Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Faerie House Completed

I finished the faerie house this morning! Just in time to wrap it up for Christmas. I think it's so cute, dolls and all.

Paisley, above, rests in her bed of clouds.

The dolls are made from Sculpey. Their arms and legs are attached with full-thickness embroidery thread. We'll see how they hold up.

I wrote a little note to my daughter and Mod-Podged it to the back of the house. It's dated, with a special love note from Mommy. It tells her that Pinky and Paisley (the dolls) are faerie-like forest creatures that live deep in the woods. They love human food and will borrow it (steal it?) whenever they get the chance.

Pinky sits at the tea table. I may paint it to look like a colorful mushroom at some point. Not sure. I kind of like it as is.

This cute little group of baby woodland creatures sits in a pretend stone hollow at one end of the downstairs. I cut the picture from an ad in a ME magazine.

Ahhh. Home Sweet Faerie Home!

The wall above the bed is clouds too. With little birds for sweet dreams.

I think she'll be surprised.

Hidden beneath the top shelf, this poem makes a sweet picture for the little faeries' ceiling.
Maybe I'll have some more pictures from when she opens it.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Where We Are On The Faery House

The Faery House, which will be located in the woods near the doll house, is coming along quite nicely.

This is the upper level -- up in the treetop. I have layers to add yet to make it seem more "in the clouds" and somehow I have to add a faery bed that will fit in.

The lower floor houses a rustic Sculpey table and chairs set with teapot and cups -- also from baked Sculpey.
I've pulled the little faery table out so that you might see all the food they've stashed underneath their tree. Faeries love a taste of human food sometimes. A lot of the embellishments came from old Mary Engelbreit paperdolls from her magazine. I LOVE her magazine, Home Companion.

Will show you more as I go. Princess of the Universe will have so much fun with this! She has not seen this at all yet.


More Doll House Work

Yesterday my husband picked up a 20-dollar piece of white beadboard that he could cut to size and staple (with a pneumatic stapler) to the back of the bookshelf doll house I got from A.C. Moore. This makes the rooms look more finished.

I would love to add lighting at some point, and perhaps stain the wood. Not sure yet. For now I am just going to clean off the scuffs and lightly sand a couple of places where the wood's not so smooth.

Won't the dolls just love this? Not to mention my daughter! I can't wait to set up the little loft area!


Friday, December 19, 2008

Great Doll House Deal With A Coupon

I wanted to share something that Princess of the Universe is getting for Christmas, and it was a GREAT deal!

I have long noticed this dollhouse/bookshelf in A.C. Moore, but for 99 dollars I never really spent that much time looking closely at it. Until yesterday. Princess of the Universe is at Grandma's and Grandpa's for a few days, which means easier shopping for me!

I had one of those 50% off any regularly priced item from A.C. Moore. I actually printed mine from on line by searching Google and finding a current coupon, but the Sunday paper usually has one as well.

I inquired about using the coupon before I had them pull this big item from the upper shelf it was on. Yes, they said they would take the coupon - as long as the item was regularly priced, and it was! Yippeee!!

I called my husband and he said he could easily cut a piece of pretty white beadboard-type wood to fill in the back of the shelf so the rooms will look finished!

For 50 dollars, I bought it. Oh boy, will the doll house adventures continue this year!!

She will be so excited. :)


The Doll House Bookshelf Gets Used

Oh, how happy I was to see this.

Sweet little girl.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The American Doll

Yes, it's true. The mysterious foreign doll who showed up at the doll house needing a home wants to become an American. Even now, she is studying to become a citizen.

Gasp! She's reading about... War?

Oh, it's a particular war. The beautiful doll shows us that she is learning about Abraham Lincoln from her little history book for dolls.

By the way, we are still trying to learn her name. I have an idea for a name for her. My daughter has a few ideas. Do you have any suggestions for a beautiful name for the mysterious foreign doll? I would love your comments!

Doll House Bookshelf

Bless their little hearts, my dolls are such book lovers! I knew I needed to find a way to make them a bookshelf for their doll house. When my husband tossed this into the trash can...

my mind raced to the doll house. This is the perfect size -- tall and narrow -- for making a bookshelf. I retrieved it and put it on my craft desk.

I cut it down to the size I wanted, making the depth and height the perfect size for our dolls and their doll house books. Some of the left-over pieces of the box were used to make shelves which were hot-glued into place.

I then used Mod-Podge to put into place some heavy pieces of scrap book paper, making a sort of veneer on the doll house bookshelf. One large piece, perfectly cut, slid in perfectly behind the shelves, on top of a layer of Mod-Podge, so that made the inside back of the doll house bookshelf.

To smooth the edges and give the doll house bookshelf more design I Mod-Podged little pieces of tissue paper around the edges.

I then started putting books in. Ooohh the little dolls had goosebumps when they heard about their new bookshelf!

See anything that appeals to you?

I think we would agree, this is the best corner of the doll house.

Making A Doll House Book

I've been wanting to make a little book for the dolls. One with actual pages. Thank you to Mommylion, a commenter who pointed out this mini book tutorial at Hitty Print Mini. It worked out great!

I printed the covers for the little doll house books from Hitty Print Mini and then used little strips of words cut out of a no-longer-useful book.

By the way, I am always looking for books at the thrift store that have beautiful pictures or words -- something that would be great for a doll house project, but is no longer readable. I would much rather reuse a book than to see it thrown away!

My children LOVED reading through these little doll house books. A word here or there that jumps out and makes them think of something historical!

Fun stuff. The little doll house bookshelf up next!


Monday, December 15, 2008

Tiny Little Books

I want so much to make books with pages that will open and close. I need to surf around and find a place with detailed instructions and suggestions. Until that spare moment...

this little book was simply made by printing the cover from Hitty Print Minis and then cutting pieces of paper to fit inside, stacking them evenly and setting them right into the book on a strip of hot glue run right down the middle.

I will get better at this. You know how I love books.


The Beginnings of a Faery House

Faeries don't need huge houses, of course, being such tiny creatures. And faeries just love rustic, out-of-the-way places where no one would think to look for them, like this shelf I'm turning into a faery home for Princess of the Universe.

There is SO much more I've yet to add, but wanted you to see the first layers. A tree to hide under. Pink tissue paper Mod-Podged in for the base. A bird on each level. I'll post updates as I can. Princes of the Universe has not even seen this project yet. Shhh. It's a surprise.

I think this would be a great little shelf for her art desk -- to keep her inspired.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Doll House Lanterns

Again, another sweet doll house project from Hitty Print Mini: precious little doll house paper lanterns.

We did as suggested on the website and cut off the "paper" sticks which will print out with the lantern. (You'll know what I mean if you look at them on the website.) Instead, we hot-glued toothpicks into place after cutting the ends off the toothpicks with scissors.

Okay, time for a disclaimer: Ends of toothpicks are sharp and should not be left on the floor to be stepped on. They can be dangerous. Cut over the trash can so that all sharp pieces go into the trash. Secondly, moms, do the cutting. Not children. Also ALWAYS supervise the use of hot glue guns. They are not for children without supervision.

We used just a dab of glue inside each corner to attach our little strings for these two doll house lanterns. They will probably hang up in the dolll house somewhere near the door or in a doll's bedroom.

The Well Read Doll

My dear friend Michele at Smile, Wink, Nod posted a wonderful link today, so I have to thank her for helping me find this! How could I have missed this sweet bunch of miniature printables at Hitty Print Mini? Oh, never mind, at least I know about it now! And I thought you would want to know as well.

Today we made the dolls a bunch of books for the doll house!

These were so cute printed out!! A page of book covers. I simply cut out each tiny book cover, folded it in half, and then glued it with a glue stick around a piece of nice smooth cardboard (think thick card stock).

Just to show you how mini they really are.

You know now I must make a doll house bookshelf. These dolls love books! I love these dolls.


