Monday, December 16, 2013 3 comments

Doll Dollar Store Finds: Vacation Edition

As I mentioned in my previous post, I found a new-to-me dollar store on vacation. It's called Lucky Dollar, and it had some fun things in it. One of my absolute favorites was the spinning rack by the cash register that was full of these purses in every color you could imagine -- all for $1 each! I really liked the black one, so I decided on that one. (Dolls don't really need every color when they're all the same style, right?)

This was different enough to warrant getting it, and the bonus is that we can hang something decorative from that little chain.

I'm pretty sure these were meant to be coin purses, but they're perfectly-sized for the dolls.

This was one of those things that only a doll-lover would understand. I just had to get this perfectly mini-sized Vaseline jar for our doll spa. It was only $0.75. As you can see, I'm not always all about economy. I know I could get 100 times that amount for roughly the same price if I bought a store-brand of this same thing, but I loved the fact that it was perfectly to scale.

These bubble containers are perfect doll-sized cakes, and I love how the lid fits right into the cake theme. I have some plastic paint, so I may try painting them different colors (or even just the "icing" decorations).

We found a doll-sized washing machine at the thrift store a few months ago, so we needed a way to "dry" the clothes. I loved the pink clothespins, so now I just have to dig out my cotton crochet thread for the clothes line. :)

Last, but not least, I found both of these cat collars at a Dollar Tree. I loved the polka dots and hearts, so I snatched them up. They make perfect doll belts once you remove the jingle bell.

Have you found anything fun at a dollar store recently? I'd love to hear about it!
Friday, December 13, 2013 1 comments

Thrifted Doll Finds, Vacation Edition

While we were on vacation, we did a good bit of thrift store shopping. We enjoy it as a family, and we all have things that we look for. I generally look for doll-sized items, and I found some good ones this time.

I found this 6-pack of glittery doll-sized notebooks (from Target) brand-new in Goodwill's bins for $0.49. Two of them have already become Christmas countdown gifts, and I may save the rest for next schoolyear (for the dolls).

I've been looking for some doll-sized candlesticks, and I found three of them. The brass one was $0.10, and the wooden ones were $0.55 each. I found the menorah candles in the same shop as the wooden candlesticks ($0.55 for the box). The funny thing is that I found the brass one first and immediately thought of this kind of candle to go inside. I wasn't sure where I'd find them, but there were several boxes of brand-new ones at this thrift store. (I'll have to add a little play-doh to get them to fit inside the wooden candlesticks, but they're the perfect scale otherwise.)

One of my favorite semi-local Goodwill stores gets a lot of Dollar Spot items from Target, and they're only 10/$1. You have to dig through a massive bin, but I usually find a few treasures in there.

I got this tape measure for Alex. It will probably be a Christmas countdown gift this month. My son is going to love it!

This mini "Rubiks cube" was also in the bin and will likely be a countdown gift.

Lastly, I found this golf ball towel. (And men think we have some strange "tools of the trade"!) I seam-ripped down one side to remove the clip and open it up, and now we have a nice bath towel for our doll spa. I wish I could have found a few more of these!

Next up: dollar store finds from vacation. (Hint: I found a new-to-me store called Lucky Dollar, and it had some things I hadn't seen before.)
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 1 comments

Dollar Store Doll Games

If you remember from previous years, we do a countdown to Christmas with our kids each year. It helps to lend a little excitement to each day, I don't have to keep telling them how many days there are until Christmas, and we don't get bombarded with requests for early Christmas gifts. This year, I focused on doll-related items that would have gone into some of the bigger Christmas gifts anyway (like the DIY Campus Snack Cart that I made this summer and still haven't taken pictures of).

This year, we were on vacation for the first week, so we didn't do any little daily gifts until this week.

