The Super 8 Project (aka My Version Of The Grand Hotel!)

Hey everyone, how goes it?  It’s still kind of crazy here.  I started a new project though that I’m going to share with all of you as it progresses.  Even though I’m busy, I still have to find a creative outlet from time to time, and I just happened to have a day that I could work on something.  All work and no creative play makes Flo a grumpy gal!

By now I think most everyone has seen the new American Girl releases.  Some very, very cute stuff.  My biggest complaint though: too much plastic!  This is almost as bad as wire coat hangers!!! 😉  One set in particular caught my eye though.  The Grand Hotel.  Cute as all get out, and for this avid traveler, kind of hard to resist.

Just in case you haven’t seen it yet:

I was in love. Then reality set in. The $275 price tag was bad enough, but I thought perhaps this could be my payment from my husband for being his secretary through all of the estate stuff we are dealing with. Upon closer inspection, some things bothered me. Namely, all that plastic furniture. I held off, and then I read a review on it, and this person was very honest and verified my greatest fear. The furniture is thin plastic, more like Barbie furniture instead of American Girl furniture. To me this made absolutely no sense. The walls are wood, but the furniture is plastic??? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Not only would this piece be kind of large, even when folded up, but it would weigh a ton, and who knows how long the furniture would hold up if it’s that flimsy. This wouldn’t do.

My mind got to working overtime and almost immediately I had a beginning idea formed. It was time to start a new long term project! For those of you who followed my Broke Girl Bakery, you know exactly where this is heading. Are you ready??? Are you sure??? Last chance to bail…

I tossed a lot of ideas around, and some of those are still in the thinking stages, but I knew right off the bat what I wanted to make the walls out of. And, as luck would have it, I just happened to have the main part of this item in my possession! I needed two display boards, the kind kids use at science fairs. Mine came from Dollar Tree, so I had $2 invested. I then made a run to my local craft store to get 3 sheets of black and white scrapbook paper. I was still debating on how to get the main area design, and then it hit me. I used to be very in to paper crafting, mainly scrapbooking and rubber stamping, and I remembered that somewhere in my stash was a rubber stamp set that was very similar to the wallpaper design AG used for their background. I got everything together, and got started.

Using 3 different stamps in the set (1 large, 2 small) I then set about stamping my design all over the two boards. On one board, I left one of the small flaps blank, that would be where the striped paper went to replicate the mini bathroom area. I stamped randomly, but in sort of a pattern. (You’ll notice some stamping on the area that was to be left blank, I used that as my “test” area since I knew I would be covering it with paper.)

Once I was done stamping all over the boards, I then took a red marker and colored the centers of the larger flowers red. You could do this in whatever color you wanted, depending on what your color scheme is going to be! That’s one of the things I love about dollhouse DIY, you can change things if you want to and make it your own.

I then took my black and white striped scrapbook paper and cut it down to cover the one small flap.

This part of the project took no time at all and I was very pleased with the results.

Depending on how picky you are, this might be a fun project to let the kids participate in. I bet it didn’t even take me a half an hour to get this finished. It might take someone else a bit longer, only because I’m very experienced in this kind of thing, but that’s part of the fun!

Here you can see it all opened up and sort of set up. The nice thing about having it as two pieces is not only is it easy to fold up and store, but you can also arrange it in a variety of ways.

I will say that in this instance I didn’t cut the boards down to 24 inches high, I left them at full height. Because of the finished size of this project, I decided it might be best to leave the extra space for photographic purposes. Whether you cut them down or not is entirely up to you.

At this point, I have all of $2.75 invested in the project.  Not too shabby.  I am going to try and recycle/reuse as much as I can from my existing doll stuff, or if I am making something new, try and make it from materials I already have in my possession.  We will see how it goes.

That’s it for this part of the Super 8 Project! Stay tuned for the next installment. Till then, ta-ta!

The Dangerous Clothing List

Due to the bad experience that Xyra from Tea Time With Melody Q recently had with a Madame Alexander swimsuit, I’ve received a list from Jen over at The Dolls Between Us of clothing items from American Girl that have caused problems. (Thank you Jen!) This prompted me to start a permanent page on my blog that can be added to as needed.

If you have an item that you don’t see already on the list, please leave information in the comments section so that item can be added.  It DOES NOT have to be an AG item, I’d like for this to be a comprehensive list for all manufacturers.  This is only for items that can cause damage to a doll, not fit or sizing issues.

Let’s keep our dolls safe from unnecessary stains!  If in doubt, check it out!

A Trip to Punxsutawney!

