Posts Tagged ‘maplelea’

Charlsea’s Hometown!

Back in May Charlsea and I took a little trip to Salt Spring Island! Do you know where Salt Spring Island is? It’s in Canada, well below the 49th parallel, just a little north and west from where I live.

Our journey started with a ferry off our island and onto San Juan Island.



We hung out in Friday Harbor for a little bit, enough time for breakfast and some quick exploring.




From Friday Harbor, we had to catch another ferry to Canada.



Here’s our first photo in Canada, just off the dock in Sidney, BC:


Our priority in Sidney was groceries! Specifically, my sister wanted quite a variety of Canadian candy bars. I also picked up Maple Bacon Potato Chips and Canadian Fanta.

Here are a few photos around Sidney:




From Sidney we had to ride a bus for just 10 minutes to the ferry terminal at Swartz Bay.




And we rode our third ferry of the day!




It wasn’t long before we were all ashore on Salt Spring Island!



We were able to catch a bus to our hotel.


Check out the guy who sat next to us on the bus; he has the same shoes as Charlsea!


We checked into the hotel, then headed out to explore town and find dinner. It was a lovely evening.











The next morning we started with the Salt Spring Island Saturday market!


The market was nice, and it sold all sorts of stuff. Didn’t buy anything (well, except for some poutine later from a food truck), but it was fun to look.




After we had thoroughly explored the market, we went hiking. But first, this bit of Salt Spring uniqueness:


We hiked around a park close to town. It had a few different trails, a Frisbee golf course, and carved up trees.













After hiking, Charlsea suggested we go kayaking.



But Charlsea wasn’t allowed to go because she left her PFD at home, and the store didn’t have any available in her size! So I went without her, and had a ton of fun, even if my arms were crazy sore later.

And the next morning we headed back home. Here are our last few photos of Canada:



before we got back on a ferry to Sidney,



then back to Washington. It was such a nice day for being out on the water!



This is Charlsea reading the ferry schedule, trying to figure out when we’d get home.


We had quite a lot of time to wait in Friday Harbor. We spent most of it eating Chinese food. But we finally made it home.


Salt Spring Island is a beautiful, almost magical place, definitely worth three ferry rides to get to. Until the next adventure!

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This Tuesday, I had plans to hang out on my day off with my coworker. Well, she bailed, and I found myself with 2 days and no plans. A TV show mentioned Vancouver, and I knew I wanted to go. Now. I got online to see if it was possible. I don’t drive, so I checked with greyhound, and yes, there was a bus that left in about 2 hours, and would arrive in Vancouver just in time for dinner. Hotels.com had good availability, and I found a nice place in the heart of downtown for under $100 USD.

Charlsea is the newest Maplelea girl. Her character is from BC, and my Charlsea doll has yet to take an adventure. My personal luggage was light, so I let Charlsea come along.

Here we are at the bus stop at home:
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We arrived at the greyhound station to a sad sight:

It was not quite 4:00 when I arrived for a 4:15 bus. I had paid for a ticket online, but I still needed to pick it up. I asked the bus driver for help, and he let me get on the bus to try to pick up my ticket at the next station. But he knew that our arrival would be close to the time that ticket office closes too. Yikes. I was a little stressed out for this leg of the journey, but we arrived on time, and I was able to get my tickets with little difficulty. So we were officially Vancouver-bound!


Riding a greyhound bus across an international border is pretty annoying. I had done it once before on the way home from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and thankfully we had fewer passengers this trip. All passengers have to get off the bus to talk to Customs/Border Patrol. It takes a pretty long time. We arrived in Vancouver about 30 minutes after scheduled.

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My dinner craving was for this super-yummy BBQ place in Gastown. I made the customs guy chuckle when I told him I was going to Canada to eat American-style BBQ, but it is really tasty. And it’s always fun to window shop in Gastown! Here’s Charlsea in front of the restaurant.

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I got a window seat at the restaurant, and enjoyed people watching and watching the moon come out. After dinner it was a short walk to our hotel. The hotel was far nicer than I required for a one-night stay. It had a small, but complete kitchen, and a separate sitting area. Here’s Charlsea basking on the king-sized bed under a fun photo of John and Yoko:

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In the morning we took a few moments to enjoy our lovely view (woohoo, corner room!)

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Sadly that’s the last bit of Vancouver that Charlsea was allowed to see. In true Vancouverness, it rained all day. I kept her in a plastic bag while I got yummy breakfast, a food truck lunch, and shopped for shoes and candy. But here she is back at the greyhound station:


I had a good trip, but I think Charlsea wants to go back when it’s not raining, or maybe to explore other areas around British Columbia. Hopefully we’ll be back soon!

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I did it again! I tried Maplelea clothes on American Girl dolls. This time I took the clothes from Saila’s collection.

The first photo is of 3 outfits that fit perfectly, with no surprise. They are Saila’s swimsuit, Saila’s pajamas, and a knit dress called Katajjaq Giggles.

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Next up is a photo of 3 outfits that had fit issues: Sweet Saxifrage, Tunic Time, and Ptarmigans Rock.

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The Sweet Saxifrage dress fits fine, but when Emily wears the shoes she has unsightly toe cleavage:

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Sonali looks pretty cute in the Saila’s tunic sweater, but she cannot get the leggings on over her feet. If you are interested in buying this outfit for your American Girl dolls, it wouldn’t be a big deal to cut a little snip at the ankle to be able to fit.

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And Mia was able to get the Ptarmigan pants on, but they didn’t quite stay closed at the waist and legs:

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And I’ve saved the best for last. These 3 outfits not only fit well, but they also look adorable. Here are Jess in Nunavut Now, Isabelle in Artfully Inspired, and Rebecca in the clothes that come on the Saila doll.

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I absolutely love Isabelle in this outfit. I imagine fashion designer Isabelle painting and blanket stitching this top herself, to commemorate a Canadian vacation. And, it looks cute with her pink extensions.

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I didn’t put Saila’s amauti on anyone today. I just wasn’t in the mood to mess up dolly hair with the amauti’s traditional over-the-head fit. I’m pretty sure it will fit, and I highly recommend the coat to all dolly owners. Did you know it is actually made in Nunavut?

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I have recently declared myself Maplelea’s biggest fan.  I have all 7 characters and a Maplelea Friend doll, and a whole bunch of outfits.  My American Girl dolls love having these Canadian friends, but for the most part, these 2 groups do not share clothes in my house.  They just don’t have a need to.  The American Girls have their clothes, and the Maplelea girls have their clothes.  The end.

But I realize that there are other people who want their doll clothes to fit their entire dolly family, so I thought it might be a nice time to have the American Girl dolls try on the Maplelea outfits, and share my results.  It will take me a while to get through all the outfits, but here’s a start.  Let’s start with the smallest Maplelea collection (so far), that of the newest Maplelea character Charlsea.


This first photo shows McKenna in the outfit Charlsea comes in (sadly not available without the purchase of a Charlsea doll), Chrissa in Charlsea’s Sea Otter Sleepwear, and Lea in the wetsuit from Charlsea’s West Coast Waterwear. These 3 outfits fit wonderfully, including Charlsea’s pink rainboots! The Maplelea feet are entirely different from American Girl feet, so most of the time when the shoes do fit, they still look silly. But the pink rainboots work really well. McKenna is not wearing Charlsea’s tights, because I didn’t want them to stretch out, but they will probably fit fine too because they’re stretchy.

Let’s put in a photo of Lea in Charlsea’s kayak, because that definitely fits dolls of many sizes.

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I didn’t have anyone try on Charlsea’s two-piece swimsuit that comes in the set with the wetsuit, but it’s stretchy, so will fit fine.

Let’s move on to the other 2 outfits not in that first photo: Charlsea’s snowsuit called Weekend at Whistler and Charlsea’s fun outfit called Gulf Island Stylin. Well, they’re not pictured because they don’t fit. Both outfits come with pants with a slim fit, and Maplelea legs are significantly thinner than AG legs. So both pairs of pants are a no-go on American Girl dolls.

