Tuesday, January 8, 2013

American Girl Crafts Extravaganza

These pics are from a couple of years ago. See, G wanted to have her birthday party at the paint your own pottery place. So I reserved it. Then she decided she wanted an American Girl party. To which I had to say no, the other has already been paid for. My compromise was she could have one friend stay the night of her actual birthday (we'd put her party off a few weeks so her Daddy could come) and we'd do some crafts for her dolls. She picked a friend who loves crafting and dolls and we invited her. Then we hit the craft store for ideas and small dolly things. Above is a sample of the crafts the girls (and I) did that night.
 We found the guitars at Micheal's. They were simply paint your own wood all-hangings. The girls used markers instead of paints to decorate them. The ribbon hanger was already attached for the strap. The butterfly hairclips came from Claire's in the baby section.
We got some knee socks and cut them to make dresses as shown here. (Please, I saw this idea somewhere but cannot find it for the life of me now. If you know where it is, please let me know so I can update and give credit. That was my intent. Ah, what did we do before Pinterest?) We discovered the toe part of the sock makes a great hat. Small cuts of the socks make great headbands, too. I also made the sandals from sticky back fun foam and ribbon. I made these for the girls while they were working on other things, letting them pick their ribbons and foam colors. We used the glittery foam because, well, we like it. We found the small baskets and decorated them for Easter baskets.
 Sock toe hats are good for Honey, too. He also got a finger-knitted scarf and a pipe cleaner leash.
 We found these hair bands with flowers that make great doll bracelets at Claire's in the little girl section. We also found some Silly Bandz rings for bracelets for the dolls.
 We made an attempt at a campfire using a real stick I trimmed from a tree and some fun foam. We have modified this project over the years. I'll have to post a more recent pic. We also took small sticks and stuck packing styrofoam from AG boxes on the end for marshmallows. I believe I saw that idea in the Doll Play book once.
 We made tutus using a sturdy adult hairband for the waist and some blue tulle we had for the tutu. We just tied tons of the tulle around the hairband. It got a little wild with all that tulle.
 G taught her friend how to finger knit and they made these doll scarves while they watched a movie.
Our s'mores kit. The girls made food with polymer clay. One project was completed s'mores (right) and chocolate bars (middle) to go with our roasting marshmallows.

This evening was the beginning of our American Girl crafting bug. More to follow.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Seattle American Girl Store Trip

We made a family trip to the Seattle American Girl Store to celebrate G's birthday a little early. When I planned it, I didn't necessarily mean to put it on Saige's debut day - it was more a matter of being able to get a sitter for our elderly dog and being able to get a room at the Residence Inn on the American Girl package they have. It just worked nicely that we drove up on the first. Once I realized that, I made sure we got there in time for the festivities.

We arrived about 11 o'clock. I was not surprised by the number of people in the store. I was surprised by the number of people in line! The Seattle store is not huge but the line went from the registers all the way to the hair counter. They had it well planned, however, with enough temporary line guides, all the registers open and someone at the front of the line directing people. The line seemed to move quickly. They had plenty of Saige items on hand except for the Painting Set, which was already sold out by the time we got there. We got our free Saige t-shirt as we arrived, checked out Saige and went to the activities. First, G made a horse collage. Then she did the scavenger hunt, which was about being creative. When she finished, she got a Saige poster. She made a little hot air balloon. She then participated in the drawing lesson they had. Each child got a little Saige Drawing Pad for this.

 The Saige photo op - a very cute hot air balloon. That's my G with Emily in her Holiday Outfit.

