Sleeping Bags for Dolls

Once R11 recovered from the initial incident involving her arm, she began to craft again! Prior to Thanksgiving, she started a making a sleeping bag for her American Girl dolls and it was ready in time to take a guest on the road with us! Usually her projects are one day affairs, but occasionally she goes for a longer one. This one was pretty much made in one afternoon.

Sewing machine operation with her cast went pretty well. Her left arm made a good weight to hold things down. Thankfully, she is right handed and since this picture, she’s had the cast taken off. We are down to a brace which she’s worn a week and a half now.

It has two layers of felt so it’s nice and fluffy. She chose not to fill it with stuffing.

Note the seams across the fabric in the bag- just like the real bags. Dan discussed with her what they are for and how it helps the bag to be a good insulator.

All set and a perfect fit!

Glancing at a recent American Girl catalog, she calculates she saved herself about $25. I love to watch her creativity at work!

Kaya- An American Girl Unit

We’ve slowly been working through the Portraits of American Girlhood in R11′s homeschooling. Last year we did a unit on Felicity and of course I taught some American Girl co-op classes, but this year we decided to start with Kaya and since she is not one of the six original historical dolls, she is not in the Portraits unit study. So, I set out on my own to create something we could use. R11 is pretty familiar with all the time periods of history represented by the dolls, so I decided we needed to do some out-of-the-box thinking to make these units work. After all, NOW is the time while she is 11 even though she isn’t learning a lot of new things in terms of history. Given that she has a lot of prior knowledge on most of this, it’s time to add another layer to what she already knows. So, this is what we came up with to round our her studies and dig a little deeper.

Fashion Design- she has been designing a beaded dress for Kaya and has hit some bumps in the road in getting it completed. This has been a good exercise in diligence and problem solving.

Cooking & Cuisine- she studied what sorts of things Kaya’s people would have eaten and has prepared a menu based on this information. We hope to get that cooked up by week’s end (our family schedule is busy this week so this may be tricky)

Climate & Habitat- what is it like in that area of the US? how does it compare to where we live? How did their environment influence their lifestyle?

Comparisons- of other known historical figures and the doll’s character. For example, R has been working on comparing Kaya with Sacajewea who was also a member of the same Nez Perce tribe.

Blogging- as part of her schooling, R11 is stepping her blogging over at Miss Bliss. This is an informal way of sharing her creativity and projects with others. This is great practice for keyboarding skills and will be a fabulous portfolio of her work in the years to come. It’s also a good way to practice writing. We’ve been discussing how this format will be a friendly one for a creative girl who wants to showcase her work and possibly sell it in the future. It’s time to make friends with it! (even though formats and interfaces can change this is good practice at the general form)

Stop Motion- R11 has made some really fun videos in the past and she has been working on developing some for her American Girl dolls. She made a video from a script she wrote for the dolls and is now trying to work with the sound. It’s all about how the other dolls surprise Kaya with the fact that R11 is making her a new dress. Very cute with the movements and script, but sound is an issue.

Now this is all unit study work which she works on with me- mostly as a check point/advisory type role and on her own. In addition to unit study time, she is doing WriteShop Junior Level F (we are beta testing again), math, nature/art/music (CM type study that rotates), and Latin (twice a week).

We’ve been doing a lot of good work though it may appear unconventional. If you are going to try it out, I’d recommend regular check-in times and frequent conferencing about the student’s work. Part of the deal with this custom design for R is that she has to really make an effort and we need to see that she is learning new skills and stretching herself. If not, then she knows the natural consequence is to go back to more traditional schooling on the same topic or a different one all together.

T-Shirt Refashion: American Girl Style

Busy with another project today, R11 refashioned a t-shirt for her dolls. I gave her an old MOPS t- shirt and she surprised me by making it into a tank top for her dolls. There are tons of ways to remake an old t-shirt so hang on to them and see what happens!