Wall Papering The Doll House

Today my daughter and I wall papered the doll house (bookshelf) that had not yet been papered! This is something we have been wanting to do for a while. Yesterday we made a trip to the Scrap Exchange to pick up odds and ends, just perfect for doll house stuff. We left there with a roll of left-over wall paper. It's plain but fancy. You'll see what I mean.

First I measured the inside of each room: height and length around the three walls. Then I cut.

We used a paint brush to brush glue onto the walls inside the dall house, one room at a time, then we smoothed our wall paper into place.

The last thing we did was to draw beautiful doll house windows with our Prang colored pencils and art paper. We cut the windows out and "installed" one in each room of the doll house using Mod-Podge.
The window in the second picture is top is mine. I'll have to give you a close-up later. It's a delicate tree outside with a cardinal in it. My daughter's window, the one in the third picture, is lovely. I love it! There a "huge oak" outside, and a sunset.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Doll House General Store

The dolls are busy this week building a doll house general store. Yesterday I had the occasion to be in A.C. Moore and I saw the most adorable little doll house cash register and jar of candy canes.

As a bit of "building background" the general store will be located in a shelf I found on sale some months back at an antique store. This shelf, which serves as even more rooms for doll house adventures, I think was an old cabinet with doors -- thinking maybe 50s or 60s. It was cleaned up and painted and sold to me! But I'm sure one could be found at a thrift store as well for even less. Just be patient and keep looking!

You can see Princess of the Universe playing in front of the shelf, on which sits the doll house. It no longer holds books and toys, but is a wonderful extension of the doll house.

Anyway, I had to travel out of my snuggly old home yesterday for a work meeting, and on the way I stopped at A.C. Moore to see if any doll house things caught my eye. It took awhile, but finally the candy canes spoke to me the loudest. And then the cash register.

For just a few dollars, every once in a while, I love to find little things to bring home to Princess of the Universe and her dolls. Little things like this add a fine touch to the doll house that I cannot always figure out on my own.

Upon examining the cute little cash register, the wheels in each of our minds began turning. I'm not sure who thought of it exactly, but we decided to install a doll house general store beneath the dolls' home. It will be a wonderful place to put "leftover" furniture, lamps, and of course the supplies that any doll family would need.

I promise you'll see pictures soon of the Doll House General Store, as well as some other things we've worked on.

A doll house is such a useful thing.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Soapbox For A Doll Bed

The doll will literally get on her soapbox with this project. Well, maybe in the soapbox.

I found the most beautiful boxed soap not long ago at Marshall's. The soap smelled divine and I just knew the box would be the perfect size for a doll house bed.

I only used the bottom half of the box for this. My daughter decided to use the lid of the box to make her own project. More on that later.

First I cut a strip of fabric to go about one and a half times around the bed (box). I then basted it with a large stitch so that I could gather it a bit. I then carefully glued it around the lower outside of the box to make a dust ruffle. The pink paisley print at the bottom is what was used for this step.

After that I took a pretty tieback that was cut from a thrifted curtain, pressed it with the iron and cut it to fit perfectly around the box for a trim to cover the glued portion of the dust ruffle. This trim was hot glued into place as well.

Two nice large buttons were glued -- one on each end of the box -- for decoration.

I then cut a mattress out of some red ticking I had in the scrap box. The mattress is deep and shaped like a real mattress. The top and bottom pieces of fabric were cut to fit perfectly into the box with just enough room for a seam. Then a strip as deep as the box was cut to go all the way around the box to make the "side" of the mattress. It was sewed together first by making a seam in the side strip, then sewing (right sides together) the top to the strip, then (again right sides together) the bottom piece to the side strip, leaving a small opening to turn the mattress and stuff the mattress and then sew it up by hand.

The legs on the bed are long wooden beads, hot glued into place.

The last step was to make a sheet and a little downy pillow. Princess of the Universe LOVED it and was inspired to make her own bed. We'll be posting about that later.


PS - As always, a reminder to supervise all use of glue guns and craft materials and scissors and sewing machines when working with children.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

She's Come Home

Today my daughter and I found a beautiful doll at the thrift store. For 99 cents, we brought her home to her very own doll house. She immediately had a family to invite her in.

