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Monday, October 24, 2016

Doll Size Mop

This week we are making a mop for the dolls to do some cleaning around their house. I actually got this idea when I was doing some cleaning up in my craft room. I had some dowels that I needed to put away and as I was carrying the package of dowels I noticed some little doll size buckets I had purchased some time ago. All it took was a glance at the two items and the little light bulb in my head popped on. A mop would be perfect.

I decided to make a string mop because first off they are the easiest to make. Also though a certain doll manufacturer has come out with a couple of different dolls lately that “live” in the 1950's and 1960's and I thought this would be a fun addition for those that like to keep their dolls in their own historical environments.

Since a quick Google search told me that the first patent for a mop was awarded in the 1890's I guess there are a few other dolls out there that could be using this little project.

The first thing you will need is a handle for your mop. I like to use a ½” dowel for that part. This size looks about correct as far as scale goes and it will fit in the doll's hand properly. I cut mine about 15” long which is pretty close to accurate scale wise.

For the “string” part of our string mop I looked at several options and found the string sold for kitchen use to be the best size for my mop and it was fairly cheap. I got a package for $1.99 in the regular grocery store. I bought two packages since I really wasn't sure how far it would go until I got the mop made. As it ended up I only used about half or less of the package.

I decided that for my use the two layers of string once folded was plenty. If you want your mop to look more full add another layer, just follow the same instructions as I gave for the second layer.

I love how the mop turned out and I am looking forward to doing many photos with it in the future.

Of course when I got the mop made the bucket was way too small to use so I quickly made a bucket to use in the pictures. If you guys want to have a tutorial on the bucket just let me know and I can film that soon.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Sewing (and crafting) blog for September 2016

Sorry this is going up late, I was so busy last week I totally forgot to post it.

This month I did a bit of sewing, mostly stuff for my Allison's Journal blog posts. It was nice that one batch of that sewing worked out to fit the theme for the September Sew-Along for the doll sewing group I belong to.

So I started the month off with some backpacks. I wanted to do an Allison's Journal post about getting ready for school. That meant the kids all needed backpacks. I had a few I had made a couple of years ago but I was never really happy with those. I had always felt they were too small for the dolls.

I did some wandering around Pixie Faire looking for a pattern and came across the Animal Backpack pattern. The first thing I noticed was that it was a much better size for the dolls than the patterns I had used in the past. I decided to get the pattern and get the fabric for it the next time I went into town.

I had intended to take advantage of the animal faces in the pattern for at least a couple of backpacks. The only problem with that plan was when I went fabric shopping I just didn't find any fabric that I really thought worked with the animal thing. I did get the felt to do the animal stuff thinking I would make it work.

When I got home I got the felt pieces all cut out but just decided that I liked the backpacks better without the faces.

I initially got fabric and zippers for two backpacks. About halfway through sewing those I decided I really wanted to make two more. So for those I searched through my fabric stash and found fabrics that worked perfectly for two more. All I needed to pick up on the next trip to town were the zippers.

I do love how this backpack pattern goes together and the two zippered pockets are fantastic. Just like a real backpack.

With 4 of those made I could get the big kids ready for school. That left the smaller bags I had made in the past for the little sisters in the group so everything worked out great.

The only down side was that by the time I was done making 4 backpacks I kind of felt like I was working in one of those sweat shops that turn out millions of backpacks a day. LOL

After the backpacks were done I barely let my sewing machine cool off before I started making some coats. As you probably guessed I wanted to do a blog post with the kids getting new winter coats. Also my doll sewing group's theme for September was coats and jackets.

For Chelsea I picked out the Cute as a Button pattern from Jelly Bean Soup Designs. I opted to leave off the buttons. I think I like it better without the buttons. I wasn't able to find any double sided quilted fabric at my local Joann's so I picked up ¼ yard each of a pattern and a solid and used a scrap of thin quilt batting to make my own. I only quilted half of each fabric and it was just enough to cut out the pieces. And I was able to use the remaining fabric for the non-quilted pieces. That made for a truly coordinated garment. I think if I were to make this pattern again- at least using similar fabrics I would add a bit of interfacing to the waistband piece. I think since I used just some quilter's cotton that part of the jacket looks a bit soft. If I wanted to actually make this pattern close in the front I think I would add a zipper to the front, I think that would make this one look totally real.

