I haven't bought anything for my AG crew in a while. Especially not from AG itself. Ever since they started discontinuing all the dolls I loved so much as a kid (and wasn't done collecting as an adult!) the charm of it has been sort of lost for me. I realize that times change, and that plastic is just the way things are now. . . But it still makes me sad because the whole point of American Girl when it started was to be NOT just another pile of plastic toys, but rather, high-quality toys that could last for generations, and that would teach girls about history as well as be fun to play with. I feel like the original mission of the company has been lost, and this makes me sad, because to me, it's what set them apart from other random dolls/toys. And now, it's just so expensive, and I really feel that with most of the things available at AG now, I'm really just paying for a brand name. I have difficulty paying more than I feel a thing is worth, just to get a particular brand name, in ANY area of my life! So, hence the drifting away from little AG splurges here and there. . .
One of the few things they've brought out that I wished I could convince myself to purchase was Chrissa's Craft studio. Since sewing is "my thing," I just really desperately wanted that little sewing machine for my AG crew!
I was sort of half-and-half about the accessories that came with it. I liked the pin cushion, tape measure, scissors, and little spools of thread. The knitting needles are fun, but just plastic, so I didn't care so much about those. The little hanks of yarn are a waste (I can so easily just wind little balls of sport-weight yarn for the crew, and even print mini versions of full-size labels for them), the bowl is silly (any bowl or basket will do), etc. And the table? I have no use for another table, seeing as how I already have three tables for my crew! Not to mention, having a shelf on the bottom of a table is really only acceptable for an end table. How annoying would that table be in real life?!? I like to be able to pull my chair right up under the table, and have my legs comfortably planted on the floor. That is the proper sewing stance. And I know, they're "just dolls," and they can't bend their knees. . . But still, I like things to be believable. And I've never seen it in person so I don't even know if the doll, when seated in a chair, can properly fit under the table.
But the kicker? $78! REALLY?!?!? Um, no. That is just so much money, and I couldn't bring myself to pay all that for a non-functional plastic sewing machine and a few accessories - half of which I could probably make - for my dolls.
So now it's retired, and you know what the after-retirement prices are like on eBay! But from time to time, I look up "American Girl sewing machine," just because I hate myself apparently, and also because I think, maybe some day, someone will bring out a knock-off machine. I was looking today in particular because I want to do a fun little photo story that would require a machine. . . And, at long last, I found one!
The "Our Generation" line of dolls (available at Target) now has a "Sewing and Dressmaking Kit" that includes an adorable little machine - which I actually think is cuter and more realistically shaped than the AG one was!
It comes with all the things I liked about the AG set, except that I hear the pin cushion doesn't fit the AG dolls properly (no problem, as I can make one), and there are no knitting needles. But it has other fun accessories that I find much more useful and fun than the AG set, such as the iron and spray bottle - CRITIAL sewing accessories there!
But the best thing of all about the OG set? $14.99!
So of course, I ordered it without delay. Basically, I got my sewing machine, plus lots of cute sewing-themed accessories, and saved myself $63! And with a few hours of my time, plus some scraps of fabric and craft supplies already in my stash, I think I can have a little pin cushion and maybe even some knitting needles to complete my fantasy AG sewing/crafting set.
There are definitely things AG has retired that I wish I'd bought, but I can officially stop kicking myself for missing out on Chrissa's Craft Studio, and instead, be proud of myself for being thrifty and patient, because this time around, it paid off! :)