Making Do With What You Have

I don’t know about you, but I love Kira’s accessories.  So many cute sets and I picked up several not too long ago.  However, when I buy doll stuff, I try (but don’t always succeed) to buy items that I can get multiple uses out of.  An item that I can only use for one or two doll shoots to me is not worth the effort it takes to try and store it, let alone the expense.  Two things in Kira’s collection fall into this category, although I still may break down and buy the one if the price is right on it as it’s not a huge item.  The other, no, as cute as it is, I don’t want the hassle of storing it:

I think Kira’s tent is very cute, but I really don’t need another large piece to have to store, I’m having enough trouble with the Surf Van and the piano!  Plus, for what I do, the use of it would be somewhat limited.  Then it dawned on me…

Why not do my own version with what I have???

After I thought about it a bit, I realized that I had a number of things that would work for this project, so I got to work.  A trip to Dollar Tree prior to me even thinking of this yielded a few fun things that I cannot only use for this project, but several other ideas I have as well.  For me, that is always a plus.

So here goes.  Warning in advance, this post is going to be long and photo heavy, but you’ll understand why I’m sure.

A while back I had an idea to make a club house, but it never really got off the ground.  No real reason other than too many distractions!  I took a piece of MDF cut 24 inches x 24 inches, painted the edges brown, glued some blocks to the bottom to raise it up off the ground and then used 12 x 12 inch self stick vinyl tiles to add a floor to it.  This piece has actually come in handy and can be used for a multitude of purposes, ranging from a stage to a room extension, etc.  It weighs a ton though and my husband and I have both accidentally kicked it more times than I care to think about, oops.  It is now up on a shelf out of the way when it’s not in use!

 

(excuse the backdrop of my dining room wall, it’s not very Australian, but it’s February in Pennsylvania, I’ll be darned if I am dragging this outside)

Then I grabbed my Our Generation Beach House.  Not only was the space about right on it, but my “tent” was going to have some modern conveniences!  I set it on the platform and we were set to go.  (Yes, I did do some measuring before I started this to make sure it was going to work.)

I set the little table outside, never know where you might be able to use that!

And added my Journey Girls folding beach chair! (I still regret not buying that second set…)

To make this work, I decided that the bed would need to be opened on this.  Anyone else who has this set knows what a nightmare this thing is to get back into place when you do this, so it wasn’t going to be an option to switch back and forth,  it was either opened or closed with something else for a bed.  Then I realized that my old American Girl sleeping bag was the perfect width for bedding!  Opened it is!

Now it was time for some crafting!  I had an assortment of parts that I had picked up at Dollar Tree, I spent $11.  At the time I bought these items, I had absolutely no idea what I would use them for!

I also had a package of these wooden pieces I’d bought for another idea I had.  And Sticky Tack.  Great stuff for projects that you want to hold together, but not permanently!

In my bundle of goodies from the Dollar Tree haul, I had these nifty wooden pieces, they called them pallets.

And 4 wooden crates!

As well as 4 things also called pallets, these really did look like mini pallets.

I took three of the crates and stacked them, making a storage area for toiletries, towels, etc.

I then took the pallets and attached two of them together, made two sets of these.  They made great railings for the “tent”!  They were also remarkably sturdy and stayed together really well with just the Sticky Tack.

I wish I could say the same about the steps…I got some pics, and a few days later, they collapsed.  The insurance underwriter would not have been pleased with this shoddy workmanship.  And I decided we didn’t really need steps, these are young dolls who can jump and climb.

I took the two “not” pallets and set them on top of the remaining crate to make a table, perfect!

I really wanted to reproduce the wall decor in the tent just to make it feel a bit more like we were in Australia.  I did some digging around online and found this nice picture of “Wild Flowers of Australia”.  It isn’t identical, but it is very similar to the one in the AG tent.  I then played around with it and resized it in my printing program and printed it out on white paper.  (Please feel free to “borrow” this, but you will need to resize it for your particular program.  Please don’t ask me how because all programs are different.  I used Paint Shop Pro.)

When I printed it, I left a bunch of the white paper at the top because I knew that I wanted to attach this to something in particular.  I then cut it at an angle to make it easier to assemble without having to worry about lining things up.  I cut a kebob skewer the length I needed, just slightly longer than the width of my paper.

Then I used Super Sticky Tape on the backside of the angular part of the paper.  Set the skewer on the paper and folded the paper over so it all stuck together and held the skewer firmly in place.

   

I used some thin ribbon, tied it to the ends of the skewer.  Voila!

It worked great, I hung it from the existing hook in the “tent”.

Another item I wanted to recreate was the photos hanging, this was super simple.  I used a piece of ribbon, tied a loop knot in one end and then used some of the mini clothespins I already had.  The postcards/photos from Kira’s accessory set were perfect for this!

Looped it over the end of one of the oars, and we were in business!