Hello everyone, Sophia here!  I’m going to tell you about my trip to meet Xyra and Lea.  They were up for the semi-annual get together at Coolspring, and Xyra and Flo decided that we would do something a bit different.  Actually, they had been planning this since they got together in October, and when I heard about it, I begged Flo to let me go!  I was super excited when she said I could.

Now a bit of history–Punxsutawney is a town in Pennsylvania that has become famous because of the groundhog that lives there and predicts the outcome in regards to the end of winter every year.  The tradition is based on European lore–some have said German specifically, but if you read up on it, it also has some Celtic background as well.  It happens every year on February 2nd, and legend says that if the groundhog sees his shadow, it will be six more weeks of winter, and if he doesn’t it will be an early spring.  I don’t know if he is absolutely accurate every year, but it does seem like a lot of fun!  And by the way, the movie “Groundhog Day” wasn’t actually filmed in Punxsutawney.  Sorry if I burst your bubble.

Back in 2004, someone decided it would be fun to make these giant Phil statues and place them at various points all over town.  They are all painted with different themes, some of which reflect the business or building they are displayed in front of.  It was a lot of fun going around and checking them all out.  But first, we had to meet up!

Uh, wait a second here. I feel like I’m looking in the mirror, but I know my hair isn’t like that today!
It was really crazy, we were both giggling. We even dressed alike!

“Nice to meet you!”

In case you are wondering, that’s Lea on the left, me on the right. You can tell us apart by our hair and socks, as well as the fact that Lea is wearing bracelets and I’m not. Isn’t this crazy?!?!

We had to start off by paying the real Phil a visit…
It wasn’t easy to see him. The glare on the glass was pretty bad, plus it was covered with fingerprints from all of the people who come and see him everyday. There were quite a few people who stopped by to see him while we were there.

He’s somewhere in that straw. He wiggled a little at one point or we would have missed him completely.

After visiting Phil, it was time to head out and see how many statues we could find. We saw 20 in total, we missed 11 and one of those doesn’t count since it was out for repairs. It was fun to see how they were all painted differently!

This is Presby MacPhil. Flo said she was excited because he was one she really wanted to see. He’s in front of the Presbyterian Church.
This is Freedom Phil. I think it should be Freedom Phillis, isn’t the Statue of Liberty a woman????


Obviously, this is Fireman Phil. He even had his own firehouse!

THIS was an embarrassing moment! It was really hot out, and I was feeling a little dizzy. And I wasn’t paying attention…and I managed to catch my foot on the pavement and did a rather ungraceful faceplant. OUCH! I was okay, but I did scratch my nose a little bit. Not too bad. I think my pride was more hurt than anything.

This one has a rather long name: It’s Springtime for Phantastic Phyllis.

This one was called “Grow Up Great”. It was pretty cool standing on those giant books! From what I read in the brochure, this Phil has been completely redone from it’s original state and renamed. Not sure why they decided to change it, but I thought that was very interesting.

I loved the bright colors on this one. It is called “Phil A House With Love” and is sponsored by the Jefferson County Housing Authority.

This one was Flo’s favorite, it was a mosaic made out of stained glass. It is called “Get Your Phil Of Roses”. It was pretty neat!

When we crossed the street, we saw this giant painting of a zebra in the window of a furniture store. I just had to get my picture taken in front of it to show Louisa since she loves zebras!

By the time we got to Philtuminous, the Heritage Hog, I was so hot and tired, I wanted to sit on his foot. He was too slippery and I kept sliding down. Oh well…my gosh it was hot though. And humid. We all felt like we were melting!

This is Postcards from Phil. We were sad to see that his camera (as well as another one) had been wrecked. Why do people think that it’s okay to destroy something like this? That makes me mad. It was still a pretty cool statue though.

I loved the name for this one: Phil’d With Love. I thought he was so sweet. He was in front of a nursing home, so we had to be very quiet as not to disturb the residents.

Our last stop was at a pizza shop on the way out of town. They not only had a Phil statue, but they had this:

Lea got to be Phil, while I was a member of the “Inner Circle”, pulling Phil out of his burrow! The Inner Circle is the organization that oversees all Phil related activity and the events of Groundhog Day. The President of the Inner Circle is the man who Phil tells the prediction to. Talk about a lot of responsibility!

I hope you had fun with our little tour of Punxsutawney and the Phil statues. If you’d like to see more of them, you can check them out over at Tea Time With Melody Q, Xyra has different photos of some of the other ones. I had a great time getting to meet her and Lea! I hope to show everyone some of the goodies she sent home with us in a future post. And I think that whoever gets to go in October should go find the Phil’s we missed, don’t you agree?