Thursday, March 26, 2015

If you reached our blog via the instagram account 'ag_doll_play' and believed she was from our page, please unfollow this person.  Our Gracie is in no way associated with this account!  

EVERYONE!! PLEASE NOTE that this Instagram account is NOT ours! We do not have one. This person has implied that they are us by using our blog name, photos and linked to our blog in their bio. Please help get the word out that this isn't us! https://instagram.com/ag_doll_play/


Thanks! 

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Welcome to the Sweet Shoppe!


Amanda and her girls post of their re-creating of the GOTY's French Bakery had Zoey and I itching to play bakery at our house too! Zoey got a really nice wood stand for the dolls this Christmas and so today we turned it into a little bakery/sweet shop of sorts! We ended up taking some pictures so we thought we'd share!

Lanie was working today at the Sweet Shoppe and had an extensive list of special treats and sweets for McKenna and Nixie to choose from.



Nixie had gotten to the Sweet Shoppe a bit earlier than McKenna so she had ordered a cherry soda while waiting for her friend to arrive.


After McKenna arrived Lanie came over and asked if they were ready to order...



After getting McKenna's order and Nixie's complete order (she also got a little sweet treat to go with her soda) Lanie went back to the shoppe to get things all set for her customers.

Can you tell the Sweet Shoppe is getting ready for Valentines Day?



McKenna had ordered a fruit tart and Nixie got a special strawberry cream chocolate cookie. Mmmmm!


Nixie and McKenna really enjoyed their afternoon outing today...getting a special treat at the Sweet Shoppe was the perfect addition to their day!


They had fun talking about their plans for the upcoming holiday...Valentines Day. They are thinking it would be fun to have a big party with all of their girlfriends. Maybe they could purchase their treats for the party from the Sweet Shoppe!


Yes! That's what they are going to do! Lanie couldn't help but overhear the conversation and is so excited to be of help. She better get busy preparing lots of special treats for the big day!


What a fun time with friends...supporting each other and including one another makes everyone feel good!

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Creating a French Bakery of Our Own

With each AG release, I am always amazed by the new products American Girl creates.  The debut of Grace, girl of the year 2015, is no different.  As soon as I saw her collection, I wanted each and every piece!  I simply love each piece.  The little blender is just adorable, and the cafe table and bakery cart are darling, but the bakery is AMAZING! But, when I saw the price, I was shocked.  At $500, even if it went on sale at 30% off it would still be $350.  This is simply out of my price range, so I put my imagination to work and decided to try to make the exterior of a French Bakery as a backdrop.  But, as I got going on this project, soon I had an entire bakery!  It certainly didn't cost me anywhere near $500, but it did take me two full days to make it.

I am not going to give step by step directions, as I didn't really create a plan before I started. But, I can tell you what I used, show you pictures along the way, and tell you what I learned as I went along.


To begin, I purchased: 2 large sheets of red foam core, 3 aqua sheets of foam core, 1 black sheet of foam core.  The back of the sheets of foam core I used were white. I also bought some pre made chalkboard signs (Walmart), 'bistro' chalk board marker (I bought medium tip, but a small would be much better- my store only had med. and large) exacto knife, letter stickers for the store sign, LOTS of hot glue and a yardstick.






I began with pencil, but just till I got the hang of it.  I realized that the chalk marker is removable. The directions say with water, but once dry, I just used a pencil eraser when I messed up.

The medium tip chalk marker was too thick to write the descriptions on the menu, so I used a fine tip acrylic paint pen, but that was still a bit thick. I added the descriptions after this picture.
Using red foam core, a full sheet for the front of the bakery, I began by cutting out the rectangle windows. I actually cut one large square, then fit strips of red back in to create three windows.  I opted for squares as cutting straight lines was much easier than a curve.

I felt that the window side was a bit plain, and added an awning. I also made this out of foam core.  I cut through the top paper layer and the foam then the paper is still connected to make the front of the canopy.  I added the white to the awning with the chalk marker. I made a sign next to the window out of black tag board.  I think if would be more fun if I used chalk board paper, then the girls would be able to change the sign.  I might change this!

To make the roof, I made a long rectangle.  Figured how tall I wanted the roof, made a partial cut through the black and folded back the bottom.  This gave me a surface to glue on, and gave the roof dimension.   I drew the shingles on with a white colored pencil.   I used strips of white foam core for the trim, and clear plastic from a toy wrapper for the 'glass' in the windows. I drew the design on the store front (under the windows) with an ultra fine black sharpie. I made the sign out of the aqua foam core with stickers for the words.

Here you can see I stuck the diner inside....and realized that I need to do something with the two windows in the left. (please excuse the mess I made around my work!)
 With the outside done, I began to retro fit the interior. I used the aqua foam core to make the little shelf in front of the counter.  It squeezes perfectly into the space, so I didn't need to use any adhesive to hold it in place.  But, as I kept looking, the phone and tall wall just bothered me.  I remembered that it folds down, so that is what I did next.
 Much better!
Not perfect, my 3 donuts had to be stacked to fit in a row, but it looks pretty cute! I like having the plated dishes on the bottom and frozen deserts in the case that is part of the OG diner.
I finished off the interior, by cutting aqua foam core the same as the exterior, trimmed out the windows, added some simple décor. Then, I made a 'counter' work station over the folded wall, using some faux marble contact paper.
 I like out beverage station too!
 A view from above.

 Folded down the window by the booth, and that made it!
 
 The doll couldn't wait to get to work baking!

 A view looking in...I covered the phone and chalkboard that I folded down with aqua foam core too.
Maybe we need a sign or display in  the window, in front of the blue.  I definitely need a café table and sign, but that is for another day! Be sure to share how we inspired you!   If you don't have the OG diner, this surely could work as a bakery, you'll just have to make your own display shelves and work counter! You are welcome to share links of my post, but please do not repost my images without my permission.
 
Let me know if you have any specific questions, and I would be glad to help as best I can!
 
Thanks!
Amanda,
Gracie and Lily

Saturday, September 6, 2014

BeForever Launch

I am sorry this has taken me a week to get this put together!  The girls are back in school this week, which has been a transition for me.  In June we welcomed Lucas to our family and I am home with the new baby for the year.  Looking forward to having the time to reorganize our doll space and dedicate to playing with my girls and their dolls!

When the summer began with our new addition, it put the breaks on traveling.  The Wilmot sale took place the first week of June and there was no way I could go, so sad to have missed it!  I really was hoping to complete Saige's collection at the sale.  Her balloon and art set were the pieces I couldn't justify buying at full price and hoping I might be able to pick up at the sale~ well THEY were at the sale, but I was not.  I didn't miss out on all the AG fun, I drug my husband (with less than a happy face) with us to the MCM sale in July.  So, Lucas's first camping trip was in a parking lot, waiting in line to get AG dolls!  Baby couldn't come in though, so hubby was there to help while the girls and I shopped.  Not that we were in need of any dolls in particular, but my girls had saved up their birthday money and would have been so disappointed if we didn't go.  Now we have so many dolls they will soon be getting their own room (more to come on THAT later!)

Fast forward to August, my wonderful personal shopper Kathy from the American Girl Store in Minneapolis invited us to the 'private' pre-shopping event last Thursday as they launched the BeForever Line. It sounded like so much fun and I really wanted to go. You might remember that the two dolls that began my love of American Girl were Kirsten and Samantha, and I have loved the historical dolls ever sense. It turned out that it was not so easy to find another AG obsessed friend to come along! My daughter did bring a friend, so it was just myself and the 4 children. I had accumulated enough points on my credit card to book a room (We stayed at the econolodge- I wouldn't recommend it)  I called Kathy right away to get on the list for the mornings event and called the café to make reservations for lunch.  I couldn't drive all that way and not enjoy lunch with the dolls!

Because the EVENT was at 9AM, and I live 4 1/2 hours away, we drove over on Wednesday and decided to look around.  I wanted to have one last look at some of the things that were 'going away'.
PRE-BEFOREVER
 
Lily and Baby, Julia and Saige and Gracie with Avery and Chelsea


 These limited edition sets look so fun! (don't love the prices though!)
 We put our names in for the vacation give-a-way....

 Gracie was excited to see Carolines Skiff in person...before it was retired.


 I would LOVE this car...if only I had gotten to go to the sale this summer!  SO BUMMED!
 Bitty and Nicki joined the baby display!
A little note on the very empty Marie~Grace display said they would soon be saying farewell..
Some of the display cases were already set up and covered with this sign.
 Glad we came a day ahead,  it was empty, and we snapped some pics with Isabelle...who seems oddly small in this cut out.  The older girls in the picture are 10!!!!  Target audience for AG....or not?????  Isabelle is the size of my 7 year old!



  We sat down to dinner at the Rainforest Café and talked about what we might get tomorrow!


 
 Bringing the dolls along was so so fun!



The event was a  fun experience and brought the focus to the revamped BeForever line. I really didn't know what to expect. We arrived at the Mall just before 9 and there were already moms with their girls holding dolls milling around the entrance. We decided there was no reason to be the first through the door, and took a few minutes to oooh and aaaaah at what could be seen through the windows...a glimps of a giant plastic egg, Caroline's fancy new dress as she stood next to (Marie~Grace's???) Banquet table, and Samantha's sweet smile sparkling in one case after another.  From afar, I caught a glimps of her Ice Cream Stand and wasn't sure if that was just a display piece or something for sale.  It was for sale! Somewhere I had read that people were speculating that the 2015 GOY doll would have an ice cream stand, I don't think that will be the case.  I hope that whatever they make isn't so similar that people pass up this adorable set!  I was also surprised that Julie's car was still there, I thought it was going away.

After taking it all in, the girls giddy with excitement, posed for a few pictures. Julia with Saige, Gracie with Sophie, and Lily with Nicki!


 
 
 
 

 
As the line began moving we became excited, and tried taking a peek to see what the goodies would be!

 


 

 I LOVED this display that greeted you as you walked in the main doors.  It was a circular 'stage' with the historicals under the spotlight of the pink and red BeForever....sorry I didn't get a better shot.  It was already getting a little crowded!
 Gracie went right over to the first SAMANTHA display and you can see, she picked out one to bring home to become her first BeForever Friend ~ her BFF!
 Oh these dresses were so pretty.  But summer is nearly over and this is sleeveless!  I may pick up Josefina's dress for Christmas, Gracie was smitten with that one.

 Besides the cardboard  'treasure box' or 'trunk' that they gave the girls as they walked in the door, there were free breakfast treats in the café.  We sat at the counter as the tables were full, and enjoyed mini blueberry muffins, dainty cinnamon rolls, yogurt and fruit, juice and coffee and our dolls took a seat with us.  What a delight! They had a buffet set up in the center of the café, and it was serve your self style, but so fun!
 
 I didn't realize it at the time. but I think this may have been the free craft????  The gal in the apron asked the girls to write their name on a flower and become part of the BeForever story. (I would like to have some of those cute stickers for our doll room!)



I think these girls will FOREVER remember this day, when they were introduced to American Girls BeForever line!

 Trying on Julie's  clothes.  Sad to see the BeForever line stops at size 16, I bought Gracie Saige's PJ's in the XL, and it said 18-20...why the limited range.  Although my daughters currently will fit the BeForever line of clothes, her 10 year old friend would not.
 Upstairs the new pets were so tempting! The little outfits and pet beds are VERY cute, and may make their way under our Christmas tree even though they didn't make it home with us on this trip/
 

Lunch at the café is always an enjoyable time!  I guess I didn't pay close enough attention to my photo...I cut out our newest doll friends that joined us that day! Gracie's Samantha and Lily's Isabelle!


 
We were so enchanted with the BeForever line! We used the coupon for a free book and each of the girls picked out a new BeForever book, with Lily being the only one to get a Journey book.
 Thanks to Jen for sharing her paper coupon for $10 off, and I had a paper coupon as well from the Isabelle movie so each of my girls had one to use. My girls were spending their own money to buy their new dolls  and checked out separately and each was able to use both the 10$ off and the free book coupon. To our surprise, when we checked out Gracie received a girl size BF t-shirt to be sent in the mail because she was buying a BeForever doll!  Looking forward to it's arrival!  There was also a scavenger hunt and a drawing for a free doll (only for the 9-10 am preferred customer event) We didn't win :(

 If you have never spent the day at an American Girl store, you really should!  I am glad we don't live close enough to go every month, so it really is a special time of making memories when we can go!  American girl is about enjoying this time in my girls life when it is OK to have tea with your doll and to stay a little girl just a little longer.  My 10 year old, with a twinkle in her eye, pointed out the teen-aged girls who were shopping with their friends AND their dolls!  I am sure she was starting to worry that some day she might outgrow American Girl and it is reassuring for her to see that it is still far off.  I am yet to tell her that she will never outgrow American Girl, that she might put them away someday, but it will only be fore a little while.  Because I will carefully store them away and will wait for the day when she has a little girl of her own  and then she can play with dolls again!
 
As American Girls change with time, so must American Girl.  I will always remember my beloved Kirsten and pouring over the Pleasant Company catalogues when they came in the mail.  But times have changed, and now my girls surf the web and shop online at American Girl.  They go to MOA and Chicago for an experience with their dolls that I never had.  Although the historical dolls are no more... they have become and will BeForever.

Amanda, Gracie and Lily












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