I set up a corner of my daughter's play area as the doll's Christmas tree area. (I didn't think to take pictures, but I'll try to remember to do that for another post.) I added some lights and garland to the pine tree that has been outside the dolls' cabin since summertime, and it makes the perfect little doll tree. We put a small wooden bench next to it so they'd have a place to sit and sip hot chocolate. I pulled the fireplace into the area and pushed three small pins into the top to hold stockings for each of the dolls - Paige, Alex and Kit. (Kit doesn't get daily gifts since she's my doll, but she's okay with that. Most of Paige and Alex's gifts are marked from her anyway.)

Each day, my plan is to put the small countdown gifts into the dolls' stockings. This day's gifts didn't fit, so I put them in doll-sized gift bags.

My daughter has asked several times for the Fun & Games Table from American Girl, so I found a few doll-sized games at Dollar Tree that my kids can actually play with the dolls. This first one is a set of dominoes.

See? They're the perfect size for the dolls! They're just the regular domino set that is sold year-round in Dollar Tree. I didn't realize how small they were until one time I saw a package that had been ripped open in the store. Since my kids love to play dominoes, I was thrilled to find these.

The cardboard packaging isn't made to store them in, so I pulled out a gift card tin I had lying around, and it perfectly fits the set when it's stacked inside. (Sorry, I didn't think to take a picture of this, either.)

The other game is an off-brand of Connect 4, sold as a travel-sized game at Dollar Tree. It's also perfectly doll-sized, and it's another of my kids' favorite games.

They really liked these!
Monday, December 9, 2013 1 comments

Animal Print Doll Outfit

I've been quiet the last little while because I've been on vacation. I fully intended to do some blog posting on vacation, but then I decided that I needed a total break. It was just what I needed!

I finished this cute animal-print outfit before I went on vacation. Please excuse the terrible lighting. Since I have a few days off from homeschooling this month, I'm hoping to get my lightbox in working order again. Natural winter lighting is dreary.

The inspiration for this dress came from a pack of 7 (or 8?) fat quarters that I picked up at Tuesday Morning for $3-4. Both of these prints were in the pack, and they caught my eye together. It's not my usual kind of combination, but I do like how it turned out. It's different.

I made the bolero jacket from McCalls M6764 that I picked up at Hobby Lobby's last $0.99 pattern sale. I'm pretty happy with the fit, although it does border on snug. However, it was originally designed for a jersey knit, so it will certainly fit a little differently when made with a cotton fabric instead.

I trimmed it with a tiny white pom-pom trim from Hobby Lobby. I used two lengths back-to-back so there are pom-poms on both sides of the trim.

The dress is from the pattern I've been using so much - a freebie from My Cup Overflows. (Remember, if you make this dress, you should refer back to my original dress post for some things you really need to know about this pattern.) I simply added a strip of the polka dot fabric at the waist and the hem.

I'm pretty sure my daughter is going to go crazy over this outfit. I can't wait to give it to her!

I'm linking up to
Tuesday, November 26, 2013 10 comments

Doll Sleeping Bags

 Every girl needs a sleeping bag, don't they? I remember having several sleeping bags in my younger years, and it was always important to me that they were a reflection of my personality. My last sleeping bag was pink with kitty faces on it. I still have it and have actually passed it along to my daughter who adores it. She doesn't have much opportunity to use it, but we have camped out in our living room in the teepee tents on occasion, just for the experience. :)

So ... I know of three little girls (not including my own) who have 18" dolls and would like sleeping bags for them. I just so happened to want to make some dolly sleeping bags, so I picked up McCalls M5019 during Hobby Lobby's last $1/pattern sale.

There are free tutorials online, but sometimes it's just easier for me to have pattern pieces to lay on top the fabric, rather than trying to draw rectangles on the back ... or waste fabric trying to use a rotary cutter instead.

I'm not a huge fan of storebought patterns because they sometimes have you do ridiculous things like sewing up the side seam of a doll's sleeve before attaching it to the bodice (or hemming it, for that matter). Those things are important on real people clothing, but absolutely maddening and unnecessary on tiny doll clothes.

