A great find–just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Something I’ve been thinking a lot about over the past year is finishing up some specific doll collections.  In other words, perusing Ebay and other secondary market sources to get items that I maybe missed out on when they were originally out, but wished I’d picked up.

I have more Grace Thomas items than any other GOTY, her collection is by far my favorite.  But I am missing two outfits and I was missing one of the play sets that I was regretting not buying.  Keyword is WAS.  I was super excited to see this item pop up on Facebook Marketplace and not all that far from where I lived.  A few texts later, plans were made to meet up and next thing I knew, it was in my hands.  Yay!!

So…what was it???

Grace’s Pastry Cart!  Here is the pic from when it came out:

When this was initially introduced, it was $150.  So you can imagine how pleased I was to get it for $50, and with almost all of the pieces included and in terrific condition!

There were only 5 items missing–The bell that hangs from the top, the paper menu booklet, the clear plastic piece that fits over the cupcake box, business cards and the small shelf that attaches.  I can see how many of these pieces could easily be lost as they are small.  The shelf–it seems to be a frequently missing piece on this item when looking at them on Ebay, so it must not stay attached very well.  Unfortunately it’s the only piece I haven’t come up with a really good solution to, but I worked around it.

Here are photos of all of the pieces that were included.  When I picked it up, I asked the woman why they were getting rid of it.  She said that it had belonged to her 10 year old daughter and she never played with it.  I could tell by the condition of everything, all I really had to do was clean the dust off all of it.

Not only did the two loaves of bread come with it, but there was a bonus loaf as well!

This is the cupcake and box that was missing a cover.

It even included all the stickers for the menu board, I just didn’t take a picture.

I’m not sure exactly how many dollar bills were supposed to be included, but it’s not a big deal as I have other sets that have money with them if I want more.

Another bonus in the box was this AG balloon!

So after some thought, I came up with a plan.  I decided to run to Michaels to get a replacement bell (I now have an entire bag!) and I wrapped the cupcake without a package in plastic wrap from a cut up sandwich bag.  I liked it so much I decided to do it with a few other baked items I had.  I scrounged through all of my food items and pulled out some more pieces that related to a bakery theme, found a printable on another blog to make some boxes…did some cutting and folding, and I was set!  In fact, I liked this item so much after I was done, I decided that this would just be part of my living room décor for a while!

A close up of a well stocked bakery cart:

Then I decided it was missing something–an apron!  I had the perfect one in my stash of doll goodies.  TaDa!!

Mimi is hoping to do a lot of business today!

I was thrilled to get this item at first and now that I’ve had it sitting out for a bit, I’m even happier.  It’s really a cute piece and has a lot of potential for future ideas I have.  Once in a while things work out!   Now to go in search of the two Grace outfits I’m missing at a reasonable price…

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

“One thing…one thing, leads to ano-o-o-other…”

Sorry I had to quote the band The Fixx there, but it just seemed so appropriate for this post. Why, you ask? Well, this is one of those things that started out as one thing, then turned into an idea that led to something else–you get the idea. To start, one of my favorite blogs is Refashionista. Jillian who writes it is incredibly talented and can literally take the worlds worst thrift store clothing find, and turn it into something absolutely amazing. Inspiration enough for someone who sews, but for someone who sews and shops at thrift stores–downright dangerous! Hats off to you Jillian for inspiring me, even if it was just for the dolls. 🙂

Last week I had a trip to Walmart, and of course I had to go check out the infants clothing section to see if they had anything that would work for the girls. Sure enough, I found this!
one thing 1
Cute, huh?! Typical 3 piece set which I’ve purchased before. Fits great, and as usual, my first thought was cut the Onesie off to make it into a shirt. Then I got to looking at it and thought it looked a bit like the new top to the Sightseeing Outfit they made for Grace Thomas, just polka dots instead of stripes. That got me to thinking…wouldn’t that be cute with a fluffy white skirt. I almost headed to Joann Fabrics, when I suddenly remembered something I’d bought last summer!
one thing 2
I bought this off the clearance rack at Target, thinking it might fit a doll. It didn’t. I even washed it thinking it might shrink since it was all cotton. All I got for my trouble was a wrinkly mess and a dress that was now coming apart!!!  Grrrrrr…
one thing 3
Because of the way it was made, I needed to do some thinking on it before I altered it, so I shoved it in my sewing stash and promptly forgot about it. Glad I remembered it. So what next? Time to do some cutting! I cut the skirt section away from the top.
one thing 4

The next steps I can’t really explain completely because it was literally a “make it up as you go along” kind of thing.  First thing I did was repair where the ruffle was coming off, that was super easy.  Then I took a piece of white fabric and cut a long strip of it 2 inches wide.  I pressed it, folded it in half and pressed it again, then folded one of the open sides under 1/4 inch and pressed that down again for the entire length.  I sewed the unfolded side to the skirt sewing it right on top of the top row of the ruffle to cover the open stitching.  (The top of the ruffle wasn’t technically “finished” since in the original dress it would be covered by the ruffle above it.) I attached the two pieces together at the back now that I knew where it fit, cut the excess off, then I folded the part that I had pressed under 1/4 inch over this and top stitched it, leaving an opening at the back for elastic.  Inserted the elastic, sewed up the opening and voila!  I had a skirt.  Clear as mud, huh? I apologize for that lousy description, but sometimes when you’re creating as you sew, you don’t think about taking pics, and to be honest, I wasn’t 100% sure how well it was going to work.

So here is what the Grace outfit looks like: (like any of you probably need reminding, duh)

sightseeing outfit
Since Alya looks the most like Grace of any of my dolls, I asked her if she would mind modeling for me. She was really in to it, even braided her hair like Grace’s. The finished product:
one thing 5
Here is a close up so you can see that the skirt even has flocked polka dots on it, I’d forgotten all about that until I dug it out!
one thing 6
She really got into the whole modeling thing:
one thing 7    one thing 8

So after I was finished, this was still sitting on the dining room table:

one thing 9
I thought it would be easy to turn into something now without the skirt, until I noticed something…

one thing 10
ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t believe I did that. Yes I can. Quit laughing! I guess it will go back into the stash box until I come up with some idea for it. I have a few already, you know I won’t be happy until I’ve come up with something!

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?