Friday, January 29, 2016

The Girls Go Camping

A Journey Girls Camping Trip

"I am so excited for our girls night camping trip" Kelsey tells Chavonne as they drive to their camp site with Mikaella and Jordanna following behind them.  

Chavonne turns off of the road, the Jeep bouncing from side to side with the weight of the trailer making the swaying even worse.  

Mikaella follows behind, glad that she brought a tent rather than a camper.  They drive on the grassy trail until Kelsey hollers, "Look, there is a great spot for us to camp."

"That is an awesome spot, Kelsey." Chavonne agrees.  Jordan and Mikaella pull up next to them on the grass.  "Hey, what do you think of that spot up there at the top of the hill," Chaconne yells to the other Jeep.

 Mikaella turns to Jordanna, who nods her approval.  Mikaella hollers back, "Looks great.  Let's set up camp...I am starving!"  Chavonne drives to the top of the hill, parking the camper in a level area of the field.  Mikaella pulls up right behind her.

As Kelsey gets out of the Jeep and stretches, Jordanna begins unpacking the tent she and Mikaella will share.  "You guys need any help wit that?" asks Kelsey.

"No."  Jordan replies lifting the tent out as she does.  "We can set it up on our own.  Plus don't you have to get the camper ready?"

"Probably.  I'm a little nervous to open the doors after that bumpy ride"  Kelsey smiles, walking to the side of the camper to start unpacking and cleaning up.

Jordan tosses the tent on the ground, while Mikaella takes the sleeping bags from the Jeep.

"Well," Jordanna sighs, "Let's get started."  She loves sleeping in a tent when she camps, but she is not as excited to set it up.  "Does this go over here, do you think?" She asks Mikaella as she pulls one of the tent poles towards another one.

"I sure hope so."  Mikaella giggles, "Otherwise we will be sleeping under the sky tonight."

"There.  Done!" Jordan excitedly proclaims as she opens the entrance doors.  "I am so glad you are with me. Uh...I would not have done well with this myself."  Mikaella giggles and starts putting their sleeping bags and bags in the tent.

Meanwhile, Kelsey has opened the camper to see if anything has moved out of place and to get it ready for the night.  She is surprised to see that nothing has moved.

Kelsey is still inspecting the camper when Chavonne, who was parking the Jeep, hollers, "Come here you guys.  Looks there is an awesome trial over here we could drive the Jeeps down."   Jordan, Mikaella, and Kelsey come over to see what Chavonne is talking about.

"What do you think?" she asks.

"Let's do it" Jordanna says.

"Totally," agrees Kelsey.

"Looks like tons of fun!" Mikaella exclaims clapping her hands together rapidly as she does.  They get back into the Jeeps and head off for a short adventure!

Check back later to see what else the girls do on their camping trip!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Journey Girls Polka Dot Sweater Set

Callie Tries On the Polka Dot Sweater Set

Some of the best outfits are the ones that can be used in many different ways.  An elegant flowing dress is beautiful, but is not super useful in an everyday setting.  Journey Girls does a great job of giving their fans a variety of outfits, including practical outfits like this one.

The Polka Dot Sweater set comes with burnt red pants, a place shirt, a polka dotted sweater, a tan leather purse, and the infamous black slit boots.  This set has a lot to it compared to some of the Celebrate outfits that were released in September along with this outfit.

The pants are pretty standard, except that the color, which is a dark red color.  The material is a nice heavy cotton jean like fabric  There is stitching to make it look like there are pockets in the front of the pants, but there is no opening.  The pants have a liner (which seems to be standard on dark colors now) on the inside.  This is usually a very nice feature, but on these pants it makes them tight, even though on the outside they are not.   They are just big enough to go over the boots, which makes them look better since you can't notice the huge slit up the back.  Cute pants.

The first layer on top is the flannel shirt.  It has beautiful greens, blues and whites in it, similar to the blue plaid top (kind of).  It's made out of a linen type of cotton, not flannel.  The shirt has a wide collar.  It velcros up the front, which is nice, but it would have been awesome to have buttons.  The sleeves are long if they are rolled down. There is a slit about an inch long that makes it so that you can easily flip the sleeves up, forming a cuff.  This looks great , especially when the sweater is on also.  The great thing about the flannel shirt is that it can be worn on it's own an it looks great.

The sweater is a nice soft black stitched material with white polka dots covering it.  It has a wide arcing neckline to show off the flannel shirt below it.  Even without the flannel though the neckline is high enough to look good on Callie.  The sleeves are a little short to show off the flannel cuffs.  Again, even without the flannel, the sweater looks good.  There is mesh white fabric on the inside of the sweater to help discourage color transfer.  The sweater velcro up the back.

With the great tops there has to be something that isn't awesome (well besides the shoes).  The bag is the simplest part of this outfit.  The color and material is wonderful.  It is a nice tan "leather" material.  It is very boring though.  It's a square purse with two handles.  Nothing much.  It does open, which is nice, and it fits on Callie's shoulder well.  So it's not the worse thing in the world.  It could be better though.

