Friday, October 5, 2012

American Doll clothes for pennies

Sophie is one admittedly unstylish American Girl knock-off.

Since she joined our family two years ago, she's gotten not one name-brand outfit.

Sure, Santa's bought her an outfit or two, and she got a Girl Scout sweatshirt for a birthday. But largely she's been spared of high-priced duds.

Lately my daughter has been begging for more clothes for Sophie. Admittedly these can quickly break the bank. But I found a simple solution: hand-sewn clothes for pennies.

Liberty Jane offers a small selection of free doll clothes patterns on its website. I downloaded the pants and tank top patterns and used some worn khaki shorts of mine to make a pair of pants and a pair of khaki shorts. Sophie also got several tank tops and T-shirts cut from a layered shirt she'd taken a pair of fabric scissors too, and she'll also be getting a swimsuit this Christmas season too.

The patterns are fairly easy for a rusty sewer to work with; in fact, I hand-sewed mine while catching up on Revolution. The only out-of-pocket costs were for elastic.

So if you have an hour to spare and an old piece of clothing, you might consider reinventing it as a Christmas present for your favorite American Girl-type doll.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Book character costumes from the closet

Costumes - whether for Halloween, school plays or book character day - don't come cheap. But a little creativity can help your little girl become a favorite literary character. Here are a few ideas that don't involve a trip to the store, nor a hunt for a fairy or princess costume:

Junie B. Jones: Cardigan, T-shirt, skirt, socks pulled up, dress shoes and hair bow. Combed hair or matched items not necessary!

Fancy Nancy: Take your pick of your frilliest accessories to dress up your fanciest of skirts: baudy necklaces, clip-on earrings, hair bows and barettes, dress shoes. The more details the better!

Thing 1 and Thing 2: Repurpose two long-sleeve red shirts and write "Thing One" and "Thing Two" on the front. Use hair products to create a wild look!

From Winnie the Pooh: Abbie at the Farmers Daughter quickly created a Kanga costume from a sweatsuit.

Little Mermaid: Take that old prom dress or other formal and convert it into a mermaid costume.

Star Wars: OK, in my world, it's a stretch, but given the popularity of the book series, I'll add it too. Here, Suburban Greenmom shows off her Annakin Skywalker costume.

Robin Hood and Friar Tuck: Dressed from old PJs and mom's T-shirts.

And of course, there's the simplicity of the eternal vampire.

What are your favorite costumes that came from the closet?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Excavating the Apple Mummy

Making mummies is not one of my usual fall activities for fun, but it made quite the splash for my family earlier this year.
Although my daughter's class learned about Egyptian mummies in mid-winter, I thought it was appropriate to share as Halloween approaches. It's a simple science project that's easy enough for curious kindergarteners and first-graders. My 4 year old even enjoyed the daily excavation of the mummy for his sister's homework:

How to make your "mummy:"

Slice one apple in half, and place in a bowl, covering it in salt (1-2 lbs.). You can check the apple daily to see its progress toward "mummification" as the water is drawn from the fruit. Here's how it checked out after a week: