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Thursday, April 30, 2015

April Sewing

I actually got a little bit of time to sew and 

The dress I ended up sewing and what I got the fabric for are two entirely different outfits. LOL

I had initially been planning to make the Easter Dress that was given free to my doll sewing group for the March sew-along and that is what I had in mind when I got the fabrics. However, the day I had time to cut out the fabric fell during the week that my printer decided it was no longer going to function at all. So I went through my collection of patterns and found a dress pattern that I thought would look cute. I got as far as cutting the fabric for the dress cut out and then real life got in the way once again and the pieces laid on my table waiting for me to get back to it. This all happened in mid March.

Fast forward to this month when I finally had time to sew! The dress pattern that I cut out called for rickrack which I didn't have and there was no way I was going to put off sewing this any longer. I decided to cut strips of some floral fabric I had purchased a while ago, fold it in half and add in place of the rick rack. Kind of like I might add a band onto the border of a quilt. I like how it looks a lot better than rick rack, which I have never really been a fan of anyway.

For the dress I used Simplicity 1443 but I left off the collar. I had cut out the collar but when I got to the point of adding it I just wasn't liking it at all. Since the bodice is completely lined it wasn't really an issue to leave it off and I think it improves the dress.

I did have a bit of a matching up issue on the skirt back seam, I will probably go back and fix that later but for today it is staying just like it is.

When I got the dress finished I decided I wanted to use more of the floral fabric somewhere and since the dress is sleeveless and we are in Oregon (where the weather is known for being a bit fickle) so I decided that Allison should probably have a light jacket. I looked through my patterns again and found this pattern (Simplicity 3547) for a little jacket/bolero/ shrug/ whatever you want to call it. I love how it looks and it ties the outfit together nicely.

I had planned to make shoes but none of my patterns were what I wanted and I just didn't feel like buying a new pattern today. I dug through my shoe collection and found these cute little ones I got last year at the craft store. I do love these and they go

with almost any spring/summer outfit.

I did decide to make a quick necklace to go with the dress, it is really simple but I hope it adds just the right touch to finish the outfit and dress it up a bit.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Cooking Carrots

Mom said she was really busy tonight and asked if Chelsea and I would please cook the vegetable for dinner. She had bought some nice fresh carrots and suggested we look in the recipe file for her recipe for Glazed Carrots since everyone likes them and they are really easy.

When we got to the kitchen we decided to first have a snack of some baby carrots. Need to make sure we get enough veggies, right??

While I looked for the recipe Chelsea washed some of the carrots in the sink.

Then we had to divide the jobs. We finally decided I would peel and Chelsea would cut the carrots up.

Now it was time to cook the carrots in the pan on the stove. I watched the carrots while Chelsea cleaned up.

Yummmm, they smell and look delicious, I hope dinner is soon now. I wonder what else mom has planned???

Monday, April 27, 2015

Doll Size Licorice Candy

This week I am showing you how to make yet another candy. I know, the dolls are going to get fat at this rate. I do promise to make some healthy food soon. LOL

I got inspired for this week's tutorial because of a huge display of licorice candy my grocery store had the other day. I am not a huge fan of licorice, I mean I did eat some of the ones I bought but it isn't a favorite. However, I love how it looks. There is just something about the red and black twists that I find so pretty.

Another reason for this tutorial was to introduce you to one of my favorite clay tools. I know this thing is ridiculously expensive but if you work with clay as much as I do it is a wonderful tool. This is called a clay extruder. If you are going to break down and buy one go for the style I show in the video. I know there are cheap ones in the stores that don't have the screw type plunger but in all the years I have been doing clay I have yet to find anyone that actually likes those. They are practically impossible to use. Even with really soft clay it takes a tremendous amount of strength to use. I did see a lady on Youtube one time that had figured out a way to use a chalking gun from Home Depot to make the clay come out. I just don't think they are worth the effort. I actually purchase two of those before I gave up. I bought one and had so much trouble with it I figured the one I got was defective so I bought a second one. Nope, not defective just poorly designed. LOL

This Clay Extruder that I have now is so easy to use. Since you screw the handle down to push the clay out it works like a dream. I still try to use a soft clay, this is one of the few places I actually prefer Sculpey III over any other brand.

The Clay Extruder comes with a bunch of design plates and I will be showing you other projects in the future that use some of those. For this one we are going to use a #14 open star icing tip from Wilton, the kind designed to use for cake decorating. I use this tip a lot for both this scale and for my dollhouse foods, it is really handy to have.

As for the clay mixture I am using 5 parts Sculpey III translucent along with 1 part color. For the red ones I used Premo Alizarin Crimson and for the black ones I used Premo Black. I was going to use my Sculpey III Black but I already had this black out so I used it. The two are pretty close to being the same. Just to let you know how far the clay will go, I used about ¼ of a block of the translucent clay with for each color and I got 22 of the red ones and 20 of the black ones.

After extruding my clay I cut it into 2 ½” pieces then twisted them and stuck them to my paper plate to bake. I baked at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. I do prefer to bake any clay mixture that is primarily translucent at a slightly lower temperature than the package states. Sometimes these clays discolor even at the recommended temperature. After cooling enough to handle I cut off the flattened ends and the candy is finished and ready for your dolls to snack on.

Now it is time to clean the Extruder. I use a wooden skewer from the kitchen and a toothpick for most of this. Just go over the areas that clay has been and get off any that is left. I then carefully cleaned the icing tip with the same tools. I also used my new little brush that is made by Wilton for cleaning the tips. I worked really well but I think a chenille stem would probably work just as well.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial be sure to join us on Facebook for the latest news. And be sure to show me pictures of what you are making.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Doll Size Book Collection

This is a long video but I wanted to make sure I showed you how each step goes together. So grab a snack and enjoy watching the books come together.

First I want to thank Ann at Paper Minis for providing the kit so I could show you how to put it together. I do love these kits, as you might have figured out if you have read many of my blogs or watched my videos.

This book set is the latest in the 1/3rd scale kits from Paper Minis and like all the others in this scale it comes to you on a disk so you can print it at home with your own computer and printer. I really do like this format the best since I can re-print a page if I mess up at all. It takes a lot of the stress out of making the printy kits.

With this kit you get to make 4 books that actually open, one is complete with the story so you can read it too. You also get the sleeve that houses the books.

My daughter was (still is actually) a real book worm, she got that from me. She read constantly growing up and her favorite gifts were books. She especially loved to get book sets that came in the sleeve/box like these doll size books do.

In the set we get 4 classic books: Jack and the Beanstalk, The Three Bears, Hey Diddle Diddle and Miss Muffet. The art work is all very nice and vintagy so the set would work with almost any time frame your dolls live in from the turn of the last century to now.

The first thing you will need to do is print off the pages. This is really easy because Ann tells you what kind of paper to use. Some of the pages need to be on cardstock weight and some on regular weight paper. I do keep a ream of the best quality paper I could find on hand for printing out my printies. I also have a collection of other various papers to choose from for the other parts of the kit. This time I used just standard white cardstock from Joann's for the heavy weight parts (the sleeve and the book interfacings)

Just remember to set your printer to print with no borders on all pages so everything will fit together and be the correct size.

I usually let my printies set overnight so I am sure the ink is completely dry even though this is probably not necessary.

Ann has the list of tools you will need to assemble the book set and I use mostly the same things. I do make these my way which I have developed over time and making a lot of printies. I am sure after you assemble some you will find what works for you.

Be sure to score every where that you will be folding, this makes your finished books so much nicer.

The best advice I can give you is just to take your time, read the directions, watch how I did it and practice each step. Try folding all your parts before you add any glue. Know where everything goes and how it goes.

And remember it is just paper, if you mess up go back to the computer and print it off again. 


One thing I do want to mention is to have a good amount of glue stick glue available. I did go through just about an entire glue stick putting together my kit. (I thought you should know so that you would be prepared and not run out)

I love these kits and I hope you do too.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Beautiful Spring Saturday

It was so nice out today I decided to grab a snack, a book, my MP3 player and my skateboard and go enjoy it.

I went to my favorite spot and just sat and read my book and listened to some music for a while. It was so nice to even just sit and listen to the birds.

 I may have even dozed off for a couple of minutes. LOL

After a while I packed my stuff back into my backpack and started off for home.

On the way home I found a nice shady spot to stop and sit down to enjoy my snack. It sure felt good to get out of the hot sun. I can't believe how hot it is today. It was so cold just a couple of weeks ago. 


As I got close to the tree at the end of our road I started to hear a buzzing sound. It kept getting louder and louder. At first I wasn't sure what it was then I realized it was all the bees swarming around the sweet smelling flowers on the tree. They do smell wonderful and they are so pretty to look at too.

I walked the rest of the way home a lot slower than I had going out partly because it was getting pretty hot out but also because it was just so nice to look around at the beautiful day.

Do you see the bee on this yellow flower?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Doll Size Gummy Bears

I am so excited because the Gummy Bear mold that I had ordered at the Seattle Miniature Show finally arrived!! I have become somewhat obsessed with making gummy bears since it arrived. I am certain the numbers now count in the hundreds but I can't help myself they are just so darn cute and easy to make. 


First if you want to make some gummy bears for your dolls here is the link to Ruth's site. I don't see the mold on the site as I am uploading this but you can contact her through her website for the information. 

The first thing I did when I got my mold was to try all the brands of clay I have in it. I did discover that Ruth's recommendation of the Sculpey III is the best one for this. The texture works the best with the mold. In instructions Ruth shows how to cut the excess clay off with a knife but I prefer to use the side of my dental tool. I am always worried about nicking the top of the mold with a knife.

The gummy bears made of polymer clay (5 parts translucent to 1 part color) come out really cute. The detail in this mold is amazing and it really does show up nicely in this version.

