Broke Girl Bakery: TA DA!!!!

I bet you guys never thought we’d get to this point–something you can play with! It’s actually been mostly finished for a while now, but I’ve had so many other things going on and stuff I wanted to share, I kind of shoved it to the back burner.

Besides the high price tag, one of the major issues with Grace’s Bakery is the size. I’ll just say that it is VERY large, and would take up a lot of space. I know that I don’t have this kind of space in my house and I’m sure that there are plenty of people that have the same issue. I know that it is at least as big as the top of my sewing machine cabinet. Hmmmmm…

One day while in a craft store, I noticed that they had a lot of presentation boards–in colors!!! Red, blue, yellow and green. After some serious thought, I decided that I was going to go a completely different direction with this and make this project my own. Something that my husband and I have fond memories of from our travels to Ireland are the tea rooms scattered about the country. One in particular stuck out in both of our minds. Inspired by that memory, I decided to go with the green and my Irish tea room and bakery was born! My husband named it for me: Connemara Cakes Bakery and Coffee Shop.
connemara cakes sign
Connemara is a region in the North West area of Ireland, very rugged and very pretty. The photograph is of Kylemore Abbey, taken by me when we were there in 2003. It is one of the most photographed locations in all of Ireland!  Unfortunately my printer is on the fritz, so I wasn’t able to print my signs for in the shop. 😦

Now that I had my inspiration: Off to the craft store! I picked up my green board. Dimensions on the board: 36 inches tall, 22 1/2 inches wide and the flaps are each 13 deep. Only $4.97, not bad. They do make these boards in all white as well, so if you wanted to stick with the original colors, you could easily spray paint it turquoise blue or cover it with paper. I also picked up some scrapbooking paper while I was there that I thought would work well as wallpaper.

bakery finale 1

After looking at it, I decided it was way too tall, so I cut 12 inches off the top of it so it was 24 inches tall. I set aside the piece I cut off, I had an idea for it as well. Then I started my wallpapering. I ended up using 5 sheets of the scrapbook paper, at 50 cents each, so that only cost me $2.50. I also picked up 2 book lights at Dollar Tree for $1 each. The book lights are held in place with Velcro, making them easily removable for storage.

bakery finale 2

Here we are with the furnishings:
bakery finale
So, let’s add some baked goods, dolls, and wave the magic wand…

bakery finale 3
Alya and Rebecca are all ready to wait on customers!

bakery finale 4
“I think I’ve been baking all morning, I hope we have enough!”

bakery finale 5 Look at all of those yummy things Rebecca has been working on, mmm…

bakery finale 6
I found a great use for that little cabinet I picked up at the Goodwill, perfect for storing dishes and extras.

bakery finale 7

Abby and Kit were the first customers to arrive.

bakery finale 8

“This coffee is delicious and will go really well with my peanut butter and jelly sandwich as well as the macaron I got!”

bakery finale 9

Abby decided to go the “all sugar” route–a peanutbutter kiss cookie and a cupcake.  At least she got plain tea to drink.

bakery finale 10

Just then, Zara showed up.  “Hey guys, how are you?  Everything looks delicious!”

bakery finale 11
She ordered a muffin and a chocolate chip frappe. “That will be $5.89.”

bakery finale 12
“Don’t forget your frappe!”

 “No, don’t want to forget that, it looks wonderful. I need that chocolate boost too!  I’ve been dragging all morning.”

bakery finale 14

“Looks like business is going to go well today” said Rebecca.

Just then, Marie-Grace and Cassandra walked in.

bakery finale 15      bakery finale 16

“Oh dear” said Cassandra, “everything looks sooooooo good!  I don’t know how to decide.”

“Try the pumpkin pie” replied Rebecca.  “When I was cutting it I messed a piece up and OF COURSE I had to try it! I can vouch for it, it’s wonderful.”  “You’ve convinced me, pumpkin pie it is!”

bakery finale 17

Marie-Grace didn’t have any trouble deciding what she wanted, she got one of the giant chocolate cupcakes to go.

Then Shivan came in–carrying a flower arrangement.

bakery finale 18

“Hi guys!” said Shivan.  “Congratulations on your grand opening!  I brought these flowers for you to celebrate.”

“Awwww, that was so sweet!  Can I get you something to eat?” asked Alya.

“Can I just get a lemonade?  I’m on my power walk, so I don’t want the carbs dragging me down.  But I’ll be back later.”

“One lemonade, coming right up!”

bakery finale 19

I think the girls have a very busy day ahead of them, what do you think?

A couple of things that I wanted to point out–if you notice, the bump out that I used to make the dining area was that extra piece from the display board that I cut off. I put the white board behind it so you didn’t see the mess in my living room. You could just buy a second board and decorate it as well.

That piece I picked up recently at the Goodwill made such a great storage cabinet. It’s not going to be a piece only used in the bakery, so I’m not going to count it in my final totals along with the baking area piece, I bought that last summer. I’m not going to count Grace’s baking set because I bought that before I even had the idea for this project, as well as the table and chairs I already had. This is one of the things I did like about this project though, I was able to use quite a few things that I already had, just a matter of repurposing some of them.

Amount spent already as of April 20, 2015 $57.86
Display board: $4.97
Scrapbook paper: $2.50
Book lights: $2.00
Bags: $1.00

Total spent as of June 12, 2015: $68.33

Even if I added in some of those items, we would still be well under $500!!! I think this is every bit as cute and functional as the American Girl set, plus a whole lot easier to store when not in use. I’ll just put all of the things that go in the doll house back, fold the boards up and store them behind something and the few odds and ends pieces that are more bakery specific can be stored in a small box. I’d say I accomplished what I set out to do, don’t you agree?

Advertisements

To All The Dolls I’ve Loved Before: Crissy and Velvet

One day last summer as I was driving somewhere, it dawned on me where my obsession with American Girl dolls comes from. It all goes back to a doll I had from my childhood. I always thought she was a Velvet doll, but I’ve since found out otherwise. Keep reading.

If you aren’t familiar with Crissy and Velvet, I’ll enlighten you. Made by Ideal, Crissy was introduced in 1969. She had flaming red hair with a unique twist to it–you could make it “grow”. And thanks to a knob on her back, you could make it short again. Push the button on her stomach and pull–long again! It was really a pretty clever idea and interestingly enough, not an original one. Ideal had acquired a closed company called American Character Doll Company who had originated the idea with their Tressy and Cricket dolls. Crissy was 18 inches tall.

A friend of mine had one of the first Crissy dolls which was pretty cool because like Crissy, she had red hair. I thought Crissy was cute, but I didn’t really want her. My mom apparently thought she was cool too, and the following Christmas, I got one. Mine came in a teal satin type dress with matching shoes. I did play with her, but I wasn’t in love with her.

kerry velvet crissy
Kerry, Velvet and Crissy Photo courtesy of Julie Newman’s 70’s Time Capsule

The following Christmas my mom decided to get me another doll in the line. This is where some confusion began that I’ve just recently cleared up. Velvet was introduced and was designed to be Crissy’s little cousin. At only 15 inches tall she was the perfect size for a girl my age (I would have been 7 at the time). She also had the “growing” hair mechanism. Until last summer, I thought I had a brunette Velvet doll. My doll came in exactly the same outfit as the Velvet doll (a purple velvet dress), adding to more confusion. After doing some research, I’ve discovered that I didn’t have a white brunette Velvet, but a Mia doll! (there was a black/African American Velvet version that had dark hair.) Mia was supposed to be one of Velvet’s friends.  Velvet was only ever available as a blonde in the Caucasian version.   I suspect that the reason for the confusion with the outfit is that she may have been a catalog exclusive through either Sears, JCPenney or Montgomery Wards, my mom was a huge catalog shopper and frequently bought more unusual dolls when she could. The outfit shown on most photos of Mia dolls that I came across in doing research, I’d never seen before!

mia
Photo of Mia from http://www.museumofplay.org

 

I can say in all honesty that she was probably my favorite doll of that era. Velvet/Mia (I called her Velvet, hey, I was 7 and didn’t know the difference!) went a lot of places with me, and I played with her quite a bit. I have a distinct memory of my 8th birthday involving her. Right around lunchtime, a woman showed up at our house who had made doll clothing that fit these dolls, and I picked out a couple of outfits that my mom bought me as part of my birthday present. I only remember one of these outfits now, a little pair of white flannel pj’s, trimmed in pink. I also remember dressing up Velvet/Mia in one of the new outfits and she went out to dinner with us, my parents had arranged for all of us to go out to celebrate with friends of theirs, I can still picture her sitting in a chair by herself beside me.

Poor Velvet/Mia though, she didn’t know she was about to be jilted. Big time. I discovered Barbie, and it was all over. I did keep Velvet/Mia for a long time, but she didn’t get played with all that much. I mean, seriously, how can you compete with someone who has a Dream House, a swimming pool, a camper and her own airplane???? Eventually I donated her to charity, and hopefully some little girl loved her as much as I did. At least until she discovered Barbie too.

Ideal continued to make Crissy and her friends for several years, and in several different styles: Movin’ Groovin’ Crissy, Talky Crissy, Look Around Crissy and even a Baby Crissy (just to name a few). They also introduced a number of different friends. I’m not exactly sure when Crissy and her gang were phased out, but Ideal Toys went defunct in 1997.

I do have fond memories of her, and on that day last summer, I realized just how similar she was to American Girl in terms of size and idea of a little girl/young girl doll. Not an infant, not a fashion model, but a young girl. With the dark haired version I had, she resembled Samantha and Molly quite a bit, just with blue eyes. Suddenly everything made sense: I’m just reliving my childhood with these dolls! Maybe someday I’ll buy a dark haired, blue eyed American Girl doll and I can name her Velvet. Or Mia. Oh, never mind!!!

Here’s a commercial showing the same Crissy doll I had and a Velvet doll:

 

 

I have to thank Velvet/Mia for one thing:  because of my trying to figure out who I had, I became friends with Sharry at Julie Newman’s 70’s Time Capsule.   I noticed her Crissy, Velvet and Kerry dolls (Kerry was another doll in the line) on her website, sent her an e-mail asking for info, and the rest as they say “is history!”

To All The Dolls I’ve Loved Before–Swingy!

**When reading the title line, you have to imagine Willie Nelson Singing!**

With Christmas approaching, I thought it would be a good time to start a new feature I’m going to have here on the blog from time to time.  In my lifetime I’ve had a lot of different dolls.  I thought it would be fun to write about several of them.  Some I asked for, a few were gifts, but at some point in time they all made an impact on me in some way.  And that is why I decided to start with Swingy…

I think I was 5 or 6 when I got Swingy.  She was made by Mattel and the big “thing” that she did was dance.  She even came with her own cardboard record! (remember those?!?!)  It was really a clever idea, especially for the swinging 60’s era, and the doll itself was really very cute.  This is what my Swingy doll looked like:

swingy
Photo from Pinterest, Unknown

 

I do remember that I asked for Swingy, this wasn’t one of those dolls that someone thought I would like, I truly did want her. I was very excited to see that Santa had brought her, and couldn’t wait to try her out. Of course, she needed batteries, so after digging around to find some (this was one thing that my mom was terrible at planning for!) we managed to get her dancing. She did her thing…and then one little problem…her head fell off!!!

Fortunately I was a pretty well adjusted kid and this didn’t give me nightmares or anything, just a huge feeling of disappointment that my brand new doll wasn’t right. 😦 But then it actually became a source of laughter for me and my older sister, we would put her head back on and let her dance until it fell off. If we had been a few years older, we might have been taking bets on how long it would have stayed on. Yeah, we were a little sick, but I have to say, it was funny as all get out.

After the holiday was over with and the novelty of a doll whose head fell off wore off, we boxed her up and shipped her off to California to the Mattel headquarters.  This was back before the days of “easy store returns”.  Several months went by and then a package arrived-it wasn’t the same Swingy but a brand new one in a different outfit-cool!  We had kept her outfit when we shipped her back, so I now had Swingy with two outfits, yes!  And this one worked just fine, her head didn’t fall off, and she danced and danced and danced for a couple of years until something happened and the dancing mechanism broke.  It didn’t bother me though, I think by that point I had grown tired of the dancing doll and I just played with her as a regular doll.  My mother did learn somewhere along the way that there were quite a few defective Swingy dolls that Christmas, I wonder how many of them resulted in screaming little girls instead of ones who laughed like me. :/

Now when I see the commercials each year for the new dolls coming out and all of the things they do, I always think back to Swingy.  I often wonder if they revived her if she would sell as well as she did back then?