Thursday, June 27, 2013

How To Make a Nail File For Your American Girl Doll

As part of the spa day set I made, I created a doll-sized nail file.  Here is a step-by-step guide you can use to make your own.

A big thank you to my husband, who made the nail file so that I could photograph each step!

First, gather your materials.  You will need tiny craft sticks, sticky glitter tape, paper scissors, an X-acto knife, and a cutting board.  If you are a child, or clumsy like I am, get an adult to do the X-acto knife cutting!  I found my craft sticks and glitter tape at Michael's.

Using your scissors, cut a length of the glitter tape a little longer than the length of your craft stick.  Peel off the paper backing and stick the craft stick to the back (non-glitter side) of the tape.  Press firmly!  Using the X-acto knife and the cutting board, neatly and carefully cut off the excess paper.  Repeat these steps for the other side of the craft stick so that both sides are covered.





If you can't find any sticky glitter tape, or don't like this look, you can use small pieces of scrapbooking paper and a Xyron sticker maker and follow a similar process.

You may use these instructions but may not copy the written directions.  Please give credit to cutie pie & me as the pattern designer and link back to these instructions.  Thank you.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How to Make an American Girl Doll Spa Day Gift

Last month my daughter's friend had a spa-themed birthday party.  For her gift I created some spa-themed clothes and accessories for her American Girl doll.

I made her some pajamas using instructions available from Liberty Jane.


Next, I made a towel and headband using these instructions, which I modified slightly to get the looks I wanted.  I used a white hand towel for fabric and lined it with white knit.



I cut up a teal washcloth and remade it into a small towel and washcloth for the doll.  It looked sort of cute when I was done, but I don't know that I'd attempt it again, or at least not the way I did it.  It would need major modifications.  

I used a printable from Doll Diaries to make cucumber slices for the eyes.  I printed it out twice, cut out all the cucumbers, stuck clear contact paper on the fronts, then used my Xyron sticker maker to make the backs sticky, and finally stuck them to pieces of felt so that they were thicker.  I would have tried craft foam instead of the felt, but I didn't have any green while I was working on this.  I also cut out the spa menu from the printable and put clear contact paper on that as well.  Finally, I cut out the eye mask shape from the printable and used it to create a reversible eye mask from fabric.  I used part of the white hand towel for one side and a lavender satin for the back.




Finally, I found a tiny bottle of nail polish at Wal-Mart and I made a nail file to finish it off.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

New American Girl Science Set and more!

After waiting so long to actually gain admittance into the AG Place, we went on a mini shopping spree.  We bought the new science set, the new backpack set, the hair braid, the hair bun, souvenir shirt, mini doll carrier, Saige's dog, Julie's bunny, and some of Addy's items.  It seems like Addy's items just keep going away quietly, so I wanted to get some while I could.  I really wanted to get Addy's doll Ida Bean, but couldn't find it in the store.  I finally asked an employee, who didn't know what I was talking about.  She went to ask someone else, then came back and told me that it was archived.  Hmm...it's still on the AG website, so I guess I'd better order it there quickly.

Here are photos and thoughts on the modern things that we bought.  First up is the Science Lab Set, for $36. 

Here is what came in the box:  safety glasses, test tubes and stand,
book, apron, microscope, and box of slides.

This microscope looks so cool!  The knob turns a little,
but I couldn't get it to actually focus or really even show the "slides".

The box of "slides".  They are just paperboard or wobbly plastic.



The Scott Foresman science book.

The real first few chapters are inside the book!

Here are the test tubes and stand.

The back of the apron.  Two Velcro closures.

We did not buy this, but I thought it was interesting.
They had it set up behind the stable.

Next up is the new back pack set.   I wasn't intending to buy this until I noticed that it was my daughter's fourth grade math book that came with it.  We moved states and schools partway through her 4th grade year and both schools used this book!


For $28, the backpack, three faux mechanical pencils, lined paper
notebook, water bottle, and math book.

Has the real first few chapters in it!  I love math!
Cute pencils!
I was really excited about the new hairpieces.  There are the Chic Bun, Braided Headband, and the colored hair extensions (not pictured.)  The bun and headband were in four different shades, I think.  We got the dark brown bun and the blonde braided headband.

  
Directions for braid.  It was pretty hard to get on the doll's head.
Not much give.
Our doll Kelly wearing the braided headband.
Also pictured is Saige's dog.  It's so fluffy!

Close-up of doll in braided headband.  It's a pretty good match.
Probably wouldn't look so good on the really light blond dolls.
I was surprised at how hard it was to put on.