For Michael I wanted a hoodie so I used the Rough'n'Tumble Hoodie from QT(pie) Clothing for his. I used a cheap t-shirt for the main body and hood, along with the ribbing (there was exactly enough ribbing in the size large t to make this size jacket) I lined the main body of the jacket with some green flannel both to give more visual weight and to stabilize the knit fabric. For the sleeves and hood lining I used a quilter's cotton. I had a huge problem finding a separating zipper the day I was shopping for this jacket. I was hoping to match the fabric a little better. They only had this gray one and some white ones unless I wanted to pay for a 20” long one.

As I was looking for a coat for Allison I fell in love with the Oxford Square coat from Liberty Jane. The day I made it I was in the mood to sew so I dug through my stash. I found a pair of jeans that had a huge hole for the main fabric. I found a little weird shaped scrap of lining fabric for the hood lining that was the perfect color. This was a really easy pattern to make. If you want the coat to close you do need to add to the side seams but I liked the look of the it the way it was designed.

For Izzy I used the Wellie Wisher version of the same hoodie pattern. I think this size was almost easier to make than the larger one.

All of these coat patterns are available from Pixie Faire. 

In addition to my sewing I did undertake another major project for the blog posts so I am going to include that here too.

A while back I was alerted to some wonderful free printable books on a doll blog site. The blog is Jinjia Mixed Goods: American Girl Dolls with an Asian Flair. 

Along with wonderful stories about the adventures of the dolls there are some wonderful free printables on the site.

I had seen several people making the books that were put up recently and decided I wanted to join in the fun. That was the beginning of the “old books” Allison's Journal post. I made up a bunch of the books. When I got them done they were nice but I had something a bit more old looking in mind. So I decided to age my set of books. That was a lot of fun and involved the use of some inks, some emery boards and just a bit of destruction. It was a lot of fun and in my opinion made the books look perfect, at least for the story I wanted to tell.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Doll Size Halloween Witch

This week we are going to help the dolls to start decorating their home for Halloween. I read somewhere once that Americans spend more each year on Halloween decorations than on Christmas decorations. From the looks of the stores I think it might just be true.

Anyway this is a really fun project that I love to make from time to time. I had never tried it in 1/3rd scale before but I think it is really cute. I think when I am not using this with the dolls it will reside in the entry way of my real house. It is a perfect size for the dolls but it also is a fantastic size for a tabletop decoration in real life.

I had hoped to make my witch just a tad bit smaller but I had a lot of trouble finding the plant pots in the smaller sizes. Most years I have been able to find a lot of the small sized ones at the craft store. This year the Michael's that I had time to visit only one size. They had a lot of empty space on the shelf and there were shelf tags for other sizes just none in stock that day.

I did get the slightly larger pot at my local Home Depot, it was the smallest clay pot they had but they had a lot of them in stock.

All together I spent $2.55 on the 4 pots so this is an inexpensive project. I did have everything else on hand that I used.

The biggest thing in picking out the pots is that the large end of the small size needs to fit the small end of the big pot so that the witch's dress is fairly smooth going down. From there you really can make these in any size you want. I have made them with the little wooden pots for my dollhouse miniature channel and I made one from larger pots one year as a gift to a friend to put by her front door. She sent me a photo last year to let me know she is still displaying it every year.

I had some of those little wooden pots on hand so I used that for the nose, use whatever you have. Use you imagination and see what lurks in your stash. A button would work or any number of things.

Paint the majority of the project with black paint and then paint the face area whatever color you imagine your witch's skin is. I usually opt for green skin but I have seen this project done with purple for the face before too. Also a pearl green color would be wonderful.

Let the paint dry they paint on whatever facial features you want. I usually paint the eyes with black paint but I noticed that I had some google-eyes on hand that were the perfect size so they went on this witch.

When you are gluing your witch try to get the pots straighter than I did. My witch has a definite lean. I am going to blame it on trying to do this on camera. It makes my angle really tough to work from. By the time I noticed it the glue had set up enough I was afraid to try to change it.

When the glue dries just do a quick touch up with the black paint over any glue stops that are showing. If you want to give your witch a coat of spray on sealer that step won't be necessary.

There you are a cute and fun witch for the dolls to display by their front door or in their house this Halloween.