Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dolls on Vacation: Your Kids Will Love It!

  Attention Emma! Do not read this post! Childhood spoilers!!
  One of the things we used to do with the kids when they were little was send their dolls on 'vacation'. I think it all started when Emma sent Fuzzy's dolls to the North Pole to meet Doll Santa. But I took it from there, with Ken's help, and Emma's dolls started to 'travel' too. The kids would pick where they wanted their dolls to go,pack the dolls suitcases, and the dolls would all board the plane. Sometimes the plane would have to  sit 'on the runway' for a while, until the kids weren't looking. Then it would 'take off'. Before we had Ivy her room was the spare bedroom, and I would 'launch' the plane from that upstairs window. The kids were below in the dining room so they could see it 'fly' off. When Fuzz was really tiny he said he could see the plane way up in the sky as it flew away. I still don't know if he really thought he could see it, or if he was just playing. The power of suggestion is very strong sometimes!
  The plane was gone and wouldn't usually show up again until the dolls 'came home'. Sometimes, for convenience, the plane would come back and wait until it had to go pick them up. The dolls would send emails home, with pictures of their adventures in all the far away places. This was accomplished by putting the dolls in front of colour photographs.(We had some books and calendars, and the library has loads of books.) I got pretty good at matching the lighting on the dolls to the lighting in the photographs. Some of the pictures looked amazingly real. If it was a sunny picture, I put the dolls in the sun with the picture behind them.


Emma and best friend Susan at the Eiffel Tower.
   I had to be careful there were no shadows or shine on the photographs the dolls were in front of. Sometimes for specific things we would do a bit of photoshopping, but those pictures never looked as real. I'm sure these days, with all the computer programs people have access to, an amazing job could be done.
  The kids loved getting emails from their dolls. I tried to make them funny, and also have them contain real information about the places they had gone. I used real places whenever I could. When Fuzzy the Doll went to Africa, he not only visited the pyramids, but a real mining town, which I had to research to find. I used pictures of the real places. When Fuzzy the Doll went to the Himalayas to search for Yeti,not only were there pictures of the dolls in the village below the mountains,


Fuzzy and his guide starting up the mountain in Tibet.


Little Purple gets to pet a yak in Tibet.
 ..but I put the dolls in our ice filled freezer and photographed them! They had a snowball fight, staked their flag up, and found a Yeti footprint, all in our freezer.
   When Blue went to China she brought home Lucky Money envelopes for all the other dolls, and explained in her emails what they were. So the kids learned a little about the country they had picked for their doll to visit each time.Ivy had a big interest in Pompeii, so Blue and friends went there.Blue even brought back a piece of lava. (There are crumbs of it all over the ground in the parking lot where Walmart sells their lava rocks in the summer...)

Blue views a mural in Pompeii.


Blue and Swingy Legs in Pompeii.
  The dolls always brought home souvenirs from their trip. That's when I started making all the miniature stuff. I had to come up with all those tiny things from all those places. From the Himalaya trip Fuzzy brought home a plaster cast of a Yeti foot print,a miniature llama (the 'Dolly llama') and a hat from the village where they stayed. When Emma the Doll went to Paris, she brought home a Paris dress with matching hat. When Blue went to Italy she brought home a grease stained paper bag of biscotti and a Michelangelo's David Dress Me magnet set. (He came wearing boxer shorts.) From England they brought home Beatles postcards from Liverpool,Doctor Who magnets from their trip to the BBC gift shop,a set of antique cigarette cards of British royalty,a tiny wooden box of hand milled English soap,a box of English toffee, a packet of real tea,and a print of the Titanic autographed by the last survivor,Millvina Dean the Doll. (Like me, Ivy has had an obsession with the Titanic.) When Blue and Fuzzy went to China they even brought back pet macaque monkeys.(You never know what you can make until you try!) They even went to Disney World once and brought back tiny Disney toys.They usually brought back money from their country too.
  The kids loved the dolls vacations, even though they hated being without their dolls. They also used to worry when they were really tiny that the dolls would be ok, so far away and alone. So the dolls went to Doll England,and Doll China, etc. And dolls are always safe there, even unchaperoned.(Not like the real world.)Of course, the dolls never really left town. Although, sometimes I did have to leave our house to photograph them without being seen by the kids! I remember fighting the wind in a parking lot once! I hid the dolls while they were 'gone'. When it was time for them to come home they usually did so while the kids were gone, and the kids would come home to find the plane back in Emma's room, or on the upstairs landing. Although happy to see their dolls again, the kids also dived for the suitcases to check out what the dolls had brought home.
  We still have all the dolls' emails. The kids have copies and I have a notebook with the whole set. They enjoyed occasionally rereading those emails for years.
  I just thought I would put this out there, for those of you who might like to try it. Bon voyage!

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