Tuesday, October 23, 2012

YouTube Tuesday! Halloween 2012

First a quick note to all my loyal fans. My Granny (who is 92) injured her leg just recently and I'm on the Granny-Care rotation which means I will be spending at least 3 days with her this week and probably at least 3 next week, maybe 4. Her leg will be fine but as a loyal granddaughter my obligation is to help in her care and recuperation, which will probably last a couple of weeks before she can get around on her own again. Right now she's using a walker and sometimes a wheelchair. So anyway, family has to come first and I know y'all will understand when posts are hit and miss for the next couple of weeks. We have complete confidence that she will make a full recovery, but her knee is swollen right now and it's hard to walk on, which makes it hard to do everything else in life such as washing the dishes, hanging the laundry on the line, taking a bath or shower, cooking, getting from one room to the next, changing the channel on the TV etc. Until she's able to do for herself, I'll be on the rotation schedule along with my aunts.

Now onto our main theme. Our good and faithful and extremely talented HardyGirl66 has been working overtime on a brand new Halloween Video, that right, Brand New! She made a super video last year which I shared earlier this month. This month however, she has exceeded our greatest expectations! She has created the piece de resistance! The epic 1970's Halloween Extravaganza. You can check it out below. Also be sure to visit YouTube and leave her some feedback. Feedback feeds the imagination of our beloved YouTubers. If we want more videos we must feed the ones who create such treasures for our viewing pleasure. So be sure to let Sharry (aka HardyGirl66) know what you think of her 1970's Halloween Carnival!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Flashback Friday: Niya's Lost Profile

Zodiac Sign: Capricorn

Birthstone: Turquoise

Hair: Straight Black

Eyes color: Brown

Hometown: Springfield

Favorite color: The rainbow

Pets: Brown and white horse named Polly

Family: No siblings, but she has a lot of cousins that come every week to visit.

Best Day: When her father offered her Polly. He gave her some lessons to ride the horse and now they ride together all the time. She loves spending time with her father.

She likes: Playing with her cousins, taking care of Polly, making jewelry with colorful pearls and beads, & brushing and braiding her long black hair.

Pet Peeves: When people leave their garbage in the forest, & the noise of the thunder.

Dream: Working in the National park to protect the forests and save the animals.

Best Friends: Amanda, Madison, Lindsey, Gina, Stacy

Favorite Outfits:

Hanging Out: Fringed top and skirt, moccasins and headband

* * *

Like Gina, Niya was discontinued a few years back. I was really disappointed because to me she was such a fun character. Her hair is different from the current Maria's because Niya's is rooted in a permanent part from the front all the way to the back, which leaves big bald spots that have to be covered up when styling her hair. The easiest way I found to cover the bald spots is to style her hair in 2 braids or 2 pigtail. Because of this Niya's hair is less versatile than Maria's hair. One thing I always did like about Niya is that she had no bangs. I don't wear bangs myself and never have. I like that Niya didn't have bangs and I like that Maria doesn't either.

Even though Niya has been discontinued you can still buy her at Sunshine Crafts. They have a small supply left and they are on sale for under $20, which is a super bagain. They also have Gina and all the other Springfield girls too.

If you don't have access to a Niya doll then Maria (Sofia) makes a great alternative. Her hair is easily braided and she can be a Native American doll in a heartbeat. Because of her hair and coloring she can stand in for a lot of different nationalities including Native American, Latino, Indian (from India), Middle Eastern, Egyptian, Bi-Racial or Multi-Ethnic, African American, and some Asian nationalities. I miss Niya, but feel that Maria is a good replacement for her, and because of the difference in the rooting of her hair, it's my opinion that Maria is perhaps more flexible and has more play value. Niya was a lovely doll though and I'm glad I was able to make her part of my collection.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

YouTube Tuesday: Springfield Collection Sportswear

This is my Youtube Video of Springfield Collection Activewear & Sportswear. Hope you enjoy it!

All of these items are available from the Springfield Store, or Sunshine Crafts or your local craft store like Michaels or AC Moore. Since making this video there are a few other Sportwear items available, like ballet shoes and a new yoga outfit.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Make It Yourself Monday: Niya's Native American Outfit

AG doll Kaya -- Niya Dressed In My Pattern -- Niya Undressed

I wanted to share a pattern I've been working on the past week, but I didn't have it done in time, so I'm sharing a pattern that I has posted a few months back before the great delete of grief.

PDF File
I grew up with a very odd mixture of Native American culture, Fundamental Christian culture and Wicaan culture, which has given me an ecclectic world view as an adult. My great grandpa was Cherokee who was raised white, and his daughter, my Granny (now 92), decided as a girl to be mostly white, which was probably easiest for her, considering the times she lived through. She remains mostly white to this day, except when she goes to PowWow, when she is all Indian. My mom and my aunts are sometimes white and sometimes Indian, which after talking to other people of mixed heritage, I found out is pretty normal. I'm white. I know because when I tried to be Indian as a teenager I was imperiously informed by an Indian girl who was half and half that I was too white to be Indian. Then later, when I was at a powwow with my oldest son, who was 7 at the time and who thought being indian was the greatest thing he'd ever discovered, we were both informed by the PowWow leader that we were too white to be Indian. So, I'm not Indian, but some of my people are. Just like I'm not Wiccan, but some of my people are that too. Mostly I'm anabaptist, but that's neither here nor there.
My point to all of this background information is that I'm especially fond of Native American Culture and I thoroughly enjoyed the stories of the American Girl doll Kaya. A few years back Springfield used to make a native american doll named Niya. I plan on sharing her lost profile this Friday. She is the doll I used as my model for this pattern.
The pattern for Niya's clothes is my own invention, designed after looking at several patterns for Indian Princess doll costumes. The fabric was purchased on sale at my local fabric store. It took less than 1/2-yard for the dress and overlay. I think the material was intended as an upholstery fabric, but I could be wrong. It's stiffer than ultra suede, similar to microsuede, only not as expensive as most microsuede I've seen. The trim came from AC Moore. It's a cream colored cotton braid. I accented the front of the cape with small strips of red leather cord topped with a plastic gold bead. It was very challenging to sew through the red leather cord and if I had it to do over again I would choose yarn or even ribbon. Anything that is easier to sew. I only did 3 because it was so hard to get the needle through the red leather cord. The necklace is made from inexpensive glass beads strung on a thin elastic thread. I have a lot of them leftover from kid and craft projects over the years. The hair ornaments are big plastic buttons that were found on sale at Hancock fabrics about 15 years ago. They have lurked in my button tin until I rescued them for this project. I ran a short length of elastic thread through the button shank and then tied it and trimmed the ends. They fit on her braids like any elastic hair band would. The ends of her braids are tied with simple cotton string. Kiyah's boots are inexpensive Springfield doll boots I bought at a going-out-of-business sale at a craft shop in the late 90's. I stashed them with my doll stuff until bringing them out for this project.

The outfit I designed isn't associated with any particular tribe. It's modest and the cape gives it double coverage, which my inner anabaptist finds very pleasing. If you're making a historical character, this pattern can be made suitable for both Pocahontas and Sacajawea by using different colored fabric and varying the trim. I think an ecru or ivory fabric would be great for Pocahontas.  A darker color would do for Sacajawea since she is traveling. A baby in a papoose would be a fun and historically accurate addition to Sacajawea's ensemble. Felt is inexpensive and widely available at craft stores in 36-inch square yard packages. It is very easy to work with, especially for beginners. It would work perfectly for this dress.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Flashback Friday: Amanda's Lost Profile

Abby used to be named Amanda. Before that, when Springfield Dolls were kits to be stuffed and sewn together, she was named Sarah. She's always had blond hair and blue eyes, although it was curly for a little while, when she was in kit form. Amanda's profile is very sweet. I love that she has two cats and hopes to be a veterinarian when she grows up. I also find it amusing that she wishes her hair was curly, the way it used to be, back when she was Sarah.  Compare this profile with Abby's Current Profile. There are  still a few similarities, for one, her favorite color is still blue!

Zodiac Sign: Aries

Birthstone: Diamond
Hair: Straight Blonde (she wishes it was curly!)
Eyes color: Blue

Hometown: Springfield
Favorite color: Blue
Pets: 2 cats named Tabby and Magic
Family: Younger brother that she loves to play games with after school.
Best Day: When her Mom organized her surprise birthday party. All her friends came and got to spend the night! They had pizza, and played games all night!
Favorite Activities: Going shopping with her Mom, watching cartoons, playing with her cats, going to her tennis class with her friend Gina, & going Ice skating with all her best friends.
Pet Peeves: When her bedroom is messy and getting in trouble.
Her dream: To be a veterinarian and save all the animals living in Springfield.
Best Friends: Madison, Lindsey, Gina, Stacy, Niya
Favorite Outfits:
Dressing Up: White dress with flower in her hair, white teardrop shoes.
Hanging Out: Denim jacket, heart top, skirt and tennis shoes.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

No updates today

No new updates today or tomorrow. There will be one on Friday, and then none until Monday of next week. I'm working on some projects and need time to complete them. :-)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

You Tube Tuesday: 1970's Halloween Party

This is one of my absolute favorites of Sharry's Springfield Doll Videos. This has all the classic 70's accoutrements and the Ben Cooper Halloween costumes are a special treat. I had a Ben Cooper costume for a fairy princess when I was a girl. I felt like I was the most beautiful princess from a fairytale that the world had ever witnessed. I had all but forgotten how special and beautiful I felt in that princess costume. Sharry's video brought back that memory and so many more of Halloweens past. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did!

In case you're interested, here is the preview of the video, which gives you all the behind the scenes action!

Thanks for sharing Sharry!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Make It Yourself Monday: Free 18-inch Doll Patterns Online

When I started sewing for dolls I didn't even understand that things like patterns existed. After a few years of muddling about on my own I discovered that library books had patterns and that these patterns could be used to make doll clothes, usually much fancier than the items I had managed on my own. When I started using patterns I found a whole new world of fashion for my dolls. I could hardly fathom the avenues of discovery opening before me. After a couple of years of learning to follow patterns I realized that if I could find a pattern for a specific type of garment, I could make that garment for my doll. It was like inventing the wheel and the light bulb, all in one afternoon with my sewing basket.

My earliest avenues in sewing were accomplished with a needle and thread. I spent an entire decade learning all about how to use that needle and thread to make all kinds of doll clothes. It was slow going, but extremely accurate and it gave me a clear understanding of clothing construction. Learning to sew doll clothes was the best primer possible for learning to sew people clothes.

Since patterns were such an eyeopener for me I am eager to share them with others. Below you'll find a selection of free patterns that are available online.

American Girl Playthings offers all PDF versions for the original Pleasant Company historical patterns for Addy, Samantha, Felicity, Josefina, Kirsten and Molly. They are found on the Doll Dress Pattern Page.  I've made several of these and they seem to fit Springfield Dolls very well.

InfiniteFreedom.com provides a very nice dropped waist dress pattern in American Girl size on their Free Pattern & Sewing Challenges page. I've made this pattern several times. It goes together quickly and fits Springfield dolls nicely.

Sewing.org has lots of free patterns. On their Dolls & Toys page they offer 3 free PDF patterns to fit American Girl dolls, including fancy collars, a bib collar and a gorgeous Spring Dress. A good pattern for basic panties is included in the Spring Dress pattern set.

Stitch N Stuff provides a basic, easy doll shoe sized for 18-inch dolls.

Trillium Design has a doll T-shirt tutorial including a T-Shirt pattern. This is made from knit fabric. Good way to upcycle t-shirts your kids have outgrown.

New Green Mama provides it's own T-shirt tutorial and another T-shirt pattern. This is also made from knit fabric. This pattern does not have separate sleeves so it might be easier for beginners.

Liberty Jane patterns provides a free pattern for a Drawstring Dress. I haven't made any LJ patterns yet myself, but I hear rave reviews of them. They have other free patterns too including a t-shirt, polo shirt and swimsuit. They also offer free patterns for other 18-inch dolls including Carpatina and BFC Ink.

Sew Like My Mom has a free pattern for the sweetest, prettiest summer dress. She calls it the Katie Dress in honor of her niece. This dress has a sleeveless bodice, pleated skirt and for a designer touch an underlay of either rick-rack or piping. It closes in the back with a zipper. Melissa is a talented seamstress with a great imagination!

Carpatina provides a pattern for this cute Summer Dress. it's sized for Slender Body Carpatina or Magic Attic dolls, but they provide instructions for enlarging it for chubby Springfield Dolls or AG dolls.

YouCanMakeThis.com has several free downloads for 18-inch dolls. Most of them are based on the Twirls for Girls pattern. You must sign up to gain access to the downloads, but there's little trouble in that. The patterns are very well made and the instructions are a delight to behold. There are also Halloween and Christmas variations available for free download. These skirts would be a great way to use up scraps of fabric.

Piecelove.net (don't you just love that name, I want to turn that name into a cuddly blanket and crawl under it during a snow storm) Has an adorable dress that I call a Tulip dress because the skirt of the dress looks like upside down tulip petals to me. This is a great pattern for using up small scraps of fabric, of which I have an ever growing, overflowing box full. The instructions are as beautiful as the dress. Shannon is terribly talented and kind enough to share her projects with the rest of us.

Oliverands.com provides a free pattern for both a doll dress and a matching girls dress. The doll dress is on the last page of the pattern and teaches you how to make your own bias binding. This is a very  handy skill to learn. As you can see in the picture above, Oliver + S has paired their summer dress with a cute pair of Springfield Collection clogs.
Miss Maggie's Free 18" Doll Clothes Patterns can be found here. I have several free patterns for doll clothes and doll dresses, most in PDF format so they're printable. 
When I was learning how to sew I desperately needed patterns. I hope you enjoy this collection of doll clothes as much as I've enjoyed compiling it. I know there are some that I've missed, but I couldn't find them this time around. If you know of any other free patterns please share them in the comment section. Thank-you!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Flashback Friday: Gina's Lost Profile

Gina has been discontinued but is still one of my favorite dolls.
Don't you love that groovy belt!

If you've seen the Springfield Collection Doll named Maria (or Sofia), then you've seen the doll that Gina turned into. Actually, when Gina was first introduced her hair was styled just like Maria's is styled now. She had no bangs, and her body had stuffed upper-arms and upper-legs. She was from the 2nd Generation of Springfield Collection dolls, the ones that were pre-stuffed, but still had the old-style bodies. Only the lower arms and lower legs were plastic, the rest of their bodies were stuffed. When the 3rd Generation of Springfield Dolls was introduced Gina got bangs as well as full plastic arms and legs. This is the classic Gina, the Gina who's my favorite. Although Gina has been discontinued, if you want a Gina of your very own Sunshine Crafts still has a few in stock.

To me Gina is the closest that Springfield has ever come to an Asian doll. My BFF in real life is filipino and I am routinely frustrated that Springfield doesn't offer a doll who looks like her. Lots of parents at my church have adopted baby girls from China. Right now they are buying Madame Alexander dolls from Walmart, which are least expensive Asian dolls currently available. One day I hope that Gina will be made again, with light skin and her silky black hair with bangs, so that all of the beautiful Asian girls who long for a Springfield Collection Doll who looks like them, will finally have one of their own. I don't know if Springfield has much of an overseas market, but if they do, there must be a huge demand for a light skinned Gina. Also, I admit, that I want a Gina doll who looks like my BFF, who is named Rina (note the similarity--Gina & Rina). Then I can do Maggie & Rina doll fashion shows, and maybe add a Maria (or Julie) doll too, and do Maggie & Rina & Sharry doll fashion shows. Now wouldn't that be something?

While I go on dreaming, I'll share Gina's lost profile for the rest of you.


Zodiac Sign: Libra

Birthstone: Sapphire

Hair: Straight Black

Eyes color: Brown

Hometown: Springfield

Favorite color: Pink

Family: Older brother and Younger sister.

Pets: 2 parrots named Papaya & Mango.

Best Day: When she got her two parrots.

Favorite Activities: Dancing hip hop, playing tennis, watching movies with her little sister Kelly, preparing Sunday breakfast with her Mom, training her parrots Papaya and Mango to say “hello”, “love you”, “gimme a kiss”, and “pretty bird”.

Pet Peeves: Having her hair in a ponytail, and losing a tennis match against Amanda (but it's ok because they are best friends).

Her Dream: Being a professional hip hop dancer!

Best Friends: Stacy, Amanda, Niya, Madison, Lindsey

Favorite Outfits:

      Dressing Up: Mini denim skirt with heart top.

      Hanging Out: Denim Jeans with, tee and brown Mary Jane shoes.

* * *

Compare this profile with Maria's current profile. I couldn't find any similarities. Could you?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

No Updates today

Blog on hiatus today due to emergency tooth extraction yesterday. One of my wisdom teeth, which was just coming in, hit a nerve and it hurt almost as bad as early labor pains. Ouch! My dentist worked me into his schedule, (Thanks Dr. Reynolds!), my tooth was extracted, and I'm still recovering today.  Tomorrow's post is already written and will post itself automatically. Then there won't be any new ones until Monday. Thanks for your prayers and well-wishes.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Get out your clicker finger . . .

I received this email from Sharry earlier in the week and meant to share these videos yesterday, but as usual, life gets in the way. These are a day late, but the cause is still worthy!

Hi Maggie,
This girl Ali, on YouTube, is raising money to buy 10 AG dolls to donate to toy drives around the US and Canada. The idea is that AdSense will pay Ali more money w/ all the view she gets. So could you please post these on your blog at some point w/ a message to share them w/ other people.


Happy to oblige Sharry! Here they are. Remember to spread the word!


I have to wonder though, at 20$ per doll verses $100 per doll, imagine how many more Springfield Dolls one could buy, and how many more girls who would have happy Christmas Morning with a new doll under the tree.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

You Tube Tuesday: Fall Fashions

Here is my new video. I've taken pictures of the Springfield Girls modeling ensembles made from mixing and matching Springfield Collection doll clothing. I had a lot of fun shooting this series because I got to play dolly dress-up for 2 days straight. Most of the outfit are good for Fall, but a few are more appropriate for late-summer. Where I live, in the South, it's still warm enough to get away with these warm-weather ensembles.

While you're gearing up for fall you might want to check out these fun activities from the Springfield Style Club. They have several activities perfect for the Fall Fashion Scene:

I hope the Style Club gets some fun new activities for Halloween or Harvest Festivals and Thanksgiving.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Make It Yourself Monday: Undies & Tankini

Two piece Tankini and Lacy Camisole with matching Undies

Tankini or Underwear, this easy pattern will make both. Like most dolly mommies I hate having naked dolly bodies everywhere I look. Now they can all be modestly covered while they await their fashions.
When I designed this pattern I had a few special requirements. First it had to be made from woven fabric, not knit fabric. I'm not especially handy at sewing knit fabrics and I wanted a pattern I could make time and time again, to me that meant it had to be made from simple woven fabric. Next it had to be easy for girls to put on and take off of the dolls all by themselves. Some underwear is fiddly for young girls to put on their dolls by themselves. I wanted this pattern to make child-friendly underwear because mastering the skill of dressing and undressing a doll is good for a child's self-esteem and also good for a busy mom's harried schedule. Thirdly, I wanted as few number of seams as possible, to make the sewing quick and beginner-friendly. Finally, the underwear had to be modest, but attractive and look like something that girls wear themselves. It took a bit of work, but I was pleased with my results.
The pattern I came up with fits Springfield Collection dolls perfectly. If you're dressing an American Girl doll you may need to adapt the pattern slightly for their larger waists. The underwear only has two side seams. The leg openings can be finished with a narrow hem or the raw edges can be zig-zagged and then covered with lace or rick-rack. The elasticized wasitband can be finished with a simple casing or the elastic can be stretched and sewn into place. I tried my hand at illustrating the steps of applying the elastic and y'all will have to tell me what you think of it. Do the illustrations make it easier to understand the 2 techniques or harder?
The camisole is one I designed years ago for smaller dolls and have sized it up and down many times for different types of dolls. This is the first time I've made it for 18-inch dolls and I was very pleased with the results. The camisole uses short lengths of lace or rick-rack for the shoulder straps. The top and bottom edges are zig-zagged and then covered with pretty trim. It closes in the back with Velcro or snaps.
After making the pattern a couple of times I realized that in different fabric it would make a great swimsuit, so I gave it and try and the results were excellent! Just a change in fabric and trim makes the underwear into Beach Wear!
PDF file

Closeup of Undies

Front of undies
Back of undies
Front of swimsuit bottom in underwear fabric and in swimsuit fabric.
The swimsuit pattern also makes good underwear, and the elastic might
be easier for beginners. The legs can be decorated or simply hemmed.
Back of plain underwear and swimsuit bottom

For fabrics, I found that lightweight cotton worked best for the underwear. I used bleached muslin and a thin floral print on white background. They both turned out nice. For the Tankini I used a slightly thicker fabric. The pink one pictured was made from a quilting-weight fat-quarter. The pattern used less than half a fat-quarter, so you could get at least 2 sets of underwear or two Tankinis from one fat-quarter. I think a gingham swimsuit with white rick-rack would be very cute and it would have a retro 1950's feel to it. Out of all the underwear I made, I admit that I liked the simple white ones the best. You could get really fancy with the undies and camisole if you wanted too, making them into something with more of a lingerie feel. In this case I would use white satin with white lace. Or even lightweight pink satin or cotton with white lace would be cute and stylish while being kid-friendly.

As always, if you make this pattern for your own dolls please share your results in the comment section. If you have photos you'd like to share, let me know and I'll help you include them if I can.

Official set supervisor, Mr. Poe.