Sunday, April 20, 2014

Making American "BOY" Dolls

Every year at Christmastime, Olivia, two of her friends, and those friends' moms and I make our way to Chicago by train.  We eat lunch at the Cheese*cake Factory, shop at Water*tower Place, but our main goal is the American Girl Store.

Even at age 12, Olivia loves American Girl dolls.  And I have "fed" that love so to speak because since she came to live with me at age 3, Olivia never really played with things.  We had to teach her how to draw and color.  We had to teach her to play.  The year Olivia was 6 I think she grew the most in her play due to the fact that we had a 2 year old girl foster child who played and taught Olivia more than I even could.  But still... she loved to obtain toys.  She would oooh and aaah over things like the Easy Bake Oven, or Barbies, especially the themed ones like those from High School Musical and Camp Rock, but she didn't "play" with them, she hoarded them.  They sat in her room.  Her brothers would beg to play with her in her room and she would refuse.  Every.  Time.  Still does to this day, though she is much better at playing with them in the basement or in their rooms.  But American Girl dolls are the ONE thing she has really loved.  And she does "play" with them.  She enjoys changing their clothes.  And doing their hair.  And playing with them when friends are over.

So we go with two other girls who are close in age and who all LOVE their dolls.  And us three moms and three daughters, who are friends, trek to wintery cold Chicago for a girls' day.

And the boys are jealous! :)

So they wanted their own dolls.
Especially when I decided to buy myself one this past Christmas (ebay) and Olivia and I talked excitedly about Macy one day getting a doll and how we could have doll tea parties and play together.
They wanted IN.

So I looked online.  Because SOMEONE had to sell BOY dolls similar in size, right?
I just couldn't find any.
Well, I take that back.  I found a couple online merchandisers but they were "collectibles" and VERY pricey!  (Even more than the regular AG dolls!)
But what I DID find in my search was a couple people on etsy who were creating their OWN!
They used older AG dolls, or knock offs (Our Generation, Battat, etc), put on a new wig, added some boy clothes, sometimes even repainted or took off paint on faces, and Voila!  
A boy doll!

So... my hunt began...

I first found this beauty for Liam at a thrift store for about $3...


She needed a good cleaning with some baby wipes and a Mr Clean magic eraser.  But looked really good afterwards.

This type of doll has two kinds of hair, either a wig, or hair that is rooted in the head.  Either will work, and I worked with both, but those with wigs are easier.  This one of course had rooted hair.

First I had to sheer off as much hair as possible.  I apologize I didn't get a picture at this stage!  I thought I did but it wasn't on my camera. :(  When you are cutting you will see that most of the hair is in a circle around the outer edge and then down the part, with only a little on the rest of the scalp.  Just make sure to cut as close to the scalp as possible.

The most expensive part of the project is the wig.  There are MANY styles and companies to choose from.  Having looked at other dolls when researching, the style the boys and I liked was/is called Bebe and is a size 10-11.  Now... you will see at the end with the picture of the two dolls how VERY different they are from company to company.  Braeden's wig I happened to find from a seller on etsy selling out some doll supplies and got a good deal.  It was brand new and cost about $10 plus a few for shipping.  It was made by Miniworld and is a Bebe black 10-11.  And Liam's was made by Monique and is a Bebe dk brown 10-11.  His I got from an online merchant and it was about $16 plus shipping.  They are SO different in size!  Braeden's is VERY full and Liam's is VERY thin/small.  I didn't cut or do anything to them.  I actually wish they were right in the middle of the two.

Once the head, for rooted hair, is shorn as close as possible, try the wig on the doll and see how it fits.  Then you will use a glue to hold it in place.  Here's Liam's with wig on.

For Braeden, I had trouble finding a black doll at thrift stores (I did find two other white dolls I may play more with another time, one with blue eyes and one with brown, both with no teeth).  So for his I had to look on ebay.  I found a knock off Our Gen doll with clothes (so I can pass those to the girls) for a great price.  Here's his doll before starting... 

This one had a wig, and it came off with just some elbow grease.  (Her wig was/is in really good condition so I kept it in case I want to use it in the future for another doll.)

Here she is awaiting her transformation.  I again cleaned her up as well but she wasn't near as dirty as Liam's.  (I didn't touch face paint on either of them though the other dolls I have would need lipstick/blush removed to be boys.)  This doll is by Battat though I'm not sure what store sold her.

This is what the new wigs look like and how they will come.

Again I tried it on the doll to get a feel for it first, then applied glue.  See the difference in the two wigs!? 

And here are the two boys waiting for their Easter day debut!  The tshirts and jeans were made by etsy sellers and the shoes were purchased on Amazon.

I obviously couldn't leave Olivia out of the new doll for Easter thing, so I scoured ebay looking for a deal.  And found one!  We both Love Kit and I happened to find a near perfect one.  Was a collectible, so not played with, hair looked perfect, had the whole outfit in perfect condition, it was awesome!  And CHEAP!  BUT, she had purple marker all over the bottom of her legs.  Normally I would have bypassed this immediately, but having looked all over pinterest for ideas in cleaning and redoing dolls in making the boys' dolls, I had found a number of pins on taking off marker and it looked... well... easy.  So I bought Kit and hoped for the best.

Here's her legs...

So this is what you do... and of course I waited until yesterday so I was VERY lucky it was a nice and sunny day.  First, wrap the doll in fabric (clean shirt or towel) and a bag (parts that won't be worked on).  Second, put OXY cream on the marker spots. 

Third, wrap in plastic wrap.  And fourth, set in the sun.  I left her outside for about 6 hours, rotating every hour or so since the marks were all the way around.  

And here are the amazing results!

There is still a SLIGHT purple mark on the front where the worst of it was, but the rest is gone!  And I'm going to do a second application tomorrow to get the rest off!  (Ran out of sunlight yesterday.)

Here she is, ready for Easter!

The dolls were HUGE hits this morning as a GREAT Easter surprise!  They LOVE them!!!!

Happy Easter!

John 11:25-26
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.

These three greeted my kiddos this morning to wish them a Happy Easter.  I will be writing a separate post about them and how they were created/fixed up!  The boys begged around Christmas time for American "BOY" dolls... so I did some research and created these guys!

Olivