July Post Schedule and “What in the heck is that?” (instructions!)

I don’t usually post in advance what my blog is going to have on it, but July is going to be a bit different. First off: time to start the bedding tutorial. It will be in six parts over the month, I hope you can participate! It’s an easy thing to make and you can do it even if you don’t have a sewing machine, it will just take longer if sewing by hand. I also set the tutorial up in such a way that the most popular items will be featured first. Some of the items we are making you may not need depending on if you are using a box or already have a bed.

Second: a tour of the dollhouse (or at least what I have finished so far). I’ve been wanting to share this with everyone for a while and I thought that while the girls are “away” would be a good time to do it.

July 1: Doll Story Post

July 2: Announcement of the contest winner.

July 3: Doll Sized Finds (don’t miss it, last one for a while!)

July 6: How to make a doll bedspread. This tutorial will also show you how to measure for different sizes of beds, so even if you are using a box, you can get a nice, custom fit. The box that AG dolls come in make a great bed! I will be making mine using the box that Kit’s bed came in for the whole tutorial series.

July 8: Tour of Rebecca and Marie-Grace’s bedroom.

July 10: How to make a bed pillow and pillowcase.

July 13: How to make a mattress for your doll bed.

July 15: Tour of the doll kitchen.

July 17: How to make a sheet/cover for the mattress we made earlier.

July 20: How to make a cover/dust ruffle for a bed/box.

July 23: Tour of the doll living room.

July 27: How to make a headboard and assemble the bed.

July 29: Tour of Cassandra’s bedroom.

July 31: Tour of Kit’s bedroom.

We will be back to our normal crazy posting of all things fun in August!

Also–a quick reminder that time is running out on the contest, if you want to enter, check it out here.

So, now for the “what is that?” part of the post. In the recent releases from American Girl, they put out a set that has a lot of people puzzled. I don’t blame them, if I hadn’t had one myself, I probably wouldn’t have known it either. It is called “Hairstyling Tools” and it looks like this:
styling tools

First off, let me just say that the $20 price that they are charging for this set is RIDICULOUS!!!!  Plus, you can find most all of these items elsewhere, much cheaper.  Clear hair elastics can be bought by the bag for a couple of dollars at Sally Beauty Supply (200 for 99 cents) along with the bobby pins (36 for $3.49).  You can buy the pony tail tool for $1.29 on Amazon.  The only thing I didn’t go looking for is the bun helper, but I’ve seen these in all sorts of sizes and in actual hair colors instead of pink so it blends in with the hair.  To be honest, most doll hair is not the right length or texture for that item to even work well.  ARGH!  I was VERY angry when I saw this price, talk about rip off.  Plus, I’ve seen a lot of people who were trying to figure out what the loop with the handle was and how to use it–including my sister who is a former hairdresser!!!  Perhaps a better explanation would be in order AG?!?!?!  Or some pictures?? Anyhow, I have the answer, thank you Conair for posting a video of how to use it.  It does create some very unique hairstyle looks, but really needs to be used on a doll with very long hair (also not explained) for it to work well.

Here’s a link to the video:
http://www.conair.com/video.php?cntpcID=12_65&video_id=83

And a link to one for sale on Amazon, with FREE SHIPPING!

http://www.amazon.com/DragonPad-Braid-Ponytail-Maker-Styling/dp/B004367X70/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1435687217&sr=8-4&keywords=topsy+tail

I’m going to make one out of a pipe cleaner, I have all those red ones left from when I made the Coconut’s Valentine set!  If it doesn’t work, then I will break down and order one from Amazon, I got rid of the one I had when I cut my hair off, oops!

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“One thing…one thing, leads to ano-o-o-other…”

Sorry I had to quote the band The Fixx there, but it just seemed so appropriate for this post. Why, you ask? Well, this is one of those things that started out as one thing, then turned into an idea that led to something else–you get the idea. To start, one of my favorite blogs is Refashionista. Jillian who writes it is incredibly talented and can literally take the worlds worst thrift store clothing find, and turn it into something absolutely amazing. Inspiration enough for someone who sews, but for someone who sews and shops at thrift stores–downright dangerous! Hats off to you Jillian for inspiring me, even if it was just for the dolls. 🙂

Last week I had a trip to Walmart, and of course I had to go check out the infants clothing section to see if they had anything that would work for the girls. Sure enough, I found this!
one thing 1
Cute, huh?! Typical 3 piece set which I’ve purchased before. Fits great, and as usual, my first thought was cut the Onesie off to make it into a shirt. Then I got to looking at it and thought it looked a bit like the new top to the Sightseeing Outfit they made for Grace Thomas, just polka dots instead of stripes. That got me to thinking…wouldn’t that be cute with a fluffy white skirt. I almost headed to Joann Fabrics, when I suddenly remembered something I’d bought last summer!
one thing 2
I bought this off the clearance rack at Target, thinking it might fit a doll. It didn’t. I even washed it thinking it might shrink since it was all cotton. All I got for my trouble was a wrinkly mess and a dress that was now coming apart!!!  Grrrrrr…
one thing 3
Because of the way it was made, I needed to do some thinking on it before I altered it, so I shoved it in my sewing stash and promptly forgot about it. Glad I remembered it. So what next? Time to do some cutting! I cut the skirt section away from the top.
one thing 4

The next steps I can’t really explain completely because it was literally a “make it up as you go along” kind of thing.  First thing I did was repair where the ruffle was coming off, that was super easy.  Then I took a piece of white fabric and cut a long strip of it 2 inches wide.  I pressed it, folded it in half and pressed it again, then folded one of the open sides under 1/4 inch and pressed that down again for the entire length.  I sewed the unfolded side to the skirt sewing it right on top of the top row of the ruffle to cover the open stitching.  (The top of the ruffle wasn’t technically “finished” since in the original dress it would be covered by the ruffle above it.) I attached the two pieces together at the back now that I knew where it fit, cut the excess off, then I folded the part that I had pressed under 1/4 inch over this and top stitched it, leaving an opening at the back for elastic.  Inserted the elastic, sewed up the opening and voila!  I had a skirt.  Clear as mud, huh? I apologize for that lousy description, but sometimes when you’re creating as you sew, you don’t think about taking pics, and to be honest, I wasn’t 100% sure how well it was going to work.

So here is what the Grace outfit looks like: (like any of you probably need reminding, duh)

sightseeing outfit
Since Alya looks the most like Grace of any of my dolls, I asked her if she would mind modeling for me. She was really in to it, even braided her hair like Grace’s. The finished product:
one thing 5
Here is a close up so you can see that the skirt even has flocked polka dots on it, I’d forgotten all about that until I dug it out!
one thing 6
She really got into the whole modeling thing:
one thing 7    one thing 8

So after I was finished, this was still sitting on the dining room table:

one thing 9
I thought it would be easy to turn into something now without the skirt, until I noticed something…

one thing 10
ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t believe I did that. Yes I can. Quit laughing! I guess it will go back into the stash box until I come up with some idea for it. I have a few already, you know I won’t be happy until I’ve come up with something!

American Girl Sit & Snooze Fold-Out Bed Review

Last week I was excited to see American Girl running some Daily Deals in the run-up to their new releases. The first one for me was a must have! I’ve wanted one of their fold-out beds for a while, but the price was always a bit more than I felt like paying, plus until this recent release, they weren’t made the way I remember the real ones. However, when I saw this normally $48 item on sale for $24 and free shipping, I couldn’t get it ordered fast enough. I always wanted a chair like this for myself when I was younger, but never got one. I’ll just have to live vicariously through my dolls!
folding chair 1

folding chair 5

The afghan is adorable, very well crafted. A nice size too, what you would expect for a throw. The pillow was a big surprise, the photos on the AG website make it look kind of thin, but it’s far from that. This is a substantial pillow, a nice plus to this set. It’s so thick though that it’s not very practical for sleeping on, more just a decoration. The bed with the pillow and throw make for a really nice, finished look to any doll room.
folding chair 3

folding chair 4

The bed–totally worth it! Way better crafted than the similar My Life As sofa bed I reviewed not long ago. It’s made just like the full sized ones I longed for all those years ago. The one thing that did surprise me is that there is no Velcro holding it closed, whoever designed this did a terrific job in getting the perfect balance on the sections so it doesn’t come undone on it’s own. Of course, you don’t have the dolls plopping themselves on it like you would with humans!
folding chair 2

Overall I’m very pleased with this purchase. I hope AG sticks with this style as it’s much more accurate in design and since it can be a chair or a bed, much more versatile. I’m eyeing it up, trying to figure out how I could make a sofa sized one, hmmm… In the meantime, I need to figure out who gets to have this in their room!  (I’m thinking Alya and Shivan although several of the girls have tried to claim it!)

Just in case you missed it too, I’m running a contest, and there are only 5 days left to enter.  You can check it out here.