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!