American Girl Benefit Sale 2017


This past weekend I attended the Madison Children’s Museum Benefit Sale for the third year. We had a blast, as always! We had 8:00 tickets, which was the absolute perfect time for us. We had to leave the house at 3:00 am, so really we don’t want any earlier than that! We also got in almost on time (about 8:05); starting with the time slot after us (8:15) they began running behind and I believe were about an hour behind for the rest of the morning. Almost everything was still available when we were in there, though my sister did miss Julie’s bike by about 30 seconds (the lady in front of her got the last one). They had some random bed parts (just the frame of Julie’s, just the canopy of Felicity’s) that they ran out of, but I wasn’t really interested anyway. It was extremely crowded in the warehouse, much worse than last year I thought. This explains why they started running behind after our time slot.


Once in the warehouse, all I can think about is “how quickly can I get my stuff so I can get out of here”. For that reason, I did not even look at the Beforever table since I knew I wasn’t getting a Beforever doll. I found out later, though, that they had Molly! I also completely skipped the outfit/accessory table because I couldn’t stand the crowd. I am tall, fortunately, so I could tell from a distance (for the most) part that there wasn’t anything there I wanted. Since the price list was not completely comprehensive this year, I think that made the crowds worse since everyone was lining up to see what surprise items were there. The book selection seemed to be smaller this year; there weren’t nearly as many mysteries as last year. They had plenty of Wellie Wishers and accessories, so I was excited to choose a cute Kendall and my mom got Camille. The outfits they are wearing here are from vendors, too.


The Truly Me section is always the largest and least crowded, so it’s really fun to be able to take time to browse and enjoy all the dolls. We brought home several Truly Me dolls between my mom, sister, and me. I got one I had been planning on, who I am very excited to introduce to you later as her new character, as well as one I wasn’t planning on at all. These are all the dolls we brought home between the three of us:

DSC_0145 (1).jpg

We actually had even more than this packed into the car, my mom and I both picked up a couple of dolls for people who couldn’t attend the sale, and I got an additional doll as a gift for someone that I will tell you about later.

In addition to Kendall, two in the above photo are mine, like I said. I’ll tell you about one, but not the other so she can make her own dramatic entrance in an upcoming post. I’ve admired #55 for a long time and even have had a name picked out for her in my head even though I didn’t really think I would get her any time soon. I like to keep my modern collection small so I can keep my focus on the historicals. I picked up 55, though, and next thing I knew, my sister was telling me that I need her and she was suddenly in my shopping bag. Whoops. Oh well! Meet Lyric!


She has a slightly wonky eye that I didn’t notice until it was too late (though it can be easily shifted back into place with my finger when it jiggles to the side) but I’ve decided that rather than fret about it, she has strabismus, an eye condition that sometimes makes one eye look like it is staring in a slightly different direction and causes the person to sometimes have trouble making their eyes focus together on the same object. My husband has (or had, it has mostly been corrected by glasses and surgery) the same condition, so she’s in good company. 🙂 For a while I have sort of in the back of my head been wanting a modern doll for whom I can create a personality that really is at home in the outdoors and I can maybe take with me when we travel to National Parks or go camping. Daphne or Delaney’s personalities just never seemed quite right for that, and Abby could (I actually did take her to Rocky Mountain National Park once), but I try to avoid traveling with my older dolls because they have such sentimental value and I feel like are a bit more fragile. After owning Lyric for a couple of hours and pondering her, I decided she fits the bill perfectly. In my head she is an only child who lived in a yurt in Montana with her parents when she was very young; her dad is now a Park Ranger and she has lived in several different beautiful places around the country as his job has brought him to different parks. She is a skilled at wildlife and landscape photography. She usually wears comfortable clothes that leave her ready for any outdoors activity at a moment’s notice, but occasionally will run a brush through that beautiful, naturally wavy hair and put on a dress to be a bit more feminine. Oh, and she loves her American Girl doll Kaya. Looks like she will have to meet the rest of the girls and join the American Girls Club.

Ok, back to the sale. The outside vendors and silent auction are the most fun parts for me because it is just so much more relaxing outside of the warehouse. I didn’t take any pictures of the vendors’ items. I kind of feel rude doing it. They are there to sell the items that they worked hard to make, not provide you with patterns and inspiration so you can go home and make your own (or if you aren’t crafty yourself, post them on the internet so other people can look at them and copy their designs). I guess it’s not really any different than looking at pictures on Etsy for inspiration, but it still feels weird to me. Kind of like, “Oh hi, I like your product, not enough to buy it but enough to take a picture.”


I bought a couple of outfits, trying to only buy things that I didn’t think I could or would sew for myself. I also bought a beautifully made desk that just jumped out at me for some reason. I found it to be reasonably priced and very attractive. I love its time-period versatility. It is unfinished, so I plan to stain and varnish it. My husband’s first (somewhat pouty) words when I showed it to him: “I could have made that for you, you know.” Yes, of course, but did he really want to? No, so that’s why I just bought it.


We didn’t buy anything at the silent auction this year. I bid on some Kaya things, but didn’t really get too aggressive with it. As usual, the items are phenomenal and most are retired. It’s fun just to look! The raffle worked differently this year, there was a smaller raffle for individual items and then a separate table for the grand prize raffle, which included the Nanea bundle (unfortunately she wasn’t physically there for us to see). I couldn’t find the grand prize raffle table at first, so I asked a volunteer who was selling tickets at the other raffle table where the Nanea raffle was at. She said, “Who’s Nanea? Is that a Bitty Baby?”


Needless to say, I found the table on my own. That’s not to say the volunteers aren’t helpful and nice, they truly make the day wonderful and everyone is so friendly.

Outside of the venue across the street there was a woman with a treasure trove of retired dolls and Pleasant Company items she was selling at prices comparable or even slightly better than what you would find on eBay. I felt slightly uneasy buying things from her though, since she was technically trespassing (I guess I can’t know that for sure, perhaps she did get permission from whatever business owned the yard where her tent was set up, but it seems unlikely. Especially since I was told that those “unofficial” booths are frowned upon.) My uneasy feeling increased as I finished making a couple of purchases and she shouted at a couple of women who were approaching wearing long skirts, “Hey! Are you Amish? No? Well what are you then? Well I have an outfit here I think you might like…” That’s just not appropriate. I might have just walked away right then if I hadn’t already made my purchases. I did get a good price on Kirsten’s robe and slippers, which are the original hand-felted ones from Sweden. Well, that’s what she told me at least. It seems like they probably are.

I also got the Pleasant Company Macintosh computer and desk, which is another thing my sister said that I need. I probably wouldn’t have bought it without her insistence (she finds 90’s items to be hilarious and enjoys laughing at photos of me with my 90’s perm and bangs). Truthfully, though, like every other person who is now in their mid-to-late twenties, I went through elementary school with a computer just like this one in every classroom (I now teach at a school where every child has his or her own MacBook Air–times have changed). When I was in kindergarten in 1995, there was a Macintosh in my classroom on which we were allowed to play educational games (from a floppy disk, no doubt). I remember vividly being terrified of going near it because I had never used a computer before since we didn’t have one at home at the time. I only began to use it halfway through the school year after my teacher patiently sat down with me individually and showed me what to do. I found out years later that my mom called my teacher to tell her I was coming home upset about the computer and ask her if she would show me how to use it.


Abby hails from 1999 (even though I let her hang out with the rest of the modern girls) so I think she will be right at home using it. I have no idea where I am going to put this thing, though. I need a bigger doll room.

We had a really fantastic day and didn’t mind at all that we had to wake up at 2:30 in the morning. I would encourage anyone to go if you are able, I don’t think it’s possible to be disappointed! I would be happy to answer any questions you have.


14 Comments Add yours

  1. DollHabit says:

    Wow! It looks super busy! Your new doll is super cute! Her name is super cute an unique!
    – Bella /


    1. Emily says:

      Thanks! It is busy but a lot of fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. AGAlways says:

    That is awesome!! I wish I could have gone or have someone have gotten me Molly!!! We’re the prices decent? I know last year the dolls on Saturday were $57.50, but this year everything was less money right?


    1. Emily says:

      Yes, Truly Me dolls were only $50 this year! Beforever dolls were $80 though, last year they were $75. I believe Molly and Caroline were $100 this year.


      1. AGAlways says:

        Gosh those are such great deals!! Next year I’ve gotta find someone that goes to buy a doll for me! If I was able to go I would have to find some serious self restraint because I would want to buy alllllll of the dollies!!


  3. Jen says:

    You were probably leaving the warehouse as we were entering! We didn’t end up going to the “black market” tent this year because we took the shuttle and just ended up leaving when we were down. Love Lyric’s personality and I think that is great to have a doll pegged for traveling duty.


    1. Emily says:

      Hope you had a good time and got some great deals!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Cool! Thanks for the ‘tour’! I’ve always wanted to go…maybe next year. 🙂


    1. Emily says:

      Yes I hope you can go next time!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, such good deals!
    Those dolls are do pretty! 😍 Can’t wait to see the surprise one!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Flo says:

    What a great haul! I’ve eyed that computer and desk many a time on Ebay, but I’ve always managed to resist. Can totally see why you wanted it though.

    I love Lyric’s story, looking forward to seeing more of her in the future!


    1. Emily says:

      Thanks! It was super fun, hope you can come someday!


  7. bennettv says:

    I love Lyric! She’s so pretty! And I love that instead of worrying about her eye not being perfect, you just embraced it. Nobody’s perfect, and perfect is boring anyway. Yah! 🙂 ❤

    ginnie /

    Liked by 1 person

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