great as wallpaper and spray adhesive glue. Laurie used Elmer’s CraftBond. Cut the fabric so it overlaps the MDF board by an inch or two, protect the area in which you are going to use the adhesive spray, then glue the fabric to the board one section at a time. She did this step too fast the first time and the fabric didn’t stick, so make sure to spray slowly up and down and work the fabric along a few inches at a time, smoothing it out as you go. Because her board was 48” and her fabric only 44”, she used the door frame as a natural break in the two pieces of fabric and lined up the pattern accordingly.IMG_1248 After that, it’s ModPodge time. Two coats of ModPodge, sanding after each coat. This gives the fabric durability and makes it feel less like cotton fibers. 😉 Once that’s dry, carefully flip the backdrop over and ModPodge the ends of the fabric to the back of the board.



Next stop: the doorframe. Laurie used 1-inch wide trim from Lowe’s as the frame and chiseled out the areas in which the hinges could nestle so the trim would lay flush against the “wall.”IMG_1246 Next she stained the wood and then glued the hinges into place.

Time to make the donuts…er, the door! Using the cutout as her base, she first measured and cut strips of Balsa wood for the detailed work then stained everything the same color as the frame (I know it doesn’t look the same, but it is; case of different types of wood). Afterward, she glued the Balsa wood to the door base, taking care to hide the hinges beneath the right-hand strip of wood.


The door pre-assembly…


The door after assembly…

What kind of glue did she use for the wood, you ask? Her go-to glue, of course: Loctite Power Grab, which holds fast and dries clear.

Lastly, she glued on the doorknob—found in the scrapbooking department at her local craft store!! Perfect size, isn’t it? If scrapbooking places are hard to come by in your area, Home Depot has a great selection of small cabinet hardware you could use for a doorknob. (It worked for my front porch, but shhh—I’m not supposed to tell you that yet!)

Isn't this fantastic?!

Isn’t this fantastic?!










Oh, look...it's Caroline!

Oh, look…it’s Caroline!

Make yourself right at home, dear...but I get my desk back after this post!

Make yourself right at home, dear…but I get my desk back after this post!













Now that the hard work is done, let the glue set for 24 hours…and you’re ready to play! I, uh, mean, your kids are ready to play. Naturally, I don’t mean you. (Not to worry—your secret is safe with me…)

Hey, Laurie, guess what…

You're not the only grown-up who plays with dolls!

You’re not the only grown-up who plays with dolls!