Here’s McKenna trying to put on the Gulf Island Stylin pants:

and the snow pants from Weekend at Whistler:

She also tried on the jacket from Weekend at Whistler, and the sleeves didn’t quite fit:

but the jacket still looks pretty cute on McKenna:

And that’s all for the Charlsea outfits I had last week when I took these photos! This week I got Charlsea’s newest dress called Granville Island Groovy (and last weekend I went to Granville Island…if the outfit had arrived earlier Charlsea totally would have accompanied me, but it didn’t, so she didn’t!) Anyway, it’s a simple shift dress made with a stretch knit, so it will fit a wide variety of dolls. The outfit’s flip flops are another story. I’ll get you a photo of this dress eventually, probably the next time I go to Granville Island!


I think I’ll close with photos of Charlsea’s outfits on Maplelea dolls, because what’s a post about Maplelea without some Maplelea faces?

Taryn in Gulf Island Stylin:

and Charlsea’s swimsuit:

and Charlsea’s pajamas:
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Portia in Weekend at Whistler:
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and Charlsea wearing her wetsuit backwards:
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Last Monday, Alexi and I were on our way home from Toronto!

This was my second trip to Toronto, but Alexi didn’t go with me last time.  And a doll from Toronto deserves to visit Toronto.  We had quite an adventure, and after this trip, I have crowned myself queen of public transportation.  I landed in Canada with $30 local currency and 2 subway tokens (I actually ended up losing one somewhere) and managed through 3 separate transit systems of buses and subways.  It was rough.  But awesome.  Let’s go!

It started in the wee hours of Saturday, with a shuttle bus to the airport.

We first flew to Chicago.  Here we are waiting for our little airplane to take us to Toronto

We landed in Toronto about 7:30.  Again the actual customs line moved fast, but the wait for luggage was slow, just like when Leonie and I went to Canada in August.  We didn’t make it to our hotel until long after 9; too late for dinner.  Here we are waiting for our bus from the airport:

On Sunday we got up bright and early and had breakfast near the hotel, then took 2 buses to go to church.  I don’t always go to church when I’m on vacation, but I thought it would be important to go on this trip.  I found out after I booked the trip that last weekend was Thanksgiving weekend in Canada.  Thanksgiving in Canada has nothing to do with Pilgrims and Indians, but it is a time to be thankful for life’s blessings.  I think going to church is a perfect place to go to celebrate our many blessings.

I had lots of churches to choose from, but I chose one in the town of Richmond Hill.  Here’s Alexi at the transfer point:

and on the sidewalk outside the church.  What a lovely fall day!

A major factor in choosing the Richmond Hill ward was that it was just one bus away from the Promenade Mall.  Are you wondering what’s so special about the Promenade Mall?  I’ll tell you soon…

Here’s Alexi on the bus to the mall.  It was a rapid transit bus named Viva.

Well…the Promenade Mall is home to the Maplelea Seasonal Store!  The only Maplelea store in existence, and even it is only open until Christmas!  The store made me so happy.  I told my friends that I went to dolly heaven.  Here are some pictures I took of the in-store displays.

Maplelea just introduced 15 new friend dolls!  Here they are with the 12 original friend dolls

Here’s a closeup of the 2 girls that stood out the most to me, #14 and #15

And here are the front window displays.  Sorry for all the glare.  In the first photo, you can see a reflection of a little boy.  He really wanted his mommy to take his photo with the dollies, but mommy wouldn’t!

And they had a super-cute photo booth!  I had to take Alexi’s photo:

They had a lot of fun props for the photo booth:

I could have spent all day at the store, staring at all the pretty dollies.  But I had a lot more Toronto to see!  That night I went to a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner, then I went to Wonderland and rode roller coasters ’til midnight.  Alexi didn’t go to Wonderland.  She wouldn’t have been allowed on any of the rides anyway.

The next day we rode the subway downtown

First stop, breakfast:

If you’re interested, that is a worm and dirt doughnut and a strawberry banana yoghurt smoothie.

