Sunday, May 27, 2012

Restoring Some Furniture, 1/12 Scale

Somehow I convinced my husband to take me to the Milton Flea Market
today with two little girls in the hundred degree weather... Don't ask me
how, I still don't believe it myself. Anyhow, I happened to spot this little
guy on a $1 table nestled amongst the ceramic dolphins and horse figurines.
Forgive my photography. My house is perennially dark, it seems, and
although the flash makes things brighter, it doesn't make the details easier
to see.

This is a little ceramic jewelry box shaped like a vanity. The front has a
little drawer detail, and there was a pile of ribbons, flowers, beads, and
lace glued to the top.

It was a little dirty, but all in all a really good piece... for my dollhouse.

The first thing I did was rip off the fake flowers. I'm not a fan of the whole
genre, personally; therefore, my dolls aren't either. 

The glue was a little more difficult to remove. It was hot glue, so it hadn't
soaked down into the pores of the porcelain, but it was stuck pretty tight.
I scraped it off with a butter knife. I'd say it took about 10-15 minutes.

Ta-da! No fake flowers, no glue. Still a little grubby.

I mixed up some cleaner with bleach, water, and dish soap and stole a spare
tooth brush from my son's bathroom. On to scrubbing!

Most of the dirt and grime came off, and it looks like Snow White approves.

I haven't decided yet, but I may paint it. We'll see.

For now, it's in the spare bedroom of the dollhouse. We all have a room like
this, filled with mismatched furniture, somewhat neglected. Maybe this
will be the next room I tackle.

Giveaway update: No one has guessed what I bought at the Nitro Antique shop. I really do have a cool prize for whoever guesses first! Check it out:

It's a treasure chest pendant!

It really opens and closes. Keep your treasures inside and wear them
everywhere, or take the chain off and use it for your dollhouse.

If no one guesses correctly, I'm keeping it! I'm sure my dolls can use a new box for their goodies. Please guess!!! Post your guesses in the comments or on my Facebook page.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Paint By Number... or Whatever

I have been eagerly looking forward to the day I could do crafts with my kids. To a limited degree, I have been able to craft with my son, but to tell you the truth, I really haven't been able to give him much one on one time since the twins were born. Just when he was getting old enough that he wouldn't eat the crayons, the girls were born and things changed drastically for my little boy.

I must credit his kindergarten teacher with working with him to develop his drawing and writing skills. Having two babies to care for is rough on Mama, but I think it is hardest on big brother. My sweet son took it like a champ, spending time building forts and setting up armies and following other solitary pursuits with rarely a complaint.

I think with the third birthday, we've finally hit the mark where Mama can begin to step back from the girls and focus on all my children equally. And for the first time ever, we've been able to sit around the kitchen table and do a craft project together.
The girls got some suncatcher painting kits for their birthday, and I picked up a paint by number set for 97 cents at Wal-Mart for big brother. All kids are happily painting, quiet and entertained. (Right now. While I'm writing this post. Amazing, huh?) This is one of those perfect moments in life that I hope will be oft repeated.

See how calm, quiet, and focused these children are? A far
cry from the chaos they are capable of.
One of my son's kindergarten art projects. Leprechauns
dancing under a rainbow.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Circus Celebration: A Pictorial Study

Step right up, Ladies and Gentlemen, see the most amazing show on Earth...
Okay, maybe not the MOST amazing show on Earth, but definitely the most
amazing birthday party we've had yet!

Our wonderful Ringmaster was all decked out in his white tuxedo, plus a
few embellishments. Genuine cardboard top hat and sparkle bow tie, because
let's face it... bow ties are cool. ;) This will be the fourth time he's played
"ringmaster," although it was his first circus performance. The other times
he was "ringmaster" in a wedding. (Ringmaster: aka ring bearer--he called
himself the ringmaster when he was three in my sister's wedding and it stuck.)

Birthday Girl #1--Katie.

Kate's favorite game was the dart game. She was really
good at popping the balloons on the bottom row, but
she couldn't quite reach those balloons on the top.

Birthday Girl #2 -- Claire Marie

Claire's favorite game was the bean bag toss. She was pretty good at this
game too.

What's a circus without a clown? We had a very dapper
clown at the party with a pocket full of balloons.

And a concession stand, *FREE* to the public!

Mmmmm! Buttery popcorn!

One of my favorite acquisitions for the concession stand
was this "candy" box. I scored this from the Dollar Tree.
It was one of their display boxes, and I asked if I could
steal one 3 different times before they finally relented.
I've filled this one with cotton candy, circus peanuts,
and popcorn balls.

Colorful banners made the house feel festive. Too bad I didn't have time to
put up any balloons... 

We had face-painting :)

Forks, spoons, and napkins were displayed in popcorn boxes.

We had a colorful cake!

Happy Birthday, Claire and Katie!

One of our awesome acrobats, taking a break.

Acrobat number two :)

And the ringmaster, enjoying his goodie bag.

Everyone gathered to watch the acrobat show, and to see the girls open

My monkeys made out like bandits.

They got hats, shoes, clothes, dolls, and lots of big girl panties!

I hope you enjoyed the tour!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Presenting the Amazing Circus Cake (Tutorial)

The first time I decorated a birthday cake it was because I just couldn't bear
to spend $30 on a bakery cake. Now, even though I'm not much of a baker,
I do my kids birthday cakes because it's just so much darn fun.

I found these little circus knick-knacks at the Dollar Tree one day. $3 total.
These are made of cast resin, hand-painted. They were a bit too heavy to
go on top of the cake, but that's okay... I had other ideas :)

There were quite a few candle options, but I decided to go cheap and simple
with a polka dot #3 candle.

We bought the cake mix, icing, off-brand "Fruit By the Foot", and Dots
at Save-A-Lot. Probably less than $5 for it all, although I didn't really pay
that much attention. (Total: $8-ish.)

I'm sure I've shown you how I ice a cake before, but in case you forgot,
I like to put all the icing down in a large zip-lock bag, cut the corner with
scissors, and pipe it on in a big spiral. Then I smooth it out with a butter
knife, adding more icing anywhere it is thin.

Once I was satisfied with the icing, I added a little more to the sides and
the cardboard cake board to "glue" the circus pieces in place.

Here's where the fruit rolls come in. I measured it against the side of my
cake and cut two rolls into strips roughly the same size with regular scissors.
You don't have to be too exact.

This part was a little tricky. These fruit rolls were pretty sticky. You could
use a tooth pick to poke them into place, but I managed to do it with just
my fingers. (I had washed my hands first, of course.)

I piped a little more icing around the top edge and the bottom, covering the
tops and bottoms of my circus stripes. This is why you don't have to be
perfect when measuring the fruit strips.

I finished it off with the Dots. This adds some color--a must for a circus cake.
Of all the decorations and circus-themed food and games, I think this was
probably my favorite thing. (It tasted pretty good, too!)

Doesn't it look cheerful with the candle lit on top?

These girls knew just what to do. I think they blew out the candle before
we even finished singing the song. I wonder if sharing a candle means they
have to share a birthday wish?