Are these boots from another set?  They could be.  You wouldn't be able to tell, because they are exactly like every other set of boots.  They do look really nice when they are covered with the pants, the boots are okay!

All ratings are out of 10

Value 9 – With two tops included this is a great outfit for the price.  Plus it comes with a purse, not an awesome purse, but a functional purse.  And even the boots are okay with this outfit.

Fitment 9 – The pants are tight.  Everything else fits great.  As with other Journey Girls items, each set can be different.  Meaning the set that you pick up may have pants that fit wonderfully.

Versatility 9 – Lots of possibilities here.  The shirt and sweater will go with so many different outfits.  Add jeans to the flannel top and get a very casual outfit.  Add a skirt to the sweater and you get a fancier outfit.  Even the boots can be used with other outfits...but you won't have to because they already have these boots.

Cuteness 8 – This is a cute outfit.  It is one that grows on you the more you have it.  It just isn't a stand out beauty.  The colors are great together and it has a great design.

Overall 9 – A very good quality outfit with a lot of options because of all the pieces to it.  It's awesome to have two separate tops instead of sewn in cuffs and a collar.  The outfit actual has three different outfits.  The colors on the outfit are wonderful together.  Even though the purse isn't amazing, it does open, is functional, and the color is perfect for the outfit.  She boots work well with this outfit, even though you already have them from another set.  Overall I wonderful set.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Skate Park Fun

Meredith, Callie, and Dana Hit the Skate Park

"Come on you two!"  Callie hollered as she skates towards the skate park. 

"We're coming."  Meredith says as she turns to Dana, "she is super excited to try out that new board." Dana just smiles as they catch up to Callie.  The park is completely empty this early in the day.  That's great, this way no one will see them wipe out as they try some new tricks.

"Before we skate, let's take a picture." Dana suggests.

"Great idea." Callie grabs her board as do Dana and Meredith.  They pose before rushing off to try the park out.

They all run to the top of the halfpipe.  Callie edges her skateboard towards the lip of the halfpipe.  She looks down, butterflies in her stomach, then pushes over the lip and sails down.  "Wahoo!" she yells as the wind whips her pig tails back.

Dana dives in next, curving her skate board over to an edge so that she can grind it.

She slides across the edge on the front truck of the board, balancing delicately all the way down the edge.

"Nice job!" yells Meredith from atop the halfpipe.  She patiently waits for Dana to be out of the way so she can go down.  She wants to get some awesome speed to try a few really cool tricks.

Once Dana is done with her grind, Meredith pushes her board over the lip, flying down the halfpipe.

She picks up speed as she hits the bottom of the halfpipe and starts out on the flat part of the park.  She pumps with her foot, trying to get even more speed.  She ollie's her board high enough to get up on the bench and then rides it to the end.

In the meantime, Dana is across the park, where she has found a great hand rail to practice her board slide.  She ollie's onto the handrail, landing the skateboard right in the middle so the bottom of the board is on the rail.  She slides down the whole rail, waving her arms to keep her balance.  She has a little trouble on the landing, but doesn't wipe out.

Callie isn't a great grinder like Dana.  And she can't do awesome tricks like Meredith.  But she is really good at jumps.  She heads to the largest jump in the park.  As Dana and Meredith look on Callie hits the jump...

..and lands perfectly.  She raises her hands in the air.  "Yay!"  She screams.  The other two girls join her.

"That was totally sweet!" Dana yells.  She skates off to another ledge to practice board slides again.

The ledge is easier to slide on then the hand rail, because it is a little easier to balance on.  But not by much.  She rides the edge and then ollie's off of it, landing goofy footed.

"Hey," Meredith called, "Come over here and watch this."  Dana and Callie skated over to the halfpipe with Meredith.  "You two stay at the top.  I'm going to go to the other side and then do my trick in front of you."

"Be careful." cautions Callie.  But Meredith is halfway across the park picking up speed as she goes.  She races up the halfpipe on the other side, then comes cruising towards Dana and Callie.  They step back from the edge, not sure what Meredith is going to do.  

As she gets to the top of halfpipe Dan and Callie are on, Meredith plants her hand on the edge of the pipe and kicks her skateboard up above her head.  Callie and Dana looked on, eyes wide as Meredith pulls off an amazing hand plant.

Meredith lands,  rolls down to the bottom of the pipe, and jumps off her board in celebration.

"OH...MY...GOSH!"  Callie shrieks as she runs down the halfpipe.  "That was totally crazy!!!"

"Super cool!" Dana agrees.

Meredith is all smiles as she cries at the top of her lungs, "YAAAAAY!!!"   The three girls hug and then sit down, talking about all of the amazing tricks and moves the tried today.

"It was a great day at the skate park."  declares Callie.  The other two girls agree.

Callie is wearing the skateboarding outfit from American Girl from 2014.

Dana is grinding in an Our Generation top and shorts.  She is porting some awesome Springfield sneakers, and her board is from Our Generation.

Meredith is shredding it in an Our Generation shirt, Journey Girls shorts, Our Generation shoes, and her board is an awesome Dollar Store find.

Make sure whenever you skateboard you wear the proper safety gear.  Dolls don't bruise, but you will.  :)

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Fix a leg

Fixing Meredith's Leg

Fixing a Journey Girls leg is very similar to fixing her arm.  The nice part is it is easier and you don't have to fabricate any pieces.  As with the arm, this is only one way to fix the legs.  I personally like this way since it gives the legs some flexibility, but it is not the only way to fix the broken joint.

Here are the tools you will need:
Needle nosed pliers (curved is better)
Wire cutter
Small flat head screwdriver
X-acto knife or hobby knife
Embossing tool or hair dryer
Drill with a 5/32 size bit
100 grit sandpaper

Supplies you will need:
Bungee cord (found online or at some camping stores)
Two 5/16 brass compression inserts (found at hardware stores - usually in the plumbing department)
One 1/8 x 3/4 washers

The leg joint is made of three parts: a sphere that sits in the leg, a receiver cup in the body, and a cup in the body that is attached to the leg via a rod.  As with the arm, the rod is the weakest part of this combination and the most common place that breaks occur. 

The first thing that you will have to do is get the rod out of the cup.  To do this you will have to open the back seam of the fabric.  Open it far enough that you can get in and out of the body easily.  Take out all of the stuffing, put it in a container for later.  Find the cup for the leg that you are replacing, then cut the tip of the rod off using the wire cutters.  You unfortunately can't push the rod through the cup into the body, so this is the only way to remove it.

Place the cup off to the side.  You won't need this for the repair.  The cup is designed so that the leg can move more freely on the receiver cup, but with this fix that movement is not required.  If you put it back on it will actually make the new joint more loose.

If there is any part of the rod sticking off of the sphere use it to pull the sphere out of the leg.  You will have to heat the vinyl with an embossing tool or a hair dryer to make the vinyl more pliable. 

Wiggle the sphere back and forth while pulling out.  You can also twist the sphere as you pull and it will come out.  If it is really stuck in the leg and won't come out even after heating the vinyl, use the small screwdriver to pry it out.  

Find one of the ridges on the sphere and pull with the screwdriver.  Try not to use a levering motion as that will push on the vinyl and could deform it.  

Once you get the sphere, cut the rod off as close to the sphere as possible using the wire cutters.  I would also suggest sanding the spot down where you cut the rod off, so that there are no harsh edges.

After sanding the sphere, drills hole through the top of it where the rod was sticking out.  Try to get the drill right in the middle of the "X" created by the rod.  Keep the drill straight so that your hole is as close to the center when it goes through as possible.  If it's not perfect it's not a big deal.

Before reassembling your doll you will need to prepare the new parts.  Cut a piece of bungee 6 inches long.  

Take one of the brass sleeves and cut it about in half with the wire cutters.  When I did this, it squished the end that I cut.  If that occurs, use the needle nosed pliers and squeeze the sleeve until it is round again.  You only need to cut one of the brass sleeves.

Now you are ready to but your doll back together.  Take the bungee cord and tie a knot at the end of it.  

Slide the shorter brass sleeve onto the bungee with the flange end facing away from the knot.  Crimp the sleeve as close to the knot as you can.  Make sure it doesn't move when you pull on it. Next slide the sphere onto the bungee with the area where the rod used to be facing away from the brass sleeve.

Warm the vinyl up on your dolls leg.  Put the end of the bungee with the brass sleeve on it in first than put the sphere in the leg.  The sphere went in much easier than it came out.  I pushed straight into the leg as far as I could, then turned the sphere as I pushed and it went in.  Use the pliers or the screwdriver and push on the top of the sphere as much as possible to get it into the leg.  You can use the screwdriver and push on the ridges to help the sphere get in, but my experience was that it seemed to go in better when pushing on the top.

Once the sphere is in the leg, pull the bungee cord through the receiving cup in the dolls body.  Make sure that the leg is facing the correct direction before going to the next step.  

Next, slide the washer onto the bungee cord.  You may have to snip the end of the bungee cord off if it is a little frayed to get the washer on.  Slide it all the way down to the receiver cup.  

Slide the brass sleeve onto the bungee with the flanged end towards the washer.  

Make sure the leg is in the socket, then pull as hard as you can on the bungee cord while pushing down on the brass sleeve.  Get it as tight as possible and then crimp the brass sleeve.  Make sure it is really crimped.  You don't want it to slide.  This is what will make the leg stay in position.  Once you have it crimped, tie a knot as close to the brass sleeve as you can, then cut the access bungee cord off.

Before sewing your doll back up, check to see that the leg joint is tight.  Stand her up and make sure that she stands.  This joint is looser than the original joint.  If it is as tight as you can get it, there should be no issues with the legs or the doll standing.  I replaced both of Meredith's hip joints and she stands great!  She even sits a little better!  Not a lot...but a little.  

If the stitching around the leg comes apart (which I saw one person post about), this fix will not help you.  I am not a very good I'm not sure how you would fix that.  I would think that you may have to replace a good chunk of the cloth body.

I hope this is helpful.  Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions: