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.
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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.

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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.

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

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Alya and Rebecca are all ready to wait on customers!

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“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…

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

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Abby and Kit were the first customers to arrive.

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

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

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

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

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“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.”

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

Just then, Marie-Grace and Cassandra walked in.

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“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!”

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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.

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“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!”

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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?

Broke Girl Bakery: It’s in the bag!!

Every bakery and restaurant has to go bags for their products and why should our bakery project be any different? I’ve seen several different printables available from various websites, so cute! I’m going to show you two other options that don’t require much cutting or gluing. Neither is going to break the bank either!

The super easy: these favor boxes that you can buy at Dollar Tree. You get 12 of them for $1.00 and they go together easily and quickly. Plus you can personalize them any number of ways–stickers, rubber stamping, draw on them, print things from your computer. These are very durable too. Uh, I’ll take a chocolate donut please!

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Another easy option: fold your own from a business sized envelope. This is another thing I learned from my card making friend Maureen (who showed me the honeycomb/bubblewrap trick!) and I have fond memories of learning this little gem. Why you ask? Well, all of the gals in the office I used to work in were all in the same card making class, and the next day after the mail came, we carefully opened a number of the envelopes and practiced our technique!

All you need is a business sized envelope (you will get two bags out of this), a pencil, scissors and a ruler.

Step one: seal the envelope. One little tip I will give you is to make sure that the envelope has glue the entire way. I’ve noticed some of the “no lick” ones aren’t always glued the whole way, so you may need some adhesive to fill in that empty space. It won’t fold as nicely if you don’t do that, so I highly recommend doing that, particularly in the corner.

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See where there is no adhesive–glue that!


Step two: measure in 4 inches from the side of the sealed envelope and mark it for a cutting line. Then cut the envelope on that mark so you end up with an envelope “pocket”. You can do the same with the other end.

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Step three: measure 1/2 inch on the 3 closed sides of the envelope and make a couple of small pencil marks. Do not mark the open end.

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Step four: On your 1/2 inch marks, fold each of the three sides. Unfold and then refold on that same measurement the opposite direction. You will need to do this several times so you have a nice, hard crease.

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Step five: using the open end, start to pull the envelope open into a square. You may need to use your hand in the open end to help shape it. When you are done you’ll have two triangles at the bottom.

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You can use a bit of adhesive to glue those triangles to the bottom–and voila, you have a bag!

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You can decorate the bag however you like, if you choose to do so at all. You can also make different size bags by using different sized envelopes as well as changing the measurements for your fold lines. Glue ribbons on for handles. The possibilities are endless. Experiment, it can be fun!

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Looks like someone had fun at the bakery, doesn’t it?!?!?! 🙂
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American Girl “Doll Dining” Activity Book Review

I’ve never purchased any of the American Girl activity books. I’ve looked at a couple of them when I’ve been at Michael’s, but never took the plunge. Back in March I was ordering some of the sale items from American Girl and I decided to buy this since at that time it was only $5. It is regularly $21.99, I have a hunch they were trying to clear out some excess inventory in anticipation of the Truly Yours launch coming in May as they will more than likely change the covers on these. At $21.99 I think it’s probably a little overpriced, but at $5–that’s a steal!

Here’s what it looks like when you get it:
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First off: The book!  This book is full of all sorts of great ideas, some using the included materials and others using basic craft items and other things.  I love this little book, it has so many great ideas in it for aspiring doll restaunteurs.

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First thing you see in the supplies is a sheet that shows you all of the included items, some paper plates and an adorable order pad!

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Lots of paper supplies: open/closed signs, placemats, napkin rings–everything you need to get started.  It also is nice to have this as a sizing guideline if you wanted to make your own out of scrapbooking paper.

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I LOVE these–boxes!!!  Also some gift cards, debit cards, etc.  I intend on copying these on to cardstock to make more before I start cutting these up so I can have lots and lots of boxes!

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Menu’s and signs to decorate with.

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A “Name Your Restaurant” game (FUN!) and a template to make aprons from! 🙂

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More signs, money and coupons as well as folders to put the “bill” in.

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Stickers you can use to make food with (instructions in book) and some others for decorating.

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A nice large sheet of tissue paper to make a chef’s hat.  Instructions also in book and the band for the hat is included in the paper supplies pictured above.

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After going through all of that, you get to the bottom of the package–check it out!  An easel, some bags and a second order pad! 🙂

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The board for the easel is dry erase on one side and chalkboard on the other, very clever!

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Love the little bags and the order pads, aren’t they cute?!  I may scan the order pad into my computer so I can make loose sheets from it and not have to tear these apart.  Just adorable!!!

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I am so glad I decided to take a chance on this set.  I don’t know that I would have if I hadn’t been working on the Broke Girl Bakery.  Well worth the $5 I paid and I think a lot of play value, even at the regular price of $21.99.  I don’t remember if they had this at Michael’s, but if they did, you could get it cheaper with one of their 40% or 50% off coupons.  I definitely will be trying some of the other activity books, I hope they are as nice as this one. Have you purchased any of the American Girl activity books? If so, which ones, and what did you think?