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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Doll Size Easter Candy

This week I thought it would be fun to make some various candies for the dolls to enjoy in their Easter Baskets. There are so many different candies in the stores and I had a really hard time deciding on just 4. Maybe next year we can make some other kinds, let me know if you would like that.

So I decided to start off with a chocolate Easter Bunny. I mean how could I not make a big old chocolate bunny? This one is super easy because I found some little glitter covered Styrofoam bunnies at the dollar store. They are a little bit on the plump side but I figured since chocolate bunnies in real life come in all shapes and sizes they would work just fine. I love that all they require is a bit of painting. I think these might be a fun project to do with kids too.

The first step for these bunnies was to add a handle to them using a wooden skewer from the kitchen. This allowed me to paint the entire bunny at one time and not make a mess. The first coat I used was Gesso, I think this step is important for a couple of reasons mostly to cover the glitter so the texture wouldn't ruin the finished look of our bunnies. The other main reason was to anchor that glitter down so it wouldn't flake off in the future. Use whatever color of brown craft paint you have that looks like chocolate. Just be sure that all the products you use on the bunnies are water based (just check that it cleans up with soap and water) and that it is brush on. If you remember these two things you shouldn't have to worry about the foam the bunnies are made from melting. I did cover my paint with a satin clear finish to make it look more like chocolate. Unfortunately I got some bubbles in my finish, blowing on the wet finish helps to take off some but I still have some showing if you look closely.

The next candy project was a bag of “Mini Eggs” for this I used a printable from Ann Venture's site Paper Minis (click here to go to Ann's site) This particular printie is one of the ones that is available for free if you subscribe to Ann's newsletter. It is really worth checking out, she has wonderful printies on her site. I like to fill the candy bag with some small cheap beads so it sounds and feels like it has candy inside. Totally optional but so fun. 


Our next candy also used one of Ann's free printables- Peeps! I know that a lot of kids love those things. The printie is for pink ones so that is what I made. One option here is to use the peep filler piece in your box like I did for the bunny shaped ones and then you don't even have to touch any clay! If you want to make some Peeps out of clay I do recommend using the Model Magic from Crayola. It works so nicely for projects like this and it stays just a bit squishy, just like the real thing. I did have some problems getting my pink color the way I wanted it. My set of chalk didn't have the perfect pink so I mixed purple with my bright pink. I really think if I had used the light purple instead of the dark one it would have been really close to perfect. I decided to leave in the color I did use, it is still cute and you can learn from my mistakes too.

For our last candy I decided to make some of the foil wrapped chocolates. Those were always the biggest hit with my kids. I show you how to make both the flat egg shaped kind and the actual egg shaped ones. You can make yours whatever size you want. I like to use the foil from the real candy but it can be a pain to remove sometimes so I showed you an alternative by making some with some regular aluminum foil and some Sharpie markers. Just use a bit of rubbing alcohol to mix the colors. 


For the photos I am using a really sweet basket from a pattern that the nice ladies at Lee & Pearl gave out to their newsletter subscribers. I am told  they will have the free pattern available through the end of this year here is the link to their site  so you subscribe to their newsletter to get this along with another free pattern plus lots of really cool ideas. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Doll Size Mugs

This week we are going to get to play with some polymer clay! I had so much fun with this project that it was hard to stop playing long enough to make the video. LOL

I filmed this video on Sunday to upload for you to see on Monday, I really try to have the videos done a few days ahead so I am confident that you will get a video on schedule. This week I do admit that I played with the mugs a few too many days but I thought it would be okay since I knew I had Saturday completely free to film. I did film a video that day but it was one of those days that everything went wrong. I should have stopped early in the day and looked at the problems but instead I went on trying to fix it as I went along. It didn't work and it was very late in the day when I figured out what I had done in the beginning that had set me up to fail. I am hoping you can learn from this mistake so you don't make the same ones.

I had been planning to make mugs for a while but just hadn't gotten around to it until this last week. I dug through my stash of wood pieces and found a 1” diameter wood dowel and convinced my son to cut off a couple of pieces of it for me. I knew he would do a better job of getting a straight cut than I would. He of course wanted an exact measurement on how long I wanted the pieces. I didn't have one I told him anywhere from 2” to 3” long. He hates when I don't have an exact measurement, but he is used to me by now so he just split the range in half and cut them 2 ½” long. He did a really good job getting them cut too even though neither of us wanted to walk all the way out to the barn to use the power saw. He just cut them with the little branch trimming saw I keep in the house. I tell you this so you know you don't need any fancy equipment to cut this, just get them cut straight (or as close as you can)

I did find after my first try at making a mug that wrapping the dowel pieces with a piece of parchment paper was really important. I didn't do this on the first one and ended up cutting it up to get it off my dowel. After I wrapped the dowels in parchment paper I no longer had problems with the clay sticking. I did just glue the parchment to itself and not to the dowel. I think it helps in the process of removing the mug.

