Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Knitting: Butterfly AG Doll Tights

This is the second pair of tights I've knit for The Broken Doll charity. I really like how they came out!

This design is called "butterflies". Can you see the butterfly design? It's really cute, and a unique way of creating the design.

I tweaked this pair a little bit, and you can read all the details on my project page here. (Please use this link, or you won't be able to access it unless you're a member of Ravelry.)

This is the same pattern as the last pair: Doll Tights and Socks by Angela Parker.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Knitting: Lace AG Doll Tights

I just discovered a new charity that does a fantastic job that I'd like to support. It's called The Broken Doll. It's run by a lady who fixes up thrift store 18" dolls to like-new condition and then donates them to the foster care system in her area. I offered to knit some clothes for the dolls (and keep my eyes out for rescue-able dolls at thrift stores), since this is a very worthy cause.

Since I just got a HUGE lot of fingering-weight (and light-fingering-weight) yarn at a thrift store, I decided to knit some doll tights.

This is a paid pattern, but it's very well-written and worth every penny. You can find the pattern on Ravelry here: Doll Tights and Socks by Angela Parker.

You can find my notes on this pair here. (You'll have to use this link, since I shared it exclusively through this link.)

Monday, May 5, 2014

A Doll Sleepover in Paige's Room

Paige decided to have a sleepover in her newly-remodeled room (version one).

She invited her friends, Kit and the-blonde-haired-girl-that-rarely-talks-so-no-one-remembers-her-name (hereafter referred to as "Miss Blonde Hair"). :)

First, they played dominoes. Kit and Paige both won a few rounds. Then they decided to move on to another game ...

Connect Four! This was Kit's favorite game, and she was very good at it. She beat Paige every single time. At least Paige took it well!

What's a sleepover without food? Since they were aiming to stay up as late as possible, they were sure to load up on the sugar - cake, cake pops, and soda (except Miss Blonde Hair, who chose a bottled water).

I'm thinking an adult didn't choose this menu ...

But wait! When they finished their cake pops, Paige [notice that she's left-handed, just like her owner] remembered the ice cream she had bought to go with the cake slices. (Miss Blonde Hair preferred a popsicle, which Paige had bought just for her.)

After a long time and a sugar rush or two, it was time to crash. Kit borrowed Paige's Hello Kitty sleeping bag, and Miss Blonde Hair got the pull-out part of Paige's trundle bed. They tried sleeping with the lamp on, but it was just too bright.

Paige's clip-on bed lamp and the string lights were all the nightlight they needed. (I sure hope those girls can sleep with that light right in their eyes!)

Almost everything you see was handmade or a thrifting find. (Even the mini AGs. I got two of them for less than $10 from a fellow doll collector, and we found Rebecca at Salvation Army for $0.50, fully clothed!) If you want the particulars on anything, just ask. As for the room itself, we "built" it on top a small table in my daughter's room. My daughter is saving up to buy the materials for a real dollhouse, but we're making do with what we have until then.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Doll's Easter Egg Coloring Set

Darren and Kit hit it off right away!

In the last post, I showed you a glimpse of the Easter egg coloring set I made for my kids for Easter. Well, here are some close-ups.

But before we go any further, please note that this was not my original idea. I used Brandy's idea (from Doll Diaries) with only a few minor tweaks. Hers is much more detailed and includes a chocolate-dipping set like American Girl came out with for Kit this year. I used that idea for the doll's "chocolate" lambs, but I didn't make the playset because, to be honest, I don't think I've ever dipped/molded chocolates with my kids. It's an awesome idea, but I don't think my own kids would get as much enjoyment out of it.

Changes I made from Brandy's idea:
  • I just used the bubble gum eggs that came in the package. They're colored and won't melt, so I didn't see the need to buy other eggs.
  • I chose to use a pill organizer from Dollar Tree for the "dipping cups", since they were already colored the right shades. (There are 7 different shades that screw together on this particular pill organizer.) I also didn't add any of the acrylic water to these dipping cups. The cups themselves are colored, and that gives the illusion of them being full of dyed water.
  • I also used just three of the nail art bottles from Dollar Tree for my "food coloring". I only made the three primary colors, since most food coloring only comes with the primary colors anyway.
  • I used clear plastic cocktail spoons instead of the usual egg dippers. My own family occasionally used regular spoons instead of the dippers, and I really didn't want to cut myself on the wire.

My cost: $3 (with extra eggs and egg cartons, pill organizer components, and nail art bottles)
AG's version: $32

Granted, mine didn't include the fancy little extras that AG's version has, but my kids aren't used to decorating eggs with glitter, stickers, and such anyway. This was a great way to save money and customize the playset to how our family usually celebrates. BONUS: Our eggs come out of the carton. (AG's don't.) :)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Dolls' Easter Baskets

My kids enjoy involving the dolls in our celebrations, so I had a lot of fun making them mini Easter baskets this year.

The baskets themselves are dye cups from (I think) a Dudley's egg dye kit. Of course, they were unused (I use the dye for yarn). Paige got a new pair of shoes (from Wal-Mart), a hamster (an eraser from Michaels that was on clearance for $0.10), a "chocolate" lamb (made from oven-bake clay) that you can't see here, and a black knitted shrug that matches the one my daughter got in her Easter basket.

Did you notice that Paige has a beautiful new room? I'll share more about that once we have all the furniture painted.

Alex and Darren (the new boy that just joined our doll family) decided to go camping the night before, so his basket was delivered to their campsite. He received a new pair of shoes (from Wal-Mart), a hamster (eraser from Michaels), a "chocolate" lamb (oven-baked clay), and a mini deck of Uno cards that are in the back and aren't showing up very well.

I was especially thrilled to find the mini Uno games at Wal-Mart this year. They were in the Easter section, priced $1.99 for 4. I correctly assumed that they would sell out before Easter was over, so I picked up a pack as soon as I saw them. My kids love mini games for the dolls. (The other three games have already found homes with other doll-loving girls that we know.)

By the way, Darren is a hit with both of my kids. My son is thrilled that Alex has a friend to go camping with him now, and my daughter is thrilled that there's another boy on the scene to like another of the (doll) girls. The last I heard, Darren likes Kit. :)

Monday, April 28, 2014

EASY Doll Easter Candy and Cookies

If you're terrified of working with oven-bake clay but like cute treats for your dolls, this project is for you! I'm always on the lookout for doll projects that my kids can make for art class, since we homeschool. These were perfect!

I know we're a little late for this year, but this same idea can be applied to almost any season, given the right materials. So ... what's the secret "ingredient" that makes all of these so easy? Extra-thick foam stickers.

I got these egg- and bunny-shaped extra-thick foam stickers at Dollar Tree this year with this project in mind. There were enough stickers to make three sets like this, and extra smaller and larger stickers leftover. Not bad for $1!

These bunny shapes were the hardest to cut around neatly. I mounted the foam stickers onto a thinner sheet of white foam and then cut around them, leaving a small margin (maybe 1/8"). If I had cream-colored thinner foam on hand, I would have used it, since I was going for a sugar cookie look. But white works just fine when you want to use what you have. Then we used dimensional fabric paint to add the details.

As you can see, these are the perfect size for the dolls. (This is a Springfield doll's hand, in case you're wondering.)

And here is our version of Peeps candy (more like their rabbit version). These were the smallest bunny shapes in the sticker package, and I immediately thought of this. I just stacked two of the stickers back-to-back, and they really resemble Peeps candy.

See? They're about 1/3" thick. I was very fortunate that these bunny stickers are almost perfectly symmetrical, so I could put them back-to-back like I did.

I'm going to be keeping my eye out at Dollar Tree as the seasons change. They seem to be carrying these foam stickers with each new season lately.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Another Boy Doll Joins the Family

A month or so ago, my husband picked up this doll at a thrift store for $0.50. It had clothes on, and he reasoned that the clothes were probably worth that much, at least. Unfortunately, he was wrong. I ended up throwing them away. (And you know I don't throw much away.) BUT the doll itself had some potential for another boy doll, even if it would only provide me some more practice and have to be thrown away in the end.

But before I go into all of that, you really need a better look at just how bad this doll was. You can see that some little girl must have attacked her with scissors.

Even the bangs had been trimmed, since the Springfield dolls' bangs are usually almost down to their eyebrows.

So the first thing I did was try to even out the haircut.

I started with electric hair clippers. Mine have numbered plastic attachments, and I used a #8 so it would cut the longest possible but still appear boyish. (I didn't mess with the bangs. They were more than short enough.)

After that, I took a deep breath and started evening it out with scissors. I'm not that great with cutting real hair with scissors (which is why I have the electric clippers in the first place), so I didn't have high hopes for the doll.

After the haircut
 You might be able to see a bit of "scalp" at the bottom of the haircut. After I took this picture, I went over that section of his scalp with a dark brown Sharpie marker so it would blend in better. (The rest of the scalp under his hair was already colored like this, since it's one way the company can get by with less hair.) It worked great because he has no more skin showing under his haircut.

After the haircut
I worked quite a bit on the transition from the bangs to the rest of the hair, but it was worth the time. It made all the difference.

After the haircut
See? He's looking better already!

But he still has those hideously unnatural bright pink lips and his eyebrows are too thin for a boy. (If I could, I would go back and give Alex boyish eyebrows, but I was terrified of it at the time.)

New eyebrows and lip color
This picture is a bit washed out from the flash, so his eyebrows look a bit too dark. But check out the next few pictures for what he really looks like.

I did the eyebrows and lips with regular acrylic paint. If you make a mistake, you can wipe it off while it's still wet and redo it. I did his eyebrows at least three times before I was happy with them.

Just a little note about the eyebrows: Some people have completely removed the eyebrows with acetone, but I left his on (and just painted over them) to give me a guide for where they should be. It really did help.

For his lips, I mixed about half red paint and half white. It still looked too girly, so I added about two drops of brown, and it was just right.

All done - and dressed!
Here he is, modeling a shirt I refashioned (i.e. upcycled) from a baby boy shirt we found in a thrift store on $1/bag day.

All done!
I really like how he turned out. I'm amazed that he's even cute! :)

He'll be officially joining our doll family on Easter, when he'll be the special guest. (My kids don't know about him yet.)

I hope you enjoyed this peek into the transformation process.