BUT I found this sleeping bag pattern to be very easy and straightforward. I'm very pleased and would still pay $1 all over again just for this sleeping bag pattern. I plan to make at least the doll tote and arm pillow yet, so my verdict is still out on those.

One of the really neat things about these is the attached pillow. You can't lose it because it's not going anywhere.

The pattern calls for a 28" zipper. I have tons of zippers in my stash, but none of them are that long. I looked them up online, and at about $5 each, I figured my shorter zippers would work just fine.

As a result, these sleeping bags  don't unzip the whole way to the middle like the pattern calls for. But they really only need to unzip on the side, so it doesn't matter.

I had so much fun picking out these fabrics! I chose them according to the girls' favorite colors. The fabrics are all from Hobby Lobby, a company and store that I am proud to support.

This fabric combination was my absolute favorite. It's for the youngest girl, who doesn't have a color preference yet. Whenever she makes up her mind, her favorite color will probably be here. :)

One quick note about my zipper modification: If you use a shorter zipper like I did, there is no need to cut the lining of the bag in two pieces. You simply cut another piece identical to the outside (but with the pattern piece flipped for mirror-image). The bottom of the sleeping bag will be "open", so you turn it right-side-out that way, and then turn it inside out to finish the seam. (It sounds confusing, but it made perfect sense when I had the fabric in my hands.) I used my serger to make the finished edge neat.
Thursday, November 21, 2013 1 comments

Styrofoam Doll "Cupcakes"

My kids and I have been enjoying making doll crafts for our homeschool craft classes this year. Our most recent project involved making these faux cupcakes from mini cupcake liners (I think they were really for chocolates), the smallest Styrofoam balls I could find (I chose the smooth-coated ones), some dimensional fabric paint, and some sprinkles/glitter.

As you can see, we went heavy on the sprinkles! :)

If you want to make some, too, I'll tell you how we did ours.

First of all, you want to add hot glue to a Styrofoam ball at the bottom and up the sides, doing just one at a time. Press them into a mini cupcake liner, making sure that they're attached at the side edges. Try to keep your cupcake liner flat on your work surface while you do this, or you may find that your liner has curved around the ball at the bottom and won't stay flat on the table.

Next, you'll want to paint the tops as carefully as possible. We used fabric (dimensional) paint, but we still had to use paintbrushes. If you just try to glob it onto the top, it will run down the sides of the cupcake liner and make a mess. You just want a thin, even coat.

While that was still wet, we added our sprinkles. We used some confetti and dollar store nail art sprinkles for ours. You could wait until after the next step to add sprinkles, if you prefer. I figured that two coats of paint working to keep the sprinkles on were better than just one. :)

Once that was completely dry, we added the drizzle of faux glaze (i.e. dimensional fabric paint). If you didn't add sprinkles before, this would be the time to do it.

Let it dry, and you're done!

In case you're wondering about the colors/flavors, the red is strawberry, blue is blueberry, and yellow is lemon.
Monday, November 18, 2013 1 comments

More New Doll Sweaters in the Shop!

I've added two more doll sweaters to the shop. This first one features a houndstooth pattern knit into the yoke and is very classy-looking. It's very reasonably priced at $10. If it's still available, you can find it in the shop here.

The second sweater is a red version of the apricot cabled sweater that has already sold. I dearly love cables, and they look terrific on the dolls.

Once again, this features a cable design down the front of the sweater and the middle of each arm. The back is left plain.

This is also priced at $10. If it's still available, you can find it in the shop here.
Saturday, November 16, 2013 1 comments

DIY Kaya's Bedroll

A friend of mine called me recently and asked for some help. Her granddaughters are getting Kaya and Josefina (American Girls) for Christmas, and she wanted to give them some accessories. Of course, looking at the American Girl website can nearly give a person a heart attack if you're not used to their prices, so I was more than happy to help her replicate a few of the really great accessories.

The first item was Kaya's bedroll. It retails for $32 and includes a shield decoration to put outside the teepee. I didn't bother with the shield, since I had limited time to work with and it didn't seem that important in the grand scheme of things. But the doll needs a "bed" to sleep on. :)

I found this great tutorial (from the Arts and Crafts for your American Girl Doll blog) for the faux animal skin parts, and I was able to make the bedroll (including the mat underneath) for $10. I have enough "bearskin" fur left to make at least one more, maybe two more, bearskin blankets, but I factored the price of the whole piece of fabric into that figure.

The bottom layer is a placemat from Dollar Tree. They have other similar placemats, but this one was about 1-2" longer, so it was a better fit for the doll. I considered pulling off the fabric binding, but my husband thought the color looked "Indian" and would add a nice touch. I'm also not sure if it might have fallen apart if I took that edging off, so I took his word for it!

The next layer is a faux sheepskin fabric that I picked up at Hobby Lobby as a remnant. Unlike the tutorial I linked to, American Girl's version does not use sheepskin for this part. I didn't notice that until after I had bought the fabric, but I think it still looks like something an American Indian girl would have slept on.

I especially loved that this fabric has a suede-like backing, so it looks more realistic.

Lastly came the bearskin blanket. I got this at Hancocks. Let me warn you to take along a lint brush when you go shopping for this stuff. I was wearing a denim skirt the day I picked this out, and I looked like a bear had shed all over me after I took the bolt to the cutting table. I've never had this particular skirt do that, so I'm sure it's the fur fabric.

I hope this helps someone else! Are you making any knock-off doll accessories for Christmas this year? I'd love to hear about them! I have a few more of these items to feature in the next few days, so you'll want to watch for them if this interests you.
Thursday, November 7, 2013 3 comments

Doll Undies from Dollar Store T-Shirts

I feel a little funny showing off doll underwear on my blog, but I really wanted to share this great idea with you.

I've been experimenting with Diane Morello's briefs and tank top patterns. (E-mail her for the free patterns. I highly recommend her videos. She has some great ideas.)

I'm still not entirely thrilled with how the camisoles came out, but they're at least workable. The panties, on the other hand, are a great fit!

The American Girls are pretty big in the back, and sometimes underwear patterns can look like they're falling off them in the back. These don't. They fit great! I used the briefs pattern, not the bikini pattern.

If you'll notice, I used an existing t-shirt hem at the waist. Since t-shirts knits have stretch, I didn't even need elastic at the waistband of these. I did use elastic at the legholes, though, since it was an easy way to turn under the seam allowances. I didn't use the clear elastic that Diane recommends because I can't find any locally. I just used regular white 1/8" elastic, and it worked great.

The camisole has velcro at the back so it's easier to get on and off. I had a really hard time with the top edge of the camisole stretching out of shape. I even used a stabilizing elastic, but it still stretched out every time I tried it.

I used double-fold elastic (unfolded) for the straps, and I really like how they turned out. It was a lot easier to sew them on than to try to get a 1/16"-wide strip securely fastened.

I would like to try another kind of doll undershirt, so if you have a favorite pattern or tutorial for one, please let me know. I would prefer to make it out of a knit fabric and not have the fabric stretching out of shape.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013 1 comments

Thrifted Doll Furniture Finds - October 2013 Edition

 I just had to share our most recent thrift store finds with you. Check out this fantastic shelving unit that I picked up for just $3. It's perfect to house our kitchen items at the moment. (We don't have a dedicated kitchen area for the dolls yet, but we do have several kitchen items, as well as a table and chairs.)

As soon as I saw it, I knew it was the perfect height. The bottom part opens up and you can store things inside the two partitioned sides.

On that very same shopping trip I found this great wooden piece. My daughter had just set up a "Bitty Twin Store" the day before, and I realized how perfect this piece would be as shelving and hanging space. Here is her own store creation. (I plan to expand on the idea in the future as a playset.) This was also just $3.