We did wait in line for Saige's Sparkle Dress, although by the time we got to it, the line was half as long as before. At lunch, Emily had to try the new dress on and get a pic with Saige and her hot air balloon. That thing is super cute but is HUGE. We did some other shopping (Lego Store, Disney Store, Hobby Lobby) before heading to the hotel. I booked the American Girl Package at the Residence Inn about a block from the AG Store as a surprise.
 Here G is checking Emily in to the hotel.
 This is the bed and goodies left for the girl and doll. The bed has a pillow and blanket. There were two milks in our fridge to go with the cookies. Because this is a Residence Inn, there was a full galley-style kitchen. We had eaten such a big lunch at Macaroni Grill, my husband ran to the grocery and we cooked a small dinner in the hotel.
 The letter and map of the AG store in our room.
 And a special pink pillowcase for the real American Girl.
 The bed folds over to make a chair. Here Emily is enjoying some New Year's Day football.
 Emily all tucked in for the night.
G, Emily and her pink breakfast waffle. Breakfast was included in the room, with a pink waffle for the American Girl.

 The next morning we headed back to the store. We shopped a little in the less-crowded conditions and then ate lunch in the Bistro. Above is the special Saige menu they had - smoothies, sparkler, milkshake, and a dessert.
 They sang "Happy Birthday" to my birthday girl. She enjoyed her trip. Below are her purchases with her Christmas money and the birthday outfit she chose.
 Kanani wearing Saige's Sparkle Dress.
 Felicity in the Saige t-shirt.
Closeup of the Saige t-shirt.

Emily wearing Josefina's Holiday Outfit.

 Elizabeth in Caroline's Holiday Outfit. While the headband with the hairpiece is kind of fun and was a good fashion history lesson, Elizabeth is our only blond doll so the only one who will look right wearing it. Wish the gold part and hairpiece part were separate.

 Cecile in her Parlor Outfit with the Lacy Parasol. She is wearing the outfit with the crinoline.

All in all, it was a very fun trip and I am glad we did it. My daughter had a great time. The hotel was nice and the package had some very cute things in it. The Girl of the Year Debut was a fun thing to see also, even if we weren't there to buy the doll. There were plenty of fun activities to spark her imagination.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Pirate Night, American Girl Style

When we discovered our Disney Cruise had a Pirate Night, it was quickly clear the doll chosen to cruise with us would need pirate gear. We had an afternoon and the things we had on hand to come up with something that would work. We did some searching through the clothes we already had and came up with Felicity's riding coat and hat, a pair of black pants I made (which were pulled up to look like breeches), Cecile's boots and Felicity's white stockings. What else would we need? A sword, a hook and an eye patch, course.  Here is Cecile modeling the pirate gear before we left:
For the sword, Gabby drew a picture to make a pattern. We cut two of the pattern from a Pop Tart box. Pretty quickly we realized we needed something more stable to help it out so we added a small popsicle stick in the middle with one end down in to the handle, seen below.
 With a more stable sword, we covered the blade in shiny silver duct tape. Then the hilt was covered in black electrical tape. After we made the pic below, we added a pipe cleaner around the handle to make a handle Cecile could hold. You can see it in the pics with Cecile.
 On to the hook. What would fit over her hand? Ah! A medicine cup. We turned a medicine cup upide down and covered it in black electrical tape like so:
 Once covered, we poked a hole in it. This is was much harder than I anticipated and took quite a bit of time. We used a tiny screwdriver. There might be something better but that was what we had.
 Again we used a pipe cleaner to make a hook. We stuck it through the hole, making a knot on the inside and shaping a hook on the outside.
 The medicine cup fit fairly snugly on her hand and stayed well. Over use, it stretched a little but we didn't add any other way to keep it on her hand and managed to keep up with it all night on the cruise.
The final step was an eye patch. We used black felt and black 1/4 inch elastic. Again, Gabby drew a pattern, which we cut from the the felt. I sewed the elastic on to the patch. We did make sure her eye was closed when we put the patch on her.
Here is Cecile in all her pirate goodness on the Disney Wonder. Somewhere along the way we added the red belt to hold her sword when not in use. It is simply the selvedge edge I had cut off of some red fleece on a project past. Cecile was the best dressed pirate on the ship.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Oreo Phases of the Moon

Not long after joining Pinterest, I saw this post about using Oreos to make moon phases. School that uses Oreos? I'm in. It just so happened that we were doing a unit study on Space using our Sonlight science curriculum plus the Evan-Moor Scienceworks book. Instead of the paper plate, we used a worksheet from the Evan-Moor book that already had the phases on it. Later we cut it out and made the moon phase wheel like we were supposed to. We all had fun with the Oreos, especially the eating part.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Hula Outfit for American Girl Dolls

About a year ago, we were heading for a vacation in Hawaii and Gabby's best friend was preparing to move to Hawaii. Needless to say, there was a lot of Hawaii talk in our house. Her friend slept over one night and I cooked up a way to make a hula skirt with the girls. That part was prepared in advance. From there, the whole outfit came about using things we already had and the girls' imaginations.

Here's Elizabeth modeling the finished product. I didn't get a good up close picture of the skirt but it was very easy to make. We used a hair elastic for the waist. The nice thick grown up ones fit nicely around the doll's waist with no measuring and sewing of elastic involved. We then took raffia and cut it twice as long as we wanted the skirt. We folded the length in half, placed the folded side behind the elastic and pulled the ends through around the front, looping it through tightly. No tying knots. You can somewhat see it in the picture below.

The girls made bracelets using elastic string, pony beads and some regular old cheapo silk flowers we bought a few years back for Gabby's room. I had taken them apart for that project so now we have a bunch of flower pieces with holes in the middles. They picked out the smaller ones and used those for the wristbands. 

The hair clip is a small bobby pin with more of the silk flowers. I simply stacked some of the same colors, putting a leaf piece on the bottom and pushed the bobby pin through the middle hole.

For the ankles, it was more elastic string, beads, and leaf pieces from the silk flowers (when you take those things apart, you get tons of pieces to use!)

About 11pm that night the girls said, "What about the coconut bra?" How I could I forget the coconut bra?? I was so tired I couldn't come up with anything that I had on hand that didn't require power tools that would work. So I slept on it. In the morning, this is what I came up with. It's simple but they were happy. These are brown felt circles with brown ribbon pulled through them. That's it. Above is the front, below is the back. With more time/planning I possibly could have used walnut shells or something similar but this made the girls happy and was easy.

The leis were again made with the silk flowers, elastic thread and pony beads. Here's the two partial outfits on the dolls.

Here's where we put the hula dresses in to action. That's my kids ready for the luau in Hawaii. Felicity is wearing Kanani's outfit (a surprise for the trip), while Elizabeth is wearing the outfit we made.

Yes, when Daddy got caught holding the dolls, some woman was trying to hit on him. Who knew American Girl dolls and an adorable four year old boy could bring in the women?

Afterward we got some pictures with some of the dancers. All of the ladies made a huge fuss over Gabby and her dolls. They loved Kanani's outfit, of course, but were very impressed when Gabby said she made the other one. We still love our hula outfits and enjoyed Hawaii so much Gabby had a luau themed birthday party this year. I'll get to that post some day.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Changing it up

I started this blog when I started homeschooling. I hoped it would help me get organized for that and for life and provide a way to share the things we have done. Well, life comes along and gets in the way and I didn't really post that often. How many times can I talk about math tests and how much we read about Ancient Egypt today. More often I have other things to share outside of just homeschooling. Girl Scout stuff. American Girl doll stuff. Parties and projects. So I have decided to make this blog more broad and cover all the things we do and make along the way. I hope I can be more motivated to update this one as well as our family blog, which has also fallen by the wayside. Wish me luck!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Makin' Ice Cream

One of Gabby's science books is "See How It's Made". We read about making ice cream in the book and then made our own ziploc bag ice cream.  It's super easy and fun. Here's the directions.  We used regular table salt instead of rock salt and it worked fine. I saw that in some other directions. Word of caution, spoon out of the bag, don't turn the bag over and dump it. You end up with salty water in it that way. If you remember the sugar and vanilla, it's good. (We tried it again at Brownies and I forgot the sugar - not so good. Sorry, girls!)