Here is the back of the bun package.

Are you kidding me??  Just sliding it out of the package it did this.  GRR.

First step, as directed.

Second step, bottom comb in.

Top sort of on.  Not a perfect match, and EXTREMELY hard to get on the doll's hair.  This is an older doll with a thicker wig than my newer dolls have.  Maybe it would fit the newer dolls better, but I wouldn't buy this ever again--too fragile, expensive, and majorly hard to put on.

Souvenir shirt and mini doll bag pictured.  The souvenir shirt is
really tight fitting.
I LOVE this mini doll bag.  It is adorable!



Monday, June 24, 2013

The NOT-SO-GRAND American Girl Place Columbus Grand Opening

We had an unexpected free weekend, so we decided to drive to Columbus, Ohio to attend the American Girl Place grand opening.  When we lived in Maryland, we attended the grand opening of the Washington, D.C. store (view post here) so we thought we knew what to expect.  The D.C. opening impressed me with how smoothly everything was run. Unfortunately, the Columbus opening left me highly disappointed.  They clearly underestimated how many people planned to attend and did not plan well for contingencies AT ALL.  For those of you who have not attending an AG opening before, you have to get in line to receive a ticket to enter the store.  Tickets are issued in groups.  In D.C., each group was 200 people.  In Columbus, each group was 50 people.  After you get the ticket, you then wait for your group number to be admitted to the line to enter the store.  

Anyway, we got there and got our tickets around 4:30 and the store was open until 9 pm. The lady gave us tickets for group 90 and said it would be close whether we were admitted or not based on how it was going.  Apparently when they got to group 80 (around 1 pm based on what people we talked to said), they were already saying that you may not get into the store.  So you wait and wait and wait and see all these excited but somewhat wary looking little girls, hoping their dreams aren't about to be crushed.  Shortly after 8 pm, they announced that group 83 was the last group to be able to line up.  Everyone else with a ticket was left with...NOTHING.  They did hand out the free gift to any girl who wanted one.  It was the Rebecca Just for Fun book that is on clearance for $4 on their website.

What really made me angry was that they continued to issue tickets to people even though they knew AG would likely not be honoring them.  After the announcement that no one else would be admitted, there were angry parents, sobbing children, and oddly cheerful crowd control employees.  The crowd people refused to honor the existing tickets the next day or offer new tickets for Sunday to anyone who had been waiting 4-7+ hours for nothing on Saturday.  I would really like the powers that be at American Girl to explain why on earth they just kept issuing tickets instead of saying, "Sorry, we're at capacity for today."  Why issue a ticket you're not planning to honor?  Why raise the hopes of all those children only to dash them and anger their parents in the process?  Why make all these people wait the better part of the day for nothing?  They clearly did not plan well and did not have any back up plan.

We've been shoppers at American Girl for around 10 years, this was our fifth location visited, and we have never received such poor service from them.  But, since we drove four hours for this and were lucky enough to have a hotel room for the night, we decided to try again Sunday.  My wonderful husband got in line at 6:30 am Sunday morning for the 8 am ticket process.  We got group 2 and were admitted shortly after the 10 am opening.

The store was packed and it is a fairly small store.  We entered the store in the historical and book section.  I found the historical section to be laid out quite oddly.  Instead of having each doll's items all together, it was grouped into little displays, like all dolls' bedding-type items together, all dolls' school-type items together, etc.  Mixed into all of this was the girl of the year section.  The salon and doll t-shirt area adjoined part of the historical section, which made it even harder to navigate.  The registers were in the middle of the store, then in the back part was the today items, bistro, and Bitty Baby and Twin stuff.  The Bistro in this store is microscopic!!

I only got one picture in the store since it was very difficult to navigate with so many people in it, let alone try to get a clear shot.  This one took me three tries before people didn't walk in front of us.

After the disappointment of the day before, the staff inside the store operated at the level of service we have come to expect.  While my daughter and I were shopping, she managed to lose our doll's glasses.  We tried to find them, then asked for help.  The first man we asked was only a stock person, so he got a shopping assistant to help us.  We waited quite a while, then another lady came to help us.  She took my name and number so that we could finish our shopping.  Long story short, we received the call that the glasses had been found and we had to ask for Loss Prevention to retrieve them.  That took another four employees, but we did get the glasses back mostly unscathed.  One of the lenses got scratched.  The initial employee who helped us and talked to my daughter was named Brittany.  She remembered my daughter's name and recognized her over half an hour later while we were in the checkout.  So, yay Brittany!