We wandered around downtown for about an hour, stopping for photo ops outside the hockey hall of fame:

The CN tower:

and the Sony Centre for Performing Arts

We also grabbed a photo of a random Canada Post box (because they’re so much cuter than a US mailbox)

and a streetcar (because it’s so much cuter than a bus)

Then we went to Eaton Centre, home of…

…an American Girl boutique!

It was cute and little.  I didn’t buy anything because I didn’t wanna pay the high sales tax rate, and I already have an American Girl Canada shirt that I got in Vancouver.  Just one cute photo.  I love Julie’s egg chair!

Then it was time for lunch, then back to the hotel to pick up luggage, then back to the airport.

We’ll close with this funny picture of Alexi on the airplane:

This was a quick, fun trip.  Toronto has so much to discover–I see myself visiting again and again.  Until next time!

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Is it still Monday where you live?  It is where I live, so I’m gonna squeeze in my photos of Charlsea and her collection.

Charlsea is the newest Maplelea girl.  She is from Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.  That is very close to where I live, and Charlsea and I have a lot in common.  For example, I got a kayak for Christmas.  Charlsea has her own kayak:

Isn’t she cute, and her outfit is so much fun!  Here’s a closeup of her tights and boots that she comes in:

Living on an island, Charlsea has a special relationship with the sea.  Her pajamas have sea otters on them, and they come with her favorite stuffie named Nottafish (because sea stars are not fish!).  Here they are modeled by Taryn (whose hair is quite a bit darker than Taryn’s, but Charlsea has slightly darker skin)

She also has a swimsuit and a wetsuit.  Here’s a picture of Charlsea wearing her wetsuit backwards.  I figured out later that it’s meant to zip up the back because it has a little sunshine graphic on the other side.

Charlsea is Canadian, so she needs a snowsuit.  Though her island doesn’t get much snow, she likes to head to Whistler with her family.  Here is Portia modeling “Weekend in Whistler”

And she has one more outfit available, called Gulf Island Stylin’.  It’s a little crazy, but I like it:

And finally, I took a new group photo of these outstanding Maplelea girls from Canada.  Here are Brianne, Leonie, Jenna, Charlsea, Taryn, Alexi, Saila, and Portia:

For this one, I think you need a link to a larger image

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Happy Monday!  Happy Labor Day to us Americans.  Labor Day is a holiday designed specifically to give people a day off work.  Unfortunately, I have to work today, but we have abbreviated hours!

I’m sorry I kinda forgot that I didn’t finish my journey to Newfoundland.  But here it is!

On the last day, we had just a few hours for some more sightseeing.  We stopped at Western Brook Pond for a group photo:

The woman holding Leonie is named Pam, and I remember most of the other names still, but I think it will be okay if I forget them tomorrow.

And we stopped at the Lobster Cove Lighthouse:

And then we grabbed lunch (A&W poutine and a root beer float!) and headed to the airport.  The flight home went a lot more smoothly then the flight out, but I am never flying home through Vancouver again.  I had to walk all the way across the airport to go through US customs, then walk a really long way to wear my tiny airplane was, and of course there was no food there.

But look at how cute Leonie was on the airplane:

(she had to sit on the tray table on the first flight, but then she got her own seat on the second/longer flight.  She took a nap).

I can’t wait until my next vacation!

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This is the last full day in Newfoundland.  Frown.  But it was a pretty nice day.  Smile.

It started with another boat trip.  This time through a fjord in the Gros Morne National Park.

And the scenery was absolutely gorgeous.

After the boat ride, we had lunch and a visit at the Gros Morne discovery centre.  This was home to the trip’s only moose sighting:

Okay, so it was a fake moose, but it seems to be pretty proportional to Leonie!

Gros Morne National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site, so the discovery centre had a little exhibit for each of Canada’s UNESCO sites.  Since Leonie is from Quebec City, she got her photo with the Quebec sign:

After we spent too much time at the Discovery Centre, we headed to the Tablelands.  The Tablelands are actually the mantle of the earth (you know, that stuff under the crust) that has been thrust upwards.  What does that look like?  Weird colored rocks:

Here’s the only photo of Marjorie in Newfoundland:

After we didn’t spend enough time at the Tablelands, we went out to Broom Point.  At Broom Point, a family whose name I can’t remember donated their land and fisherman buildings to Parks Canada.  So we learned about Newfoundland fishing traditions and stuff.  I grabbed a photo of our tour guide Paul dressed like the guy on the fish stick package.  He was not excited to be photographed with Leonie, but he did it anyway:

And some lovely photos of Leonie with a lobster trap by the seashore:

And then we headed back to the hotel for dinner.  Tonight after dinner was a musical performance featuring some traditional Newfoundland music.  There were a lot of songs about drinking.  Interesting.

And then I packed my bags.  It was a bit of a challenge to fit the items I had accumulated back into carryon size bags.  I had expanded to make my day bag lighter, plus all my yummy Canadian snacks, and a few souvenirs.  But I did it.

I started to be sad to leave Newfoundland.  It’s a beautiful island, and the small population made it feel so undiscovered.  Like now I’m in on a secret.  The secret of Newfoundland and Labrador.

I’ll have one more post as I talk about the absolute last day of vacation, and then I’ll have to post because I bought 2 new dollies this week.  Do you know who they are?

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Hello!  I’m back to tell you about the 4th day of our trip to Newfoundland and Labrador!

This was probably second favorite day of the trip (yesterday was the first), but I don’t have too many photos for you.

We started our day with a whale watching tour!

And we saw lots and lots of whales.  Mostly humpback whales, and then a few dolphins, and then, toward the end of the tour, we found orcas!

That picture is really good, but most of the whale photos I took are only okay.  You know, whales move.  I’ve been whale watching before, and the fact that I got any good photos is proof that we saw A LOT of whales.

After whale watching, which ran late because it was so awesome, we grabbed a quick lunch, then drove and drove and drove to the Gros Morne National Park.  Here’s a photo of a garden on the side of the road:

Our hotel was fun because it was the home of the Gros Morne Theatre Festival.  Tonight’s show was a drama about a WWI-era love story.  It had just 2 actors and basically no props, but the story was so compelling.  It was delightful.

Whales and a love story add up to a great day for me.  I cried at the theatre, and I was sad that our vacation is nearing its end.

Have a nice day everyone!

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Welcome back!

This is the day of my trip that I was most looking forward to.  We hopped on the ferry to go back to the island of Newfoundland, heading to L’Anse aux Meadows.

We stopped at a pile of wood on the way to L’Anse aux Meadows.  Newfoundlanders keep the wood they’ve chopped down to heat their house on the side of the road to dry.  Not something we city slickers see every day.

L’Anse aux Meadows is an archaeological site at the very northern tip of the island (beautiful piece of property).  Remains of sod houses dated at about 1000AD.  These remains are strongly similar to those archaeologists found in known Viking settlements in Greenland and Iceland.  So L’Anse aux Meadows is recognized as the first European settlement in North America.  Awesome!

Let’s start with Leonie in a Viking ship in the visitor center:

and in front of a sculpture meant to represent the meeting of natives and Europeans on this continent:

First we walked through actual remains of the Viking houses.  Here’s Leonie in a doorway:

Then we visited the reconstructed sod houses.  They made bricks out of dirt and peat.

Inside the houses they had interpreters pretending to be Vikings.  The blacksmith volunteered to pose for a photo:

This site was my favorite part of the whole trip.  It lived up to my expectations for sure.  I was thoroughly entertained and educated, all while on the most beautiful piece of land.  One more shot of the landscape:

So after the Viking site, we headed to our hotel.  On the way we stopped at a tourist trap of a souvenir shop that was very much not my style, but then the owner brought out his dogs!  I saw Newfoundland dogs in Newfoundland!  Loved them!

Our hotel stop was at our biggest town so far, so I took another walk to the beach, but I also got to stop at the ATM and the supermarket and Tim Hortons for a doughnut (I got one with oreos AND one with Reese peanut butter cups…remember in Canada it’s Reese not Reese’s)

Dinner had a Viking theme, which was pretty fun.  Photo:

We stayed up later than I had the whole trip.  I was finally caught up on the sleep I lost that first day!  Hooray!

See ya tomorrow!

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