Wednesday, February 14, 2018

American Girl Tastes on a "My Life" Budget...

So you or your child wants American Girl but you see sticker shock by the $115 dollar price tag at Toys R Us, Kohls, or the American Girl Place stores... I understand that. Why do you think it took me almost 30 years to get my first American Girl doll? Because I didn't have the secrets... Perhaps they should stay secrets hmmm. I am for one NOT discouraging you to go and spend your money directly to American Girl because if we don't buy American Girl then American Girl will cease to exist and the secondary market will sky rocket with prices that are ridiculous probably. Plus going to American Girl Doll Place is a very cool experience for girls (or boys) and adults alike. Of course if your not near American Girl Place you can find American Girl items at select Kohls, Target, and Toys R Us stores... if your here in Huntsville stop by the Space and Rocket Center and see :)
I have shared on my blog how to find the best deals on American Girl dolls.. I have gotten at least fourteen out of my fifty 18 inch dolls for under $50... Past blogs are here....(1), (2), and (3).

First of all make sure you set up alerts everywhere you can... Are you in Facebook American Girl Groups? Check the sidebar of my blog for a listing of AG groups on Facebook. Are you in Facebook Yard Sale Groups? Some allow you to set up search alerts for those or just go to the Facebook Marketplace and it will send you a notification once you set up alerts there. There are great apps like Offerup, Letgo, Ebay, Mercari or find the Goodwill auction website. Don't forget Craigslist! Be regulars at your favorite thrift stores so they know you, they know your looking for dolls (you don't have to specify AG), and they might alert you when they come in. There is Once Upon a Time Children's consignment and other seasonal and full time consignment stores might end up getting American Girl. To catch a unicorn American Girl deal you might have to check for months or even a year regularly but its worth it!

Just this week I was trying to help my sister and her friend find American Girl in her area and I saw several dolls under $30! My sister missed them all *face palm*

Because when they are at $20 they will sell fast so ask the seller as soon as you see them and set up a time you can meet up. 

Now lately the secondary market is in a concerning sales slump... Things that used to sell very high are coming down in price but less than $40 is still worth it as long as there aren't any non-fixable flaws. To check on what is something worth always check Ebay SOLD auctions

I frequent yard sales and rummage sales in the Spring and Summer season. I usually try to check Craigslist on Thursdays and Fridays to see if anyone has posted yard sales that are advertising they have American Girl on hand. Go early (but don't bug the resident), just wait until they are open or another person goes in and then politely ask about the dolls. Now I have had a few misses where I chose not to harass the person before the sale and I have lost out but I don't know if being rude is worth scoring a deal on AG. I always have the motto if its meant to be it will be. I was bored and not feeling well one day and I was scrolling through Facebook Yard Sale Groups and I noticed a yard sale advertised.. No American Girl was mentioned on the ad but I spotted one in the picture and I ended up getting two dolls for $15 a piece without any major flaws... like absolutely none.
So get out of the house on a Saturday and don't be afraid to attend estate sales, neighborhood yard sales, and even church rummage sales... you never know what they will end up with sometimes they don't know the treasure they have! If I don't see any and they have advertised some I'd ask and lucked out very much like that. Someone in the groups shared a story about going to a Man's yard sale (you know when a man sells all his tools and anything another man would like) and the wife tagged a long and asked the guy and he said oh yeah in the basement I have some old dolls and they were very collectible American Girl dolls. My husband collects very old board games from the 60's-80's and one guy he has dealt with here in town has a huge yard sale every year and I have gotten three American Girl beds from him for under $20. Come to find out the dealer buys Ebay lots and storage units at blind sales and ends up with this stuff.

It seems that even though the American Girl Secondary Market is struggling (as well as its been reported that sales are down with American Girl) Some American Girl items do retail their value. I decided to really splurge and buy American Girl Luciana's Space Suit from the AG store on release day and it was a hefty price. It was $75 on January 1, 2018....
Here is a screen shot of the prices on Ebay today.... Just a month and a half later
Its currently backordered on the official AG webpage until March
I have written blogs before about WHY American Girl is worth the sticker shock. Its worth the sticker shock even if your 4 year old LOVES that McKenna doll. But if you aren't picky and you are patient you can find your needle in a hay stack and find an American Girl for under $50. With some education you can even fix small repairs. Once you master these repairs you will be flipping dolls before you know it or like me donating them to a worthy cause. 

To cut the sticker shock some you can of course buy little pieces and accessories from Target (Our Generation), and Walmart (My Life Is...) brands especially for those little hands that might tend to lose them and put up the nicer AG pieces until they are older. I do not suggest waiting because you wait too long and they are sold out and or archived. I can't completely recommend using the other brands of clothes as they may leave dye on your doll and cause a headache in order to clean her up. Some are ill fitting at times too. So watch the sale page on AG and the purges in the AG groups to score those little pieces or clothing items at a discounted price.

Happy Valentines Day with Phoebes Phasions

I met a young lady on the Amino groups for American Girl. One of these talented young ladies on the Amino group shared her work with me. I was so excited I told her to throw me together a box of different Valentines themed items. I wanted to share her talent with my visitors to my blog. . I will be giving away a code on 10% off your next order (exclusions are custom orders). So comment about how your dolls spend Valentines Day and what you like on Phoebe's Phashions Etsy page  for a chance at 10% off.
Everything came beautifully and professionally wrapped in a nice box with fairly fast shipping. My husband didn't even want me to unwrap the items...

The dum dum suckers look authentic, there is a little box of starburst and a couple of fruity drinks for the girls... Also a cute little handmade pendant for Sheeran :) Isn't it cute?
I can't wait to order more for my St Patty's Display! Everything is so well made I will be going back to Phoebe's Phashions
Why don't you take a look here

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Luciana has arrived

Luciana has arrived and straight out of the wig cap her bangs were crazed.. Even after a spritz and a bobby pin and nothing... LOL
But I was sitting here trying to tame her bangs. William (my 8 year old) asked where his custom doll, Lil Will, was. I stated upstairs on the top shelf of the doll shelf. My 8 year old never goes upstairs on his own but he ran upstairs and some how got Will off the top shelf. Ran downstairs and was stripping the new Space Suit we got at our AG visit that he hadn't taken off of Will since we got home and he preferred the spacesuit over his new Lego's he got on the trip. I asked why he was taking off the Spacesuit. He said that Luciana needed it and he was going to put Lil Will in the Flight Suit LOL.. and then he grabbed her shipping box so they could go on their Mars Mission. I knew he'd love this NASA theme :)
ps. He also doesn't want to exchange Luciana for a tame one... because she's unique-- pray for me LOL

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Luciana Vega's Release in Nashville, TN

My family plus my nephew went to the release day for Luciana Vega at the American Girl boutique in Nashville. Ever since I heard about Luciana I was in love. We live near Huntsville, AL and we are very space oriented people. We love STEM. Then we heard Luciana's character goes to Space Camp in Huntsville. I knew it was meant to be. So Skylar and my 8 year old William, My husband and my nephew headed up to Nashville on the 1st. William has Autism and complex ADHD and there was no way he would be willing to wait in long lines.  Skylar and my nephew immediately took off to the bathrooms (nothing else was open) and we had a long journey behind us. Yes I am an adult collector and yes my children love American Girl too. So yes I was excited this the first doll where I would break my personal rules about what I'd buy... Of course I am willing to share my love of dolls with anyone no matter the age. There was a lady two people up from me in line. She was bragging about being from Huntsville as well and how her husband worked for NASA. Her daughter asked me excitedly if I knew what an item in her hand was. It was the sparkly bracelet to a new dress. I recognized it. So I started chatting the child up about the bracelet and what dress it came with and what dolls she had. Her mother rudely cut her off and said you can't educate her she already knows a lot about dolls. My thought was lady I wasn't trying to educate your child or vice versa I was just chatting with an excited little girl waiting a long time in a long line especially since my own kids had abandoned me. LOL I got the vibe of unwelcome conversation from her so I started speaking to the woman in between us who said she wanted to collect the Girl of the Year dolls from 2009. I asked her if she also lived in Huntsville and told them about a friend with the 2009 dolls and more. The NASA wife intruded on the conversation and said what does that lady do just buy to resell in a very snobby tone. She said does she even have kids? I said yes she has a daughter and she has her own dolls. Then she kept asking questions about this friends spending habits. I said I had no idea her intentions on why she bought so many items but that was trying to sell them now. She had a very snobby attitude about this adult collector/dealer/customer of AG friend of mine. Again I revert my attention back to the lady next to me in line and behind me. The NASA wife looked at me with her two Tenney dolls (one in a box she was going to return that may have been purchased at Kohls), and her daughter had two dolls in her arms and said we aren't collectors we just play with our dolls. Here I am holding my children's obviously played with dolls. One on a back pack and one in my arms. The more I thought about the bitterness of this lady just because she assumed my friend and I were collectors or dealers. What's wrong with that? Some people find it disturbing that adults play with dolls. I get that. My own step son finds my dolls creepy. He's entitled to his opinion. Don't assume you standing next to me that I am a dealer or collector. You don't know me. I am a collector though and my immediate family embraces it and my friends know who to call when they need doll stuff or advice. I just can't get over how bitter this woman is to me and the nerve of her bragging that her husband got a job at NASA just last month so they HAD to get Luciana if she could exchange Tenney. 

The crowd proved too much for William and his anxiety but Skylar and my nephew stayed with me in the store. We got the adorable free t-shirt, activity sheet and Space Suit. The catalog says its only limited to reward members till July 2018... no one seems to know after July will it be available to the general public or will it just be sold out by then. So I wasn't taking my chances and my son hasn't taken it off his doll since we got home. Every day he's building a new rocket for his doll to fly in.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

American Girl Contributors sought

I would like to do a blog featuring other bloggers. Specifically other bloggers and collectors of the Pleasant Company and American Girl doll collectors. I would like to feature pictures and facts on the different variations of dolls and their items... If you would like to contribute please contact me. Thank you! 

Holiday In Store Exclusive gowns

American Girl had In Store Only Exclusive gowns. This year its also available online.
Here are the following details...
The Merry and Bright Gown Set was released in 2013 and retired the same year. Retail Cost was $72

The Ruby Ball Gown Set was released in 2014 and archived in 2015. Retail cost was $72

The Frosted Violet Gown was released in 2015 and retired 2016 retail cost was $58

The Fancy Frost Ballgown was released in 2016 and retailed for $58
The Shimmering Ballroom Gown is available now online and in the store for $58

What does this terminology mean?

Newcomers to American girl are frequently asking some questions
So I'd thought I 'd share some examples

What are strings and what exactly do they do?
Sometimes (most) American Girl dolls and Gotz dolls are attached from their head to their torso with strings. The strings are there to hold the head on. Don't cut them. Just tuck them in the back of their outfits and it will be fine. American Girl goes through periods of also using a zip tie to keep the head attached. It might to deter people from customizing their dolls or it might be a cost saving measure. Here is a picture of Kaya and her neck strings.

Loose Limbs
It may be important to a collector or a child if the doll has loose limbs. Tightened limbs help with posing and help the doll stand. Dolls should be able to hold a Superman pose if held up by the torso.
This doll is pretty good at holding the Superman pose. If I remember correctly the Marie Grace dolls and Lindsey dolls are chronically loose.
This doll's legs flop down because her limbs are loose. It can be a pretty easy fix yourself or a simple trip to the American Girl doll hospital to remedy this problem.
I buy restringing kits here -
Then follow this video Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
You can prevent loose limbs by not leaving a doll in a sitting position. Don't ship them in a sitting position. :)

What are Shine Marks? 
Doll's vinyl has a matte finish so due to years of play, the oils on our skin, rubbing on the doll in any way can create a shine mark.
I don't think any of my dolls have a noticeable shine mark that will show up on camera.
but to give you an idea its just a shinier part of their vinyl than the rest.

some shine marks after years of play is to be expected. I always put that as a disclaimer when I sell a used doll.
If the shine mark is on their face and not on the face paint (blush, eye brows, lips) you can use micro mesh to smooth it out. You can also try and use a baking soda paste with a fine toothbrush to scrub away all the dirt. If its on the limbs you can use magic eraser, micro mesh, and or the baking soda paste.