 You really have to use your imagination to see the potential in this one. Whoever designed it must have had a very rustic idea in mind. It really does look like someone allowed their 3-year-old to scribble all over it with a wide magic marker.

No worries, though. I'm going to put padding on it and cover up all that horrid "paint job". It's going to be a couch for the dolls. We can fit two of them on it perfectly, and this saves me having to build the wooden part of the couch myself.

I paid $4 for this one, but it's still cheaper than buying wood and making one from scratch.
Friday, November 1, 2013 2 comments

Maxi Skirts for 18" Dolls

Look who has joined our family - Kit Kitteridge!! Yes, she's my doll. I consider her an investment in quality time with my children (and hopefully my future grandchildren). For some reason, Kit has always been the embodiment of the American Girl brand to me, and I wanted her in the worst kind of way. I got a fantastic deal on her from Ebay because I was willing to reattach her leg.

So she's my model for these great maxi skirts that are the easiest doll sewing project I've ever done. Seriously, these might take 15 minutes to make - from cutting to sewing the last seam. They're that easy.

I love the waistband. It's made of the same t-shirt knit fabric, so it stretches just enough without needing to create a casing and use elastic.

Instead of hemming these, I took advantage of the existing hem on the dollar store t-shirts that I cut them from. You wouldn't need to hem them anyway, since t-shirt knits don't ravel.

If you'd like to make a few of your own, you can find the free tutorial here on PA Country Crafts. If you read through the tutorial, you will want to note that I used the half-sized waistband so it doesn't fold over.

I was able to get two of these easily from one dollar store t-shirt, with some fabric leftover. I'd love to hear what you think if you try them.

I'm linking up to
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 1 comments

A Motorcycle Jacket for Alex!

We recently found this motorcycle jacket at our local Goodwill for $0.50. It was on a Build-A-Bear (along with matching pants that are just too short to use on Alex).

Our Goodwill, and most others that I've heard of, usually marks things up so much that I get frustrated just browsing the store. For instance, they have a Madame Alexander doll in the showcase right now for $30. You can get the same doll, unused in the original box, at Wal-Mart for $28. She has been in the showcase for at least a month, and I suspect she'll stay there until they figure out she's overpriced. Or until someone is duped into buying her, thinking that she's actually worth more than that.

I said all of that to say this: Someone in the pricing department didn't realize what they had here. I'm sure this set was expensive at Build-A-Bear, but I was thrilled to get it for $0.50.

We love the eagle on the back!

The sleeves are just a tad short, but we're not concerned with that. The rest of the details more than make up for it.
Thursday, October 24, 2013 2 comments

Cheaper Doll-Sized Water Bottles

I have been looking for realistic water bottles for the dolls for awhile now. The various water bottles are some of my daughter's favorite catalog items, but I think they're way overpriced. [Of course, take that with a grain of salt. I think almost everything in the catalog is overpriced.]

Not only that, but even playsets sold in Wal-Mart or Target only give you one at a time. It's hardly worth buying an entire set just for one water bottle.

So I was thrilled when a fellow doll mom clued me in to these water bottle keychains from Ebay:

Yes, this is really what they look like straight out of the bag. The keyrings aren't hard to get off. In fact, I thought I'd need pliers, but a few of them came off with just a gentle tug. I don't think they'd make very good keychains ...

Anyway, you can get a feel for the size by comparing it to a Wild Cherry Pepsi lip gloss that I picked up a few months ago at Five Below. It's doll-sized, too:

Here's a side shot of how they compare to the same lip gloss container:

If you want some, too, check out this Ebay "auction". You can get four of them for less than $7. I'll warn you, though, that they come from Thailand. I think mine came by slow boat. :) I'm sure it's not the seller's fault, though, because international shipping is known for such things. But I thought I'd mention it just in case you want yours by a deadline. Allow at least a month for them to arrive.