The next thing I wanted to do was make my own version of the camping accessories set.  (Thus, my lamenting not having bought a second Journey Girls beach set…)  I already had a number of the items or something similar.  However, the fairy bread was presenting a problem…for a few minutes anyhow.  If you’ve read the reviews, there is one that says the fairy bread design is simply a sticker.  Hmmm…to the laptop!  I did some searches for some good photos of fairy bread and this is what I ended up with.  (again, feel free to borrow, just NO SIZING QUESTIONS!)

I resized it so it was the right size proportions to fit the existing doll toast I had and printed it out twice.

Using the garlic toast I had already from the lasagna set, I traced the shape onto my printouts.  Cut it out, adjusting a bit to fit.

Here is the final result!

The lemonade and the “wicker” plates are from two Our Generation sets I had, the plant (which is just out of view) is one that is usually in Mimi’s room, a gift from Xyra.  The fruit bowls are AG from another set (I can’t remember which one though!).  The fairy bread stickers are simply held on with Sticky Tack.

I added a small square mirror to the top of the stacked crates and then dug around in my stash of stuff to find some toiletries and towels.

Some more digging…little Bean was all set!!

I used the bolster from the sofa up against the wall, it can be laid down as a pillow.  This piece is one of the most poorly thought out things in the beach house set, I’m glad I at least have something to use it for!  And I added the throw pillows.

Added Kira’s hat and backpack.  Lea’s camera on the counter and a little lantern I found several months ago while out shopping.  I think we are all set!

I did buy some netting that I was going to use for this, but then decided it was more hassle than it was worth.  I’ll hang on to it, maybe I’ll come up with some fabulous idea for it, fortunately it was really cheap.

Overall, I think this turned out really well and it was fun to do!  The only things I purchased just for this project were the stuffed koala’s (which I mentioned before in my “Meet Kira” post).  Everything else was stuff I had on hand already and just repurposed for this project, or the few items I had to craft.  Have you made any of your own Kira items?   I still may buy the camping accessory set, I think it would be perfect to have the two folding chairs and the short table to go with the surf van and you can never have too much doll food, can you?? (That’s a rhetorical question…I think.)

My Life As Camping Accessories

Since I’ve been trying to stay out of stores for the most part, I haven’t seen much of the recent My Life As sets.  However, a friend nicely gifted me several of them for Christmas (THANK YOU AGAIN!) and this one is really one of the cutest MLA sets I think I’ve ever seen.  She said since I had the surf van and the camper, she thought I needed this.  I did!

My Life As sets are really a good deal for the price, most of these carded sets run right around $8 and if you are lucky enough to find them on clearance, you might get them even cheaper.

First off, a nice selection of cooing utensils.  The only thing that I couldn’t figure out is why no silverware?  I guess we’re eating with our fingers, and we only have one set.  They’ve been to the AG school of marketing… 😂😂😂

 

The little cookstove is very well done, just like a real one, it all folds up neatly.

When you open it up, you can see all the details!  I love the legs underneath that unfold and the side “wings” to prevent the wind from blowing your flame out.  I am wondering why they didn’t include a little faux bottle of fuel, but that will be easy enough to make, I just have to remember to save a used lip balm container!

Typical camp food!

I like that the bacon, eggs and pancake all fit on the griddle.

My favorite part of the whole set is the carton of eggs, this alone would cost $8 from AG!

But these eggs are special…they actually come apart!!!

Isn’t that clever?  They are a bit of a nightmare to re-assemble though.  Here it looks like someone was either making a quiche or an omelet, doesn’t it?

Very cute set that I highly recommend for anyone who loves camping and camping equipment for their dolls! Just remember to bring some additional silverware.

Queen’s Treasures Step Back Cupboard

Just before Christmas, my husband won a $50 Amazon gift card through his job.  He handed it to me and said I could use it for “whatever”.  It sat on the table for a couple of weeks, I figured I’d save it until I came across just the right thing.  About a week into the new year, I was looking at some of the Queen’s Treasures furniture pieces.  I’d always admired the cupboard, but didn’t feel like spending that much money on it.  But…I had a $50 gift card…AND it was on sale!! Win/Win!!! Always good when you get a nice doll furniture piece for less than $20.

I was kind of nervous about it, I’d never ordered any of their items and since it was through Amazon, I didn’t know how well it would be packaged.  This was a heavy piece and when the box arrived, I kind of held my breath.  Let me just say that The Queen’s Treasures does a great job of packaging this item, I hope they do this much with all of their furniture pieces.

Once out of the box, I was so happy I decided to order this item.  It’s really a quality piece and rivals any of the wood items made by American Girl.

The drawers are a nice size and have catches on them so you don’t have to worry about them just falling out.  If you angle them, they can be completely removed.

Plenty of cupboard space!  The only thing I wish was a little different was that maybe one of the dividers was open so you could store bigger pieces.

A shot of the back and a side view.  There is no plastic on this piece anywhere.

I asked Wendy to come stand beside it for a size comparison:

And then she added the birthday set to it so you can see how much storage space it has!

I LOVE this piece, it is so nice and has so much versatility.  You could use it in the obvious places of dining room or kitchen, but also in a family room/living room as a bookcase!  I can’t wait to come up with a space where I can put it to good use.  Mimi has been laying hints about her bedroom, but I don’t think so!