After a couple of batches of clay gummy bears I was in the mood to create some that looked a bit more like the real thing. I have been playing with my Liquid Kato clay that I picked up in the Hobby Lobby when I was in Seattle a while back. I love this product because it is not only really clear but it is also a bit shiny unlike the other liquid polymer clays I have tried. I used to have some Fimo Deco Gel and it is close but the Kato version is just enough better to seek it out.

There are several ways to color liquid polymer clay. One thing I keep seeing on Youtube videos is people using acrylic paint for this, that is really not a good idea. The products are not really compatible. For these gummy bears because I wanted to keep the translucency of the liquid clay I chose to use some oil paint. It just takes a tiny bit, I found that out on my first batch- any more and you will not have a transparent bear. The exception to this is the red, I had to add a lot more red paint because the color seems to disappear. I did find that the Rose Madder gives a nice red gummy bear color, most of the other reds I tried turned orange.

The mold creates 10 gummy bears at a time- 5 regular size and 5 “jumbo” ones.

The small ones only take a drop or two of the liquid clay while the larger ones take about 3 drops so you can see that jar of liquid clay is going to make a ton of gummy bears.

I did try TLS (Transparent Liquid Sculpey) but I really didn't like the result. The main problem being that TLS just doesn't get clear, it stays really white and has a very flat dull finish.

The Kato clay products all bake at a higher temperature than the other brands of clay- 350 degrees. I have read that this product will cure at a lower temperature but will not be as clear or as shiny.

I have more videos planned for this same liquid clay so keep your eyes on the blog and the channel for those.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Vintage Multiplication Cards

This week I am decided to show you how to work with the newest release from Paper Minis. If you have read my blogs for very long or watched my videos you already know I love the kits that Ann produces. As soon as I noticed this new kit I knew I had to order it. (I think I had it ordered within 3 minutes of starting to read that week's newsletter. LOL) 


Since this kit is a vintage item I had to figure out how to make it work with my dolls who live in today's world. It didn't take me long to come up with an idea.

You see I have spent a lot of hours the last year or two going through stacks of boxes of stuff that we packed up from my mom's house when she passed away. Not only are there boxes of stuff from my childhood but there are also an equal number of boxes from my mom's childhood and even a few from my grandmother's childhood. These cards look like they could have been in one of those many boxes.

One of the things I love to do with my dollhouse miniatures is to make them look old and worn. I decided to take some of those techniques and use them on this set of cards. I love the end result and they look like they have been around for a hundred years, sitting a box in someone's attic.

The first step in making up this kit is to make your choice of paper. You want a paper that it going to take the ink well and hold up to scoring, folding and gluing. I decided to use a good quality Matte finish photo paper. Photo papers will allow your printer to do the best job it can do. The matte finish was important for a couple of reasons. One being that I wanted to make these look old so I didn't want any shine to them. Also because of the number of folds the matte paper will hold up much better, glossy paper has more of a tendency to crack on the fold lines.

When you are printing your printies be sure to set your printer to 100% size and to no borders, this is really important in getting your printies to come out the correct size.

I like to allow my ink to set at least a couple of hours if not overnight before I handle them. It probably isn't important but it seems to me that I get less smearing that way. I didn't seal my paper but you can and should if your ink is not water resistant. I usually don't for normal printies just for ones that I am going to be using with a lot more glue or that I might need to clean in the future. (like wallpaper for a dollhouse)

I like to score all my fold lines before I cut out the pieces. For me it is just easier to do this while the pieces are all still together. For printies like these I usually use my dental pick as my scoring tool. As much as I would like to use my scoring board the lines it makes are just too wide to use for these little pieces. After all the fold lines are scored it is time to cut each piece out. Be very careful and take your time- actually this is important for all the steps in this project. The more care you take with each step the better your final project will look. I use a combination of a straight edge with a craft knife and a small pair of scissors to cut out my pieces. Use whatever tools are the most comfortable for you.

After all the pieces are cut out it is time to fold and crease on all those fold lines we scored a little while ago. Also make sure all your cuts are correct and that you know where to glue.

For glue I used some regular Tacky Glue for the box and a glue stick for the cards. Just don't apply too much glue. Clamp any places that need to be clamped to stay the way you want them. Go back over each piece several times while the glue it drying and make sure everything is the way you want it be.

After the glue was dry I checked each card and trimmed it as needed and used a pair of curved manicure scissors to trim those rounded corners.

If your are making your cards to look new you are now done! They are ready for your dolls to learn their multiplication facts. Since these are in the style of the early 1900's I would bet either Samantha or Rebecca would enjoy a set of them.

But if you are going age your card set like I did it is now time for the fun part!

To age the cards I used some Distress Ink from the Tim Holtz line made by Ranger in the colors: Vintage Photo and Old Paper. I also used an emery board to rough up the edges/corners of each piece. I love the finished look of my card set.

This set is going to join some other items I have been planning and working on for an Allison's Journal blog post in the future. You will just have to wait to see what that story is.

I would love to see your projects you make so be sure to send me pictures of them. I also ask that if you do buy this set (or any of the others I have shown you) from Ann that you let her know you heard about if from me. It is a lot of fun for both of us to learn those things.