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. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

DIY Union Jack Dresser

For Christmas this year my oldest daughter asked for her room to be redecorated.  Normally I would be a-okay with this idea because I love decorating (especially the shopping part) but I was slightly annoyed by this request since I had just redecorated her room about a year ago.  To be fair though, it was a room she shared with her sister at the time and it was in our previous house, so I could understand why she would want something fresh.

I never got around to posting the original redecorating, so bear with me while I post some pictures of the room the two girls shared previously.  Here is what we started with.  Not bad, but ready for a change.
We added navy stripes to the wall and I painted some night stands and a dresser to match the bedding set from Target.  I bought the navy curtains at Ross and added the coral pink fabric to the bottom so that they were floor length  I thought it was so cute!
Fast forward to the present and my oldest says she "hates pink." Ugh.  Okay...okay...I told her we could redo her room as long as we kept the dresser the same.  I love this dresser!
I bought it from a thrift store for $30.  It was missing all hardware except the top drawer, so I found some new pulls and painted them all gold.  I used chalk paint on the dresser and finished with a coat of wax.  This baby wasn't going anywhere.

So here is her new teen girl room.  I call it "British Lumberjack"




She wanted a tree mural on one wall.  Most of the ones that we found on Pinterest were from the UK and upwards of $500 (insert cough/gasp), which wasn't going to happen.  We found this one for $80 shipped.  It was a bit of a beast to put up and the hubby and I may have had a disagreement or two whilst putting it up, but it all came together in the end.  There are a few wrinkles left but most all of the bubbles flattened out when it dried.

And now for the dresser.  A friend had posted a picture of a dresser with a Union Jack on it on Facebook and I loved it.  I figured it was perfect for my daughter's dresser because it was already navy blue.
We removed the hardware from the center three drawers and started making our marks.  We decided to end at the edges of the drawers rather than carrying the lines all the way to edge of the dresser.  I've seen it done both ways and they both look great.  First we decided how wide we wanted our cross to be and measured in from the sides of the drawers. 
Turns out that the Union Jack is not symmetrical as I had always thought it was.  It was a little bit of a trick to figure out.  We taped off the areas that we were going to paint red first, using the level to keep the tape straight.  Once we had the center cross marked off, we taped from the intersection in the middle out to the corners.
We used Waverly chalk paint in Crimson and Plaster.
After the first coat of paint I was thinking we had made a big mistake.  It looked a bit rough!
Another two coats and it was starting to look pretty good.  We used craft foam brushes and crosshatched our lines.  So with the first coat we painted in one direction, the second coat we went opposite direction, and so on. 
Once dry (we left ours overnight), we removed the tape and then taped off the portions that were going to be white.  Unfortunately I neglected take a photo of that step.  But here she is after the white paint dried:
There were some spots where the paint bled under the tape and we touched those up with a small brush.
The toughest part of this paint job was the spaces between the drawers.  Because the drawers curve around, it was impossible to line everything up perfectly.  We saved those spaces for last and just did what looked best from eye level.

The paint was a bit too bright to match the comforter on her bed, so I wanted to tone down the colors a bit and give it an antiqued finish.  You can buy wax that is already tinted or you can tint it yourself. To do this, I just mixed the clear wax with some brown paint in a washed out applesauce container.

 You just paint it on and then wipe off as little or as much as you want like you would with a glaze.

I wiped most of the wax off.  The picture below shows the plain paint on the top drawer and the waxed finish on the bottom drawer.  I like that it is subtle but darkens it just enough to dull down the bright colors and also settle into the cross-hatched grooves a bit.
Put the hardware back on and this beauty is finished!  I love it so much.  It is my favorite part of the room and one of my favorite pieces of furniture in the whole house.