Monday, May 22, 2017

Harry Potter Party

So this post is a FULL YEAR late!  hahaha.  The pics have just been waiting patiently in my folder to be posted.  Little S wanted a Harry Potter party for her 8th birthday (yah...she's 9 now).  Here's what we came up with.

DECORATIONS:  I tried to create a bit of an atmosphere for her guests as soon as they arrived.  I mad this platform 9-3/4 door cover with gray paper off the roll from a part store that I stamped with a sponge dipped in brick red paint.  A bit time consuming, but effective.  I also put my Broom Parking sign from Halloween out on the porch.

 Inside we had the shelf above the fireplace decked out with more Halloween decor as well as some of the party favors that I will go into more detail on later.
I borrowed a few things from neighbors, including this hand-painted sign, on old trunk, a cardboard cutout of the HP gang, and a Hedwig.  I wrapped her presents in brown kraft paper to try to make it look like they were packages from Diagon Alley ready to be loaded on the Hogwarts Express!

As each guest arrived we gave them each a Harry lightning bolt scar with an eyeliner pencil and a pair of round glasses.  Once everyone had arrived, it was time to sort!   Another neighbor came to the rescue with this official Sorting Hat and my husband had a recording of different house callouts on his phone that he played through the bluetooth speaker once every child had been seated on the stool with the hat on. 

 Once they found out what house they were in, they grabbed a scarf out of the old suitcase and sat with their houses.   I sewed these together out of fleece and just cut the fringe at the ends since fleece doesn't fray.

GAMES/ACTIVITIES:  It was time to go to class!  We headed outside for a Quiditch match.  My husband made some hoops and we basically just turned it into a relay where two houses faced each other in a race (on broomstick of course) to throw the quaffle through the hoop.

Next class was potions, which I unfortunately did not get any pictures of.  If I remember correctly, we had put different colors of food coloring in the bottom of each glass and let it dry.  Then the potions teacher gave them a concoction of Sprite from a beaker to add to their cups.  Everybody's drink turned a different color and they all enjoyed a little refreshment.

On to Care of Magical Creatures.  This was the craft portion of the party.  I helped the kids cover little notebooks in fur and we glued on googly eyes, teeth, and tongues.  They were super cute!

We ended with a round or two of Beanboozled

Everyone got to take home a goody bag that included wands, pet owls, and gold coins from Gringotts.  I'm super mad at myself for not taking a picture of all of the wands.  My hubby and our two older girls made them by taking a chopstick and covering it with hot glue in assorted patterns.  Once the glue dried and set up, they painted them all different. They were amazing!  I made the wand boxes out of card stock.  They had a label on the end of the box that said the makeup and size of the wand as well as a sticker on top from Olivanders.  It printed them on my computer using blank Avery labels.

It was such a fun party!  We love Harry Potter at our house!  And last but not least...the cake!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Launching a new product line on Etsy

Guys, you all know how much I love thrift shopping. I think I have found the perfect product for me to create and sell: Vintage inspired pincushions!
I'm super excited about it. Not because I plan to become independently wealthy selling these little beauties, but because I love creating them. It's all about the thrill of the hunt. I've been scouring the thrift and antique store shelves for the perfect project pieces and I'm finally ready to debut my new product line today in my Etsy shop. Just click on my Etsy link in the top right corner.

As a reader of the blog, you get a special sneak peak of all the pincushions I'm listing today in just a few minutes.  And don't you worry, there will be more to come.  I already have a closet shelf full of a dozen more planters, etc. just waiting to be transformed, so check back in the shop periodically to see what is new. 

Thanks to all of you for supporting me and taking the time to read my nonsense.  Love to all!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Dolly Hospital

My obsession with dolls has subsided a bit, but I have still been working on a few "rehab" projects over the last few months. 

The first was American Girl doll JLY 55.  I love this girl!  I am sucker for her hazel eyes, dark brown hair and adorable freckles.  I bought her off a classified app for $50.  She had a LOT of little black dots on both arms as well as a few marks on her legs. 
I did oxy treatments on her for several days in a row, applying the cream to the spots, covering them with plastic wrap so that it didn't dry too quickly and had time to work, and placed her out in the sun.  Surely my neighbors can't question this process?  ;)

The spots did not completely disappear, but they had faded considerably and I thought it was good enough.  Interestingly, the spots faded even more after time so that when I took this photo today, they are all gone!  Awesome.

She will make an "after" appearance in a bit once I get to the sewing projects section of this post.

Next up was a Kit doll that I got for a friend's daughter.  She came to me with what I can only describe as melted spots.  It looked like she had come in contact with something too hot and it flatted out the vinyl.  The most noticeable spot was on her face.
I used a nail buffer that had four different grits and buffed the marks out as best I could.  Again, not perfect, but definitely less noticeable.
I bought this Bitty Baby to resell for a few bucks, but I needed to fix up her hair.  She has sprayed on hair and the scuffs and scrapes really stand out. 

I used my cake airbrush and some watered down craft paint.  It took me a couple of tries to get it subtle enough but turned out great in the end.  Almost like new!

I have also branched out a bit with what kind of dolls I am buying to fix up.  I found this Belle doll at the thrift store for $3.  She had her complete outfit and was really in great shape except for her hair. 

It just took me about 30 straight minutes of brushing to get her hair all smoothed out and then I put it up in foam rollers over night.

Getting her fixed up inspired me to get out the rest of our Disney Animator dolls.  They have been put away in a box in the basement for about a year, but my second oldest really loves them, so we put them up on a shelf in her room and they are adorable!

I have also stumbled upon a couple of Lee Middleton dolls in the last few weeks at thrift stores.  This little beauty was $3 and came fully dressed.
She just needed a good scrub with the Magic Eraser and a brush through her hair and she is back to her sweet self again.

This one was only $2 because she did not have clothing. She got the same treatment and turned out just as cute.

I have also been sewing a bit.  There are a few American Girl outfits that I absolutely love but cannot bring myself to pay for.  One of those is Kit's chicken keeping outfit.  It sells for $65-75.  Holy crap!  No way!  I'm too nervous about copyright laws to post a stock photo of the outfit here, but if you are curious, Google it to see the outfit I was trying to replicate.

I scouted fabric stores and thrift stores to fine material that was as close as possible to the originals and I ended up with a fat quarter of floral fabric from JoAnn for $2 and a men's shirt from a thrift store for $4.  Much better than $75!
I used pieces from these two patterns and kind of guessed at the rest.  I used the bottoms of outfit C from the Simplicity pattern and the little yoke piece of outfit B from the Butterick one, but I had to cut it in a sweetheart shape instead of a rounded top. The back is also quite different than any pattern I could find and I had to make it up as I went.  My version goes up higher than the original but I'm still super happy with how it turned out and now I don't have to pine after the outfit any more.

Kit is ready to feed some chickens!

Another AG outfit I have had my eye on is Samantha's Special Day dress.  I love the fabric and the lace trim. (Once again, you'll have to Google it.) I was bored one day and wanting to sew something so I just used fabric that I had on hand.  I bought it at Wal-Mart for $3.50 for 1/2 yard.  It doesn't look much like the fabric from the original, but oh well.  The lace was from my grandma's collection that my mom gave me.  I used the pattern for dress A from Simplicity S0672 and again, had to make some adjustments.   I didn't make the vest, I changed the neckline, added pleats and trim, and I created different sleeves. 
I may have gotten a bit carried away with the hair bow and the bow on the dress, but who doesn't love a giant bow now and then?  I wish I would have made the waist a tad bit lower and the skirt not so full, but overall I'm happy.  Here's that JLY 55 doll I talked about at the beginning of the post.  Isn't she the cutest?

I have one last outfit to share.  It's not a replica, just something for fun.  I used pattern B6302 by Butterick and didn't make any alterations.  It's a retro pattern from the 50s and I think I didn't make it quite short enough.  She kinda just looks a bit chubby ;)

The fabric for the coat and dress were both from a quilt shop.  I only bought 1/4 yard of each because they were around $10 a yard and as I am sure you are aware, I'm a cheapo.   I had to do a contrasting bow because I didn't have enough of the floral fabric but I like how it turned out.  The lace was also from my grandma's stash.  The knee socks were made from one of my daughter's sock with a hole in the heel that I was going to throw away.  The shoes are AG brand from MaryEllen's meet outfit.

I saw in a Facebook group the idea to make a board to display dolls on.  I say "display on" because it sure sounds nicer than "hang from," doesn't it?  My hubby and I were at JoAnn's one day when they had multiple coupons (don't get me started on how much the hubster loves to shop at JoAnn's) and I bought three pre-made boards for $7 each.  I came home and cut off the ends so that the would look more like one piece, painted them, and mounted them on the wall with screws and anchors.  So far I really like this way to store dolls because not only does it show off my handiwork on their outfits, but it also gets them up and out of the way.  I tried doll stands for a while but they were too hard for my daughters to use, or at least they rarely chose to use them.

Thanks for stopping in!  Oh, and just in case you are curious, my current amount spent on AG (brand only, not anything Our Generation) is $2,804.... but sales are $2,608 so I'm only $196 in and right now we have a total of 10 full-size 18" dolls, 2 bitty twins, a bitty baby, as well as some furniture and clothing.  I also have one more doll in rehab status (not counted in the 10 we are keeping) that I am hoping to sell in the next few weeks that should put me close to even.  I wish I could say the same for my Calico Critters spending.  That has panned out nearly as well and I've actually lost money on some of the things I bought.