She's beautiful and exotic. The other dolls loved her immediately.

Friday, November 28, 2008

How We Made Our Doll House

First of all, I don't have the money to buy a 200-dollar wooden doll house kit. And secondly, right now I don't have the time to put together a kit like that. I needed a simple and inexpensive way for us to have a fun, usable doll house. The perfect thing ended up being a small wooden bookshelf like you can buy at A.C. Moore or Michaels. I realize that even these can seem expensive, but we found one of ours at the thrift store. The second one I bought new, but if you check your Sunday paper, oftentimes you'll find really good coupons for stores like A.C. Moore and Michaels.

You can see us sitting in front of it playing. It is not fancy, but there are so many crafting hours and good memories tied up in this doll house. I believe that someday I'll have a fancy doll house -- maybe for grandchildren, or maybe for my daughter and me to work on when she's in her teens, or grown. For now, though, this is perfect. We made a trip to a store that sells scraps from area businesses and stocked up on paper, wallpaper supplies, little carpet pieces and little pieces of wood. A thrift store offers much the same by way of old books that you can get pictures from, fabrics that can be cut up and reused, and little miscellaneous items that can be recycled into doll house furniture. Get creative!

In addition to the wooden shelves (if you want to go totally frugal) we decorated two cardboard boxes as two little "loft" rooms that sit, one atop each wooden shelf. We used glue -- you can use either fabric glue or a hot glue gun (just be careful and supevise!) -- to apply the fabric. The room above is nothing more than adecorated cardboard box.

We have splurged from time to time and bought some wooden pieces new (remember those coupons and always look for sales). We've also judiciously picked out some wooden pieces at The Dollar Tree. Some of the above we made ourselves, and I'll post individual instructions about what we all we make.

The kitchen probably holds the least homemade furniture. It is also, for now, a room that's not fully decorated yet. As for the furniture, we lucked out and found the big stove at the thrift store for 99 cents. The table and stools against the wall were a gift. They are currently decorated for Christmas with pipe cleaners. (Remember it's a 10-year-old girl decorating the rooms.) The pretty green table and chairs were a splurge with a coupon.

Another cardboard room (above), the bathroom, with a pretty fireplace made from a paper-towel roll. I'll post instructions on making this later. My daughter likes for this to be the bathroom so the dolls can be warmed by the fire when they get out of the tub. The tub is a recycled soap dish from the thrift store.

One of the rooms in the wooden shelf (above). Do you see Santa hanging by the chimney? Mother is sitting by and the kids are in bed. Perhaps she is making sure they go to sleep. This room has been wall papered with wall paper scraps and glue. The windows were drawn first on drawing paper with colored pencils and then cut out and Mod-Podged into place on the walls. The same goes for the pretty fireplace. My daughter made the large bed out of a recycled metal tin.

All of the above was inexpensive and fun! It just takes time, but the memories you'll create and the talks you'll share make it so much better than something ready-made.


PS - Disclaimer: Please just remember to always supervise the use of craft supplies, scissors, glue and glue guns, etc. And remember that small pieces represent a choking hazard for small children. Supervise. :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Beautiful Baby Cradle

Not too long ago I found a sweet little baby cradle at the thrift store. There was no mattress, no veil -- just a plain plastic cradle. I knew we'd fix it right up! The picture above shows you the view from the baby's head end of the cradle. I cut this clear piece of material to fit loosely over, hemmed it, added some antique-looking ribbon trim and then put a snap closure so my daughter can close it snugly around the crib. Mosquitoes drive the dolls crazy sometimes.

When baby wakes up, the veil can easily be placed back out of the way.

The make this light, airy material hang down arond the cradle, we sewed on two pretty card decorations I had at my art desk.

The veil was placed evenly over the little post at the cradle top and hot-glued into place with just a small drop of glue. This little birdie was also hot-glued into place. The baby loves watching the little bird.

Baby, of course, sleeps in mommy and daddy's room. They want her close by.