Tuesday, January 21, 2014

dolly makeovers

A friend's neighbor passed down two older American Girl dolls in much-loved condition to her daughter.  I volunteered to bring them home and see if we could pretty them up a bit for their second generation of playtime.  Turns out that I took rather lousy pictures throughout this process, but I thought I'd share anyway--the dolls really came out pretty well! 

Our starting point:
Kirsten and Molly, dirty, with ratty hair and lots of stray pencil and marker marks.  Plus Kirsten was missing a leg.
some of Kirsten's pencil marks
Molly was actually in pretty decent shape. 

I started by cleaning all of the marks off of both dolls' vinyl with a magic eraser.  Then I deep conditioned their wigs with a good downy dunk. 

Both dolls then got their limbs re-strung (plus Kirsten got a spare leg from Ebay). 
loose-limbed Molly
loose and missing-limbed Kirsten
Kirsten, unstuffed for limb restringing
Molly unstuffed for restringing 
Yay! I can stand on my own two feet again!
Molly, feeling much better 
Molly came to my friend wearing Samantha's school dress, and Kirsten in her meet outfit.  I washed the clothes they came with, and fixed the stretched out elastic on Kirsten's bonnet.  I knit each dolly a skirt and sewed them a matching tank, just for some variety, should they decide to go time traveling and not stick to their historical time periods. ;)
all ready to go back home!
Molly cleaned up beautifully, and I took quite a liking to her!  I had never been interested in any of the dolls with bangs, but Molly is precious.  Kirsten's hair is like straw, it's so brittle, so she'll need to have braids pretty much full time or I fear she'll need a new wig soon.  We could take care of that, though. ;)  They're not in mint condition, by far, but they're such sweet dolls! I'm so glad we got them ready to take on the new life they have ahead of them being loved by another little girl!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Wrap Up: The Bee Tree

We buzzed our way through the Five in a Row unit on Patricia Polacco's The Bee Tree over the past couple of weeks!  Despite quite a nasty interruption from the influenza virus, we made it through almost everything I had planned, and really enjoyed this row!

The highlight of this row for us was a field trip to Baton Rouge to tour the children's exhibitions at the American Beekeeping Federation's annual convention.

trying on beekeeper gear

live bees!
dress up! Jono held the flower for bees H&C

made bee hats and rolled beeswax candles
looked at more beekeeping equipment and asked a TON of questions 
and we wandered across the street from the convention center to check out the river!  
For social studies, we found Michigan on the map, discussed peninsulas, and then colored and labeled a map of Michigan and the surrounding great lakes.

In language arts, we just reviewed onomatopoeia.  We checked out favorite onomatopoeia book out of the library again and enjoyed it.  I should just buy that one--I think this is the 3rd time we've checked it out!

For art, we did some fine arts.  In the book, a group of traveling musicians joins the race to follow the bee to its tree.  They were string players, so we listened to the strings section in The Story of the Orchestra.

We had a lot of fun with math.  We spent some time nailing down shape names and description for those harder shapes, starting with hexagons, of course.  We played some free printable games that were super fun for this--Shape bingo and Name that Shape.  We played the Fill in the Hexagon Game on a different day using our pattern blocks.  Then we used that hexagon pattern block to stamp honeycomb!

my favorite part is Jono's name, with each letter made into a bee (bottom left)
For science, of course, we learned about bees. We read several books about bees, beehives, honey production, and beekeeping.  I had them paint these bees and then tell me what body parts they remembered the names of for labeling. 

In non-FIAR news, we began a new artist for picture study.  We studied our last bird painting by John James Audubon and did our first work by Claude Monet.  We read the book Claude Monet: the Painter Who Stopped the Trains and then studied one of the pictures mentioned in the book.  The kids really enjoyed both the story and the painting.  I think this artist will be popular!

Jonathan also started a new extracurricular this  month.  He's playing Upward basketball this winter.  He has had two practices and one game and has loved every minute of it so far! 

Thank you for following along with us! 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

AG bunk beds

Homebound with sick kids this weekend, I decided to tackle a project I've been planning for a while.  I cutsied up (yes, that's a real verb) the two Ikea duktig doll beds we have for our American Girl dolls. They come very practical and plain, but I had seen some Etsy sellers with cute bedding for them and a few ideas on Pinterest for painting them and bunking them to take up less floor space, so that was the plan.  Hazel and I picked out fabric at Hobby Lobby on Friday while we were in Baton Rouge.  We chose four coordinating prints in yellows and grays to match the TV room, since dolls live in that room.  Here are the various tutorials and ideas that I mushed together for our beds:

  • mattresses: Ana White's doll mattress sewing tutorial. I stuffed ours with 2" foam cut to size.  I did not tuft ours.
  • bunking: this post on Ikea Hackers was the goal, and I found exactly those brackets at Home Depot.  They were a giant pain to hammer in, and my pinky finger still hurts from where I missed, but they worked. If you go looking for them in Home Depot and have as limited a knowledge of hardware as I do, this is what you can look for:
  • bedding: I used some of the ideas from this blog for bedding, but rectangle blankets, pillows, and pillow cases are pretty straightforward

Now, pics of ours!

I really am the world's worst spray painter. I will not be giving you close-up pictures of my paint job. From a distance, they look relatively uniform and white.  Good enough. 

Mattresses fit perfectly! 
blanket and pillows
It's official--these dolls have nicer bedding than I do!

Emily sleeps up top with Gracie.  Jack and Jess share the bottom bunk.  They're brother and sister, so that's totally above board. ;) 


and just for your entertainment, Hazel makes Penny the horse play the part of pack mule librarian.  She's wearing a purse stuffed with the books that came with mini-Isabelle and mini-Marie-Grace.  Poor Penny. I should  make her some saddle bags.  Surely that would be more comfortable! 

Thanks for looking!