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.)

A surprise for Allie and Christine

This week “school” was at Mimi’s house.  The three houses are all side by side on the same street, so it’s super convenient for the kids to get from house to house (and will be an ever bigger plus once we get snow).  They start at 8AM and work until around 2.  Since everyone is doing virtual learning, the teachers have worked it out so it’s more intensive but they get done a little bit earlier.  Before they left for Mimi’s house, Allie and Christine’s mom told them to get home immediately because there was going to be a BIG surprise for them.  They had no idea what it might be, but they were both excited.

Once they walked in the front door, their mom said “go look in the family room”.  They were really surprised when they saw this:

“OH MY GOSH, A GRAND PIANO!!!!”

The girls immediately ran over.  “Is it really ours?”

“Yes girls, it’s for the whole family but since you are both learning to play, we thought it would be nice to have.  This nice man your dad knows is getting ready to move to Virginia and he can’t take it with him.  He was happy to find a good home for it.  He used to be a music teacher and he’s moving in with his son and his family and there just wasn’t going to be enough room for it.”

“I’ll put the lid up, wow, it’s heavy!”

“Let me put the music stand up on it.  This is awesome!”

“Hang on, I’ll go grab some of our lesson books!”

“I grabbed one for you too Christine.  I can hardly wait to try it!”

Allie sat down and started to play “Ode To Joy” out of her lesson book.

“WOW!  It sounds great!  Okay Christine, your turn to try it out!”

“Let’s see, I know what I’ll play!  Something easy to start.”

“That sounds really good too! It sounds a whole lot different standing here beside the strings.”

“This is going to be so much fun!”

The girls insisted that their mom take a photo of them with their new piano!

Now they are looking forward to having school at their house so that Wendy, Alex and Mimi can try it out too!

__________________________________________________________________

This piano has been on my wish list for some time.  I already have Melody’s electric piano, but I always thought if I ever came across a good deal on the grand piano, I’d add it to my collection.  Thank heavens for Facebook Market place!  I found it literally in the “back yard” of where my sister-in-law lives–and only $40!  This version of the grand piano retailed for $150 and was discontinued several years ago.  When I went to pick it up I asked why they were getting rid of it, another case of kids outgrowing their toys and space at a premium.  Hey, I’m fine with that!

It has three songs it plays and I was so excited that one of the three is “Fur Elise” by Beethoven, that has been my go to song when trying out a piano for years.  The keys also work just like a real piano.  On the side is the on/off switch and volume control buttons.  

The lid comes off of the bench for storage.  It included both books and a certificate, everything that would have been included in the original package.  I was thrilled with the condition and the price, I think I got a really great deal on this and I can cross another item off my “wish” list!

I think I need to stay off Facebook Marketplace now LOL! 

 

Foosball or Billiards? Pick Your Poison!

I’ve been waiting since late January to write this post.  Why?  Well, because what I have to show you is something I got on clearance then and I didn’t want to show it to everyone and then have people not be able to find it.  Now you’re curious, right?

I stopped at Rite Aid for something and they still had a little bit of leftover Christmas stock.  It was all marked down 75%.  Of course I had to look, and I was super excited when I saw both of these still in the bin:

 

These are those little desktop pool and foosball sets that they sell every year around Christmas along with other little desk accessories that nobody really needs.  As you can see, the regular price on these sets was $14.99 and at 75% off, I got them each for $3.75!  I deliberately held off writing about them until now, I figure anyone who wants to pick these up might find them now, or if you are super patient, you might score a deal like I did!

We’ll look at the foosball table first.  It’s very well done and works pretty much just like a real foosball table.  The “field” is even a flocked material.

It comes with two metal balls for play.

I set it up on Melody’s table so you can get an idea of the size on it.

Mimi and Wendy are ready to play!

If you score a goal, it sits down in an open area in the base.  To retrieve the ball, you have to either fish around or lift the table up and it falls through the opening at either end.

Now for the pool/billiards table!

It is also flocked so it resembles a real table.  The hole openings are angled so that when a ball goes in, it automatically rolls down the chute and out a hole at the end of the table.

A full set of balls.  I wish they had been a bigger assortment of colors so they were much more like a real set.  They at least painted one black as the 8 ball and the silver ball I’m assuming is the cue ball.

With the rack and a pair of cue sticks, you’re ready to play!

The cue sticks are a little short, and trying to figure out how to make it look realistic with a doll was just about impossible!  I tried though.

I haven’t decided exactly where these are going to be used, the gang needs a game room now!  Definitely a fun bargain find though.

Have you found anything cool lately?  (I know it’s hard at the moment given the circumstances.  Ugh.)