Gardening Bench and Kit’s Chicken Keeping Outfit

If you read the “Down On The Farm” post, you might have noticed one of the items that I recently worked on. I was inspired by two posts to make my own gardening bench and accessories for my dolls. American Girl recently introduced the “Sunshine Gardening Bench” and as cute as it was, it just didn’t appeal to me. One of the things I didn’t like about it were the bright purple paint and other super bright colors, it reminded me more of a Bitty Baby piece instead of a My American Girl piece. The other thing was it seemed too small. I hadn’t really thought too much about it until I saw this post at A Day Late. A Doll Short and then this one at American Girl Ideas. What both of them did were so cute, and suddenly, not only was I inspired, but I had a “EUREKA” moment and knew that I had the perfect piece to do it with!
Garden 1

Some of you may remember the bench from last summer: a spur of the moment purchase from a yard sale a block from my house. I originally bought it with intentions of turning it into a bathroom vanity. Obviously that has never materialized and in the process of working on this, I decided that if I was careful in how I did things and attached pieces, this little shelf could be any number of things. Since I do have limited space, being able to use a larger piece like this for different displays is a priority, and the more I thought, the more I was happy with my $1 purchase. (yeah, I only paid $1 for it, yippee!!!)
Garden 3   AG Thrift 3

Then it was time to figure out what I wanted to put on it.  Off to the craft store!  I had a few things already, so it wasn’t going to be hard to finish it, but I knew I needed a few key items to add to it.

Garden 4

On the top shelf:  I purchased the little watering can for $1.85, three octagonal paper mache boxes for $2, and two bouquets of little flowers for $1.79 each.  I had the little terra cotta pots and the wooden “tools” are sample spoons from fudge containers that my husband brought home.  I’m debating on painting them.

Garden 6

On the second shelf:  the metal trough I had, I picked up the purple flowers at the craft store for $1.50 and the “greenhouse” I purchased last year, it is supposed to be for growing fresh basil.  I am loaning it to the dolls for the moment as I haven’t started my plants just yet, and I promised them that they will get to keep the greenhouse when I am done with it. 😉

I don’t have a picture of the third shelf because there isn’t much there.  The ceramic drawers came with the bench and in the middle I put the little metal basket (sugar packet holder) I featured several weeks ago in my “doll sized finds from Target” post.

Garden 5 Garden 7

On the ground:  every gardener needs a wagon and I have had this one so long, I couldn’t even tell you when I got it or where it came from.  The pot is one I had (I have another and I can’t find it!), the daffodils I also had already, the only thing in this part that I had to purchase were the little chicks ($1.49 for 12, I gave Evil Twin half) and the butterfly (6 for $1.79).  Some of you probably recognize the red crate from one of my thrift store runs, I simply bought two sticks of greenery for it (71 cents each) and the bargain of the project: the little garden tools.  They were in the “fairy garden” section of the craft store and I got all 3 of them for a whopping $1!!!  They are my hubby’s favorite part of the whole thing too.  The long and short of it all is I was able to purchase all of the things I needed to finish this project off for less than $15, and most of them are items I can repurpose in other areas in the doll house or I have extras left for other projets.  I didn’t even have to make all that much, I simply used some Styrofoam to do the floral arrangements, and the honey combs were super easy, I’m going to share those at the end of the post.  I already had bee, lady bug and other insect stickers in my scrapbooking stash.  I knew there was a reason I didn’t get rid of all that stuff! 🙂

I ordered Kit’s Chicken Keeping outfit on sale, it was backordered until April 17.  You can imagine how excited I was when I got an e-mail just before Easter telling me it had shipped.  🙂  I decided that everyone knows what Kit looks like in it and I thought the color in the overalls would make Alya’s eyes pop-does it ever!

Garden 2

I absolutely love this outfit, it’s one of those pieces that even though it’s made for a historical doll, it fits right in to modern times as well.  It’s all well made, but my favorite part is the little shirt, I think that it would look super cute paired with shorts, jeans, a skirt–the possibilities are endless.  The little chicken is darned cute too. I’m anxious to try this outfit on the other girls.

So now we’re to the best part of this post: making your own honeycombs.  It’s soooooo stinking easy, you don’t really need much.  As I said, I had the bee stickers in my scrapbooking stash already, but if you don’t have any, there are lots of different ones available.  The combs themselves are the lids off octagonal shaped paper mache boxes that I picked up at the craft store.  If you don’t find octagonal ones though, it’s not a big deal as comb frames come rectangular and square as well.  You might even have some small jewelry boxes that would work. If you can find paper that looks like a honeycomb, great.  There is also a printable via the American Girl Ideas link I provided above.  There is another option though which is what I chose to use.  All you need is a sheet of white or off white cardstock, a honey colored ink pad (just about any shade of yellow or gold will work) and a piece of bubble wrap.  Yeah, that’s right, I made this using bubble wrap.  All you do is rub the bubble wrap on to the ink pad, then pat it on so you don’t have wipe marks/break up the ink.  Then stamp it on the paper.  It will look something like this:

Garden 9

Simply trace the box on to the pattern and trim it down, you may have to trim a few times until it fits.  I then placed the bee stickers on it, “laminated” it using packing tape, then glued it in to place.  If you want your comb frames to have color on them I would suggest painting the box lid before gluing your stamped piece in place.  I personally like the natural “wood” look of the paper mache. Easy Peasy!

Garden 8

Before everyone says “you’re so clever”, I have to give credit where credit is due, I learned this technique from my friend Maureen when she taught card making classes.  We made the cutest cards using this, and I was so excited to find yet another use for it. 🙂

I have to say that I had a great time working on this project, it’s probably one of my favorites as well as being one of the easiest.  I did buy a little bird house and birds to go with it, I just haven’t had the time to finish them just yet. One thing I like about the bench and accessories is most all of the pieces are extremely versatile and can be used to decorate the doll house or for other things.  Right at the moment it is sitting on my buffet as my spring decoration, but it will only be temporary as I have another use for that little bench.  Stay tuned!

Apologies for not having any Broke Girl Bakery posts lately, I hurt my back a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been limited on what I’ve been able to do.  Hopefully we will have some new posts in the next week or so, I have a lot to show you.

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14 thoughts on “Gardening Bench and Kit’s Chicken Keeping Outfit

  1. Sorry, I still want to say ‘You’re so clever!’
    The honeycombs are so lovely and I like the idea to “laminate” with packing tape. Love the golden yellow color of the honeycombs.
    I agree with you on the AG bench – the purple reminds me of Barbie furniture.

  2. I can’t believe how resourceful you are! You set looks way better than AGs, and it’s scaled better too! Hey, how about some enlarged scrapbook paper of a country scene as a backdrop? Or maybe you’re good a drawing?

    • I agree that is a great idea–if I was keeping it as is LOL! It’s all going to be repurposed in the next week. I have toyed with the idea of using photographs I have and having poster sized prints made at Staples though for backdrops.

      • When do you sleep, and if so do you do dream of the next scene for the girls?
        Shared your blog address with Mardell, she knows the little girl next door who just got a Saige doll, and would like her to see what you do with your dolls. ET2

      • LOL! Actually, I’ll let everyone in on a little secret. I frequently will take one day and do nothing but photography and writing for the blog. I may have anywhere from 3 – 9 posts sitting in wait at any given time, then I just need to hit the “publish” button. Sometimes they may still need editing, but it’s a huge time saver. It makes it a lot easier to keep up with things around here and keep the house from turning in to a disaster. 😉

        Wonder how the hair is on that Saige doll? I’m curious because I see quite a few with the frizzies.

  3. BRILLIANT! So much better than AG! Love it! I think you should definitely look into doing the poster thing for backdrops later. You’ll want to use it again and again in shoots.

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