The other thing you need to prepare before you make your mugs is the strip of paper (cut 1 ¼” by the width of the paper)  that I wrapped around the mug to cut the top edge. I tried several different ways of measuring this area to cut it and this worked the best. I first tried to cut the strip of clay before I wrapped it around the dowel but found that the process of getting the seam in the clay to disappear made the top edge crooked. I tried using my ruler to measure but it was really hard to juggle the ruler, the dowel with the clay on it, and the knife to trim the clay. The paper wrap was an idea of desperation and it works really well.

Now onto yesterday's disaster of a taping day. I decided to make a yellow and orange marbled color like I repeated today for the video. The first big mistake I made was to pick a yellow clay that was just too soft. You see I saw a package of Lemonade color by Sculpey III. It is such a pretty yellow and it went with the orange clay so nicely that I used it. I should have known better. The soft nature of the clay caused a bunch of problems that plagued me all day. First off it wouldn't stay up straight on the dowel, it almost slumped down. I had a huge problem getting the sides of the mug to be straight vertically. Then it kept picking up fingerprints every time I touched it. Of course the more I worked with it trying to fix the issues the softer it got. The fact that my lights that I use to tape videos give off heat didn't help that issue at all either. Next I could not get the top of the mug to be straight. I measured several times but because every time I put pressure on the sides of the mug the that area squished up a bit the top edge looked like a roller coaster track.

I finally got the mug to a point where I was willing to bake it then when I tried to take it off the dowel the handle snapped off! Another fault of the soft nature of the clay.

So please learn from my mistakes and stick to a firmer clay. Both Fimo and Premo worked just fine for me.

Now let's talk about the colors I used in each mug:


Today's yellow/ orange marble- Fimo Mandarin Orange and Premo!
Cadmium Yellow.




Blue marble- Fimo Windsor Blue and Fimo Translucent Blue


Purple marble- unfortunately I don't remember what colors I used for this one. I thought I had left the clay out but I must have put them away.

Green with the Today is the day message- Fimo white then when it was baked I sponge painted some Ceramacoat Leaf Green on the the edges and handle. (I also painted the inside of the cup) then I glued on the little phrase that I had cut from some card making paper. Then I clear coated just like the other mugs.


Pink one- Body of the mug is Fimo Raspberry, the band and handle is made of
Fimo White and Fimo Black


The two brownish mugs are just made from clay from my scrap clay bag. Typically you will get a brownish color when you mix misc colors together.


To make these mugs look like ceramic instead of polymer clay I gave them a nice coat of Triple Thick. I do love this product for this purpose.

So there you have a fairly easy polymer clay project for you to do for your dolls.

Remember like so many projects this one has so many possibilities for decorating. Just look at mugs in your kitchen, in stores and online for inspiration. The sky really is the limit. You can paint these, use clay to make designs, add decals, add paper cutouts, whatever your imagination leads you.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Cupcakes for 18” Dolls

This week I am going to show you how to create some wonderfully cute cupcakes with the mold I got from Stewart Dollhouse Creations (click here for the website and here for a direct link to the mold I am using)

I was so happy to find out that Ruth had added this mold to her line of molds because I had been trying to come up with a mold on my own for cupcakes for a while and wasn't having very much luck with it. I have found that some foods, like cupcakes are just so much easier to make with a mold. I have purchased several molds in the past from different dealers and I have made a lot of my own over the years too.

This mold is actually dual purpose depending on which scale you work in. For our 18” dolls it is a cupcake (although a small one) and for 1/12th scale dollhouses it is one of those giant cupcake shaped cakes.

The mold itself if made of a silicone so you can bake clay directly in the mold if you desire. I do prefer to bake more than one at a time so I pop mine out of the mold.

Just like any other product or kit the first step should be to read the directions and make sure you understand them. I do stray from the directions on the video a tiny bit simply because I want my cupcakes to have a slightly domed top just like the ones from my real kitchen. In the directions you are told to cut off the clay even with the top of the mold. It is a small difference and it is totally up to you which way you do yours. The advantage of the cutting the top off is you don't have fiddle around figuring out how big of a ball of clay you need to make your cupcakes. I find after a couple of tries I was able to judge the amount of clay I needed pretty easily.

After the cupcakes are formed I like to texture the top gently with a toothbrush. This makes them look a little more like a real cupcake, I also used some golden yellow chalk to give the top edges a baked look. I didn't add the chalk to the base since I wanted to color my bases to look like they had cupcake wrappers on them.

As for flavors I only made two this time: a white cake- made with Fimo Vanilla and a chocolate made with Premo! Burnt Umber. You can of course make yours any flavor you think your dolls would like. Just look online if you are lacking ideas.

Since these are rather thick they will need to bake for about 30 minutes. Use the temperature listed on your clay packages.

After baking allow your cupcakes to cool completely before the next steps.

Since I wanted to paint on my paper cupcake liners that was my next step. I just used some acrylic craft paint and a small stiff flat brush. Just go slow and you will be fine. It might take a few coats to cover the clay color especially on the chocolate ones.

Next we get to frost and decorate them! Again if you are lacking for ideas just look online at photos of real cupcakes. There are so many ideas out there since cupcakes are so popular right now.

I used my favorite frosting on the video- caulking from the hardware store. I always get the kind that can be painted in case I want to color the frosting for some projects.

To color the frosting just add in a small amount of acrylic paint, I used the kind in the small tubes this time and it works so much better than the craft paint I have used in the past. Just be warned it just takes a tiny bit.

To apply the caulking you can either spread it on (I like to use a toothpick) or you can pipe it on. If you are piping on the white caulking you can just tape the decorating tip directly onto the tube. If you want to pipe out the caulking you have colored just make use a small plastic bag just like you would for real frosting.

To further decorate our cupcakes we can add several types of sprinkles. The tiny micro marbles (also sometime called no hole beads) are really cute and can be found in the craft store. You can also use a tiny hole punch (1/16th “) to punch out multiple colors of colored cardstock. This is also cute for holidays if you have tiny hole punches in different shapes.

If you want to have the look of decorator sugar use some fine glitter or some sand. The glitter looks more real in this scale but use which ever you have.

You can also add swirls of chocolate or other “syrups” by using some of the Scribbles 3-D fabric paints in the appropriate colors.

These are just so fun and somewhat addictive to both make and decorate.

Here are close ups of the different cupcakes I made this week. I would love to see what you do be sure to send me a photo if you make some cupcakes.

pink frosting with pink glitter

chocolate frosting with paper sprinkles and white glitter

white frosting (piped with a #5 tip) paper sprinkles, red microbeads, and red glitter

pink frosting , micro beads

chocolate frosting

white frosting (piped with #5 tip) micro beads, paper sprinkles and red glitter

white frosting (piped with #21 tip) paper sprinkles and white glitter

purple frosting (piped with #5 tip) white craft sand

purple frosting with white craft sand

white frosting (piped with #21 tip) Christmas Red Scribbles paint, white glitter

white frosting (piped with #21 tip) Hot Chocolate Scribbles paint, and white glitter

pink frosting with paper sprinkles

Also if you buy one of these molds let Ruth know you saw the video and blog.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Seattle Trip Haul

Since my main reason for going to Seattle was to attend the Dollhouse Show let's start with the item I got there that can be used for the 18” dolls. One of the my very favorite dealers at the show is Ruth Stewart of Stewart Dollhouse Creations. Ruth creates and sells some really nice silicone molds for use with polymer clay. I first found her last year at the Seattle show and fell in love with the items I got from her then. This year she was one of the first tables I visited since I knew she had a couple of dollhouse scale items I wanted. I was so happy to discover that they are beginning to make items for the 18” dolls too! I was able to get her cupcake mold at the show and ordered one more mold that she will be mailing to me as soon as she gets home from the show. When it arrives I will post a blog about it.  I really recommend you go over and see what all she has even though most of her items are smaller scale she is starting to add our scale too.

One place that was really high on my list of places to go on this trip was the American Girl Store. I had never been to one before and I wasn't going to let the chance slip away from me. I was a good girl though and kept my purchases in line. I only got a few things and I love each one.

I got this cute set of plates and mugs, won't those look cute with some of the foods I show you all how to make? And honestly I have been wanting to get my hands on some mugs so I could double check the size. I do plan to show a couple of different methods of making out own mugs soon. 



I also got the store t-shirt, I love the new design with all the sparkle.


Since I have wanted to read Kaya's books since I first saw her I picked up the set with all 3 of her books too. You see, back when I was growing up I loved whenever we got to study the local Native American people. Kaya's story takes place in what is now the state of Washington so I am super excited about it.

I spent just enough to get the opportunity to purchase the special outfit they were offering so I decided to go ahead and get it. I think it is really cute especially with spring on the way.

The other stop we made on the way home was to Hobby Lobby. I know a lot of you can drop in any time but for me it is a drive of between 100 and 150 miles so I had to stop. I got a couple of things that I am sure will show up in some tutorials over the next few months.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Visit to the Seattle American Girl Store

I decided to post the photos as both a blog post and a YouTube slide show. I wasn't sure which way would be easier for people.

I know there are a lot of photos but this was my first visit to an AG store I didn't want to miss anything. LOL

Sorry if the quality is not the best I just used my cell phone since I was afraid I would set my camera down somewhere if I got distracted.