Kirsten is wearing a refashioned t-shirt tank featuring the 2006 MOPS theme logo.

Zone 15 is a vintage term for MOPS in NY State. We are now Area 22 NY and New England.
Our designer decided to go with something a little different in the back using her book as a guide.

Here we have the addition of two seams (one got turned around on her- oops!) and a tie back design.

The second t-shirt refashioning book- this one is less fashion and more accessories and stuff

Kirsten makes a great model.

The original- warning some of these are just plain ugly and some could never be worn modestly, but there a few really cute designs worth trying!

Clearly, she is on a creative streak! I’ve been bouncing around several ideas around for her school year, but we are going to start with our American Girl units again. You have to strike while the iron is hot and she won’t be 11 and in love with her dolls forever- sniff. I have some special things planned which I’ll be happy to share very soon. To toss out one hint…I9 will be joining the studies which will include an American Girl and some American Boy studies as well. It’s still coming together, but it will be memorable!

Fashion Sewing Party!

If you are a long time reader, then you might remember that we have three birthdays to celebrate the first week or so of June! R10, I8, and J5 will have birthdays in the next week and a half so we have begun to celebrate! Although it’s early, we are already two parties down this season- to accommodate our friends’ calendars and our need to spread things out a bit. R10 will be 11 on Wednesday, but we celebrated yesterday with her friends. I8 had a party on Saturday and I’ll share about that as well.

Her theme this year was Fashion Sewing! And we invited the girls to bring their favorite doll or stuffed animal to make a skirt or really anything they wanted for it and to have a runway show when they were all finished! Fun stuff, right?

The invitation- we made them in a bunch of colors with different buttons, straps, and designs.

The purse opened to reveal a card inside with the invitation

The back gave some details!

Our design source- I LOVE this kit. I am a paper crafter after all!

Easy directions and ideas
Bags for the girls to take their finished product in- made mostly from fat quarters for ease

I found two machines going- R’s is on the left and a friend brought another. Mine is off to the Bernina shop for a repair. I was surprised they had room for two on R’s art desk.

The creation will be a dress for a doll- E is working on a sort of dress collar.

What a joyful mess!

I wasn’t sure they’d gotten started, so I pulled away from adult conversation to see what was happening and if they were ready to begin. And this is what I found! Simply delightful!

E is working on fixing her mistake. She measured the size of her dress again.

R10′s skirt- this is the unfinished version. Stay tuned.

Did I mention there are always boys at our house? Doing boy things? I invited one of the girl’s brothers and they were loud having a wonderful time. I laughed at how quiet it would have been had they swapped houses for the playdate, but here J5 is making his presence known!

R is working out some extra bling for Kit’s skirt.

E has made a slim dress for her doll and she is choosing some ribbon for the straps.

Another E is working on a halter dress for her doll Phoebe.

J made a doll sized pillow.

A seam forgotten…

Additions complete!

Phoebe is handmade including all she is wearing.

Another finished dress!

I think my favorite part of this party was watching the girls work together and on their own to create a sewn item. I somehow thought that they would need more help or guidance, but they just went to work and it was fun to peek in on them to check on progress. In the end, they were very pleased with their creations and we ran out of time for the official runway show.

Makes me think that a little sewing club would be great fun. I will have to think on this a bit. Of course there were the usuals…cake and presents and some time outside. She got some really cute things and I’m just sure Miss Bliss will share them over at her blog soon.

Survey of the American Girls II- Wrap Up

Last Monday, May 2nd was our last day of co-op for the spring semester and our semi-annual Co-op Night. The girls contributed to our display and we shared our notebooks and the things we did during the semester. During our last class time, we put together the notebooks, made the poster, and they watched the Molly movie.

So our American Girl co-op adventures have drawn to a close. Now we’ll have to think of some other ways to enjoy our favorite American Girls. R10 and I will continue to enjoy Portraits of American Girlhood next year and who knows the fun we’ll have together!