My latest obsession…

If you haven’t already realized this from reading my blog, I enjoy making things.  Evil Twin and I have a running joke that if we haven’t tried a craft, it probably hasn’t been invented yet.  I think that my love of crafting has been a wonderful companion to my love of dolls and why I can’t see myself losing interest in blogging anytime soon.  So many things to make, so little time!!

Because of my love of crafting, one of my favorite blogs is American Girl Ideas.  Rudy is always coming up with some new idea on how to make something for dolls, you just never know what you might find there.  Most all of her creations have a corresponding video on YouTube, and I frequently watch them.  You know how at the end of some YouTube videos it will make recommendations on other ones to watch?  Usually they are either ones I’ve already seen or something that doesn’t interest me.  However, one day there was a link to a video that caught my eye.  I watched it.  Then I watched another one on the same subject, recommended by the original link.  After watching both of them, I decided it was something I wanted to try, so I ordered it.  Unfortunately, there are no retailers selling this in the US, so I had to wait 2 1/2 weeks for it to come from China.  It was well worth the wait.  I was super excited when it came in the mail, I couldn’t wait to open it.  I’m sure you are wondering what in the world it is, aren’t you?

house 1
It’s a miniature doll room! These are 1/24th scale, itsy bitsy. To give you some idea of just how small, AG/18″ dolls are 1/3 scale. What is interesting is that it comes all as pieces, you have to assemble it. You cover the walls, you build the furniture, you cut out a zillion pieces of paper/fabric for decorating and put it all together. And to make it even more complicated, the instructions are all in Chinese!!! Fortunately, there are some videos on YouTube (much like the one that sucked me in to begin with) that are a big help, as well as photos in the instruction manual. The kit I purchased is the one shown in the lower left hand corner.

They make all sorts of kits, on the reverse side of the box it showed several others available:
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On day one I decided to tackle the furniture. To me that seemed like the most intimidating part of it, so I thought I’d get that out of the way. It actually wasn’t too bad. The key to it was to take my time, making sure that the glue was dry enough before proceeding on to the next step. Fortunately, there were enough different items, I was able to keep going pretty much with only minor breaks. One bit of advice I will give anyone who decides to try one of these kits is to sort out all the pieces beforehand, some of them look the same, but they aren’t. Just very similar.
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house 4Apologies for the crappy photos of the furniture, I forgot to turn the macro setting on, I was using a different camera.

Next step was to cover the walls and assemble them.  You get several sheets of paper items and you have to cut out the wallpaper and glue it to the walls.  You do the same with the floor.  One good piece of info I got from the videos was to smear the glue around with a paintbrush so it doesn’t look lumpy.  I was really glad I did this, I got a really nice finish on all of my pieces once they had dried.  And don’t panic if they look lumpy first off, as the glue dries, the paper tightens up.

house 5Then it was time to glue the walls together.  I dug around in my pantry for a couple of cans/bottles I thought would work well to prop them up as the glue dried.  Glamorous, isn’t it?

house 6That was the last thing I did on day one, I figured it would be good to take a break as well as let all the glue thoroughly dry.

Day two involved cutting out all the little paper decorations and gluing various things together.  There were beads that glued together to become perfume bottles, beads that went together with other parts to make lamps, and all sorts of other little things.  I decided that it would be way easier to decorate the pieces that went on the walls in advance of gluing them in place, so I got that all together.  I found it safest to lay the room on it’s back or side, depending on which one I was working on so that things didn’t move around.  The last thing I glued into place was the wall lamp.  That darned thing wasn’t very cooperative, it kept falling over, so I needed to find something that would hold it in place until the glue was dry enough to support it.  Sharpie marker to the rescue!!!

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Then it was time to wire the lamps.  Next to the furniture, this was the part that made me the most nervous.  I won’t lie, they were a little bit contrary, the biggest issue being the thinness of the wires.  I was so pleased once I was done putting them all together and flipped the switch!

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Once I was done with the wiring, it was time to put the room together.  Are you ready to see it?

TADA!!!!

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And a shot of it with the lights on:

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I also took a couple pictures of it in a darkened room for better effect:

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This was one of the most enjoyable and relaxing craft projects I have done in a long time.  I’m usually not someone who buys kits, but I was glad I made an exception in this case.  I’ve already ordered another one, and there are several others that I have my eye on.  Fortunately, they are very small and don’t take up much space!

A few pieces of advice from my own experience:  the tape used to hold the wiring together is crap, get some electrical tape.  Most of the people who did the videos used their own glue, but I saw nothing wrong with the glue that was included in the kit.  It isn’t fast drying, but it worked fine.  Also, don’t feel like you have to do it exactly like it says in the instructions or as pictured.  I took some creative liberties on mine and it made it feel more like it was my own.

These kits are not for small children at all.  There are lots of small pieces, and the furniture is fragile when completed.  The box says “14 and over” on it.  It does require a certain amount of manual dexterity.  It is NOT a toy, but a collectors piece when finished.  It even includes sheets of plastic to make a dust cover for it, I haven’t assembled that yet.  I’ve been too busy admiring it. 😉

Alya thought it was pretty cute too, and next thing I knew, she had run off with it to her room!!!

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This picture gives you a good comparison of just how small it is in comparison to 18 inch dolls.

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“Can I keep it?” Sorry, no honey. But you can play with it sometimes. Notice she snuck Hello Kitty in there!

So, now the big question:  where to find these?  I got this particular kit from Amazon, at the time I ordered they had the best price and I felt confident that if there was an issue as far as not receiving it, Amazon would help me out.  Another site with a nice selection at good prices is Banggood.com.  I’ve also seen them on Ebay and Etsy–Ebay pricing was good, but I was hesitant since it has to be drop shipped from China and Ebay isn’t one of my favorite places at the moment.  I’ve yet to see a reasonable price on most of the ones listed on Etsy, so I would avoid that unless it’s a kit you can’t find anywhere else.  When looking for these anywhere on the internet, type in “dollhouse miniature DIY” and you should find them.  Just keep in mind that no matter where you order from, they are shipped direct from China, so you are going to have to wait a bit for them to arrive.

Here are links to the two videos I watched on YouTube that sucked me in:

Both of the videos have lots of good advice in them and I like the fact that they both did some customizations.  There are plenty of other videos on YouTube for other rooms too so if you get hooked like I did, you have others to watch.

I can’t wait for my next kit to arrive, I am totally addicted!  There is a larger kit that I’m thinking would be a perfect one to buy in December to work on in the cold weather after the new year.  So totally cute!!!

 

Kit’s Homemade Sweets Set

I mentioned before that I had ordered several sets before we left for Mexico and that several of them were part of Kit’s collection.  After posting about her School Skirt Outfit, I came to the realization that reviews of Kit’s items are few and far between.  Kit is my favorite of the historicals and I have more of her collection than any of my other girls, so I thought it would be helpful to share my opinions with everyone.

I really lucked out on Kit’s Homemade Sweets Set.  This was originally part of Kit’s Candy Making Set, introduced in 2014.  Originally it also included an outfit for Kit, all for $64, but in 2015 the parts were split up.  The Homemade Sweets Set sold for $42 which was still a bit pricey for my tastes.  Earlier this year it was marked down to $25, much more reasonable, but then throw in my 20% off coupon, and I couldn’t resist it at $20!!!  I’m so glad I decided to get it too, it is a very cute set.  And it features chocolate, so no-brainer! 😉

Here is a shot of all the pieces you get:

candy set 1

Once I got the set out of the box and examined all of the pieces, I was very pleased with it and happy I decided to order it.

The double boiler is very accurate:

candy set 2

It is made from plastic (insert sad face) but whoever did the design work on it added a nice feature to it.  The bottom of each pot has a weight in it so it doesn’t fall over!  Kudos to good engineering.

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The basket is nicely done.  My only disappointment is that the basket itself is molded plastic instead of a real basket.  Not a deal breaker though.  I love the way it is trimmed with the silk flowers and the pink ribbons.

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The set includes 3 tulle bags and 3 assorted colored ribbons to package your finished candy.  I haven’t opened these just yet, not sure that I will use them for what they are intended.  We’ll see…

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Love the cute little “wooden” spoon!  Yes, it’s plastic, but I love how a wood grain finish was added to make it more realistic.

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If you are going to make molded chocolates, you need bulk chocolate first!  I thought the detail on this was very good.  The only drawback is that the chocolate pieces don’t fit easily into the pot.  Oh well.

And now for my FAVORITE part of the whole set:

candy set 6

You get 3 finished bunnies and a mold, all beautifully detailed.  However, what impressed me even more is that the bunnies fit PERFECTLY into the mold!  You can put the clips on the mold and it looks like you have a bunny in the works.  I thought this was absolutely genius, and this little attention to detail is the kind of thing that got me hooked on AG in the first place.  Bravo!

Since I was sick over Easter, the girls didn’t get to make chocolates like we had planned.  Cassandra and Sophia decided to give it a try over the weekend, they had a lot of fun.  And let’s be honest: ANY time is a good time for chocolate!!! 🙂

candy set 9

The girls had fun using this set.  Although I’m not sure which they enjoyed more, making the bunnies or eating them!

I give this set an A+, it has so many nice details to it.  It’s currently in the clearance section on the American Girl website, so if you are thinking about getting it, I wouldn’t wait too long.  While much of it has an Easter theme to it, several parts of it can be used for other cooking projects.

My luck continues!!

Not long ago I posted about some of the goodies that I’d picked up on my thrift store travels and commented on how pleased I was to find so many things after such a long dry spell.  Fortunately, my good luck continued a bit longer.  I guess I must be doing something right!

I needed to run to the Salvation Army to drop off some stuff we wanted to donate.  Of course I had to go in!  I was super pleased to find this awesome doll sized bowl with a Spanish theme to it:

may goodies 1

It was only 69 cents!  It has a minor chip in it but whoever had it last tried to repair it, and did a decent job, you have to really look to see it.  I tried to find out more about it by looking up the name on the back, but all I could find out was it was another name for the Basque region of Spain.  Doesn’t really matter that much, I still think its an awesome piece.  Doesn’t it look great with fruit in it???

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My other terrific find came courtesy of Ebay.  I check listings in the mornings, that is usually when I get my best deals.  This particular deal caught me off guard in much the same way Kanani did, a fantastic price.  Unfortunately I had to wait it out because it wasn’t a buy it now, but I did end up winning at the minimum bid!  $19.99 for Molly’s bike which was featured in the “School’s Out” post as Louisa’s “new” bike.  I have always loved Molly’s bike, it is my favorite of all of the ones they have come out with.  It reminds me a lot of a bike a friend of mine had when we were growing up.   It is in terrific shape, a few very minor scratches in the paint.  I was amazed to find out that it has a chain, just like on a real bike!  My husband thought that was pretty cool too.

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It was missing the mirror, the horn and the front reflector/light, but those were minor issues to me and repairable.  I tried removing the brackets that held the mirror and the horn, but it was going to be more of a challenge than I originally thought.   I thought about making something that resembled the horn, but as I looked at the piece that was left, I got another idea:  a light!  I glued a clear bead in, and voila:

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The bracket for the mirror was easy enough to move, I just left it on in case I come up with some other great idea.  In the meantime, Louisa will have lots of fun riding around the neighborhood on it as is.  She’s just happy to have wheels!

Another day on Ebay I came across something else I had been wanting, and I snagged it at an $8 minimum bid!

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I have always liked this cardigan and I think the detail on it is fantastic.  It was a limited edition PWP several years ago and came with a headband originally.  I can make the headband, no biggie, but the sweater is another story.  I was very pleased to get my hands on this.

My last item is something that I have quite literally been looking out for over the past year.  I’d pretty much given up at this point, especially when I saw other people showing them on their blogs.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a Dollar Tree looking for these.  Let’s just say that last week when I came across these, I was stunned.  I was in the toy aisle browsing and all of a sudden **BAM!**, I saw them.

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At a dollar each, how can you go wrong?  And they are the perfect scale for AG dolls!  I got four of them, I’m going to try my hand at customizing them.  I have a project in the works that these will be perfect for, I just need to get more time to work on it.

I wonder how much longer I will continue to find cool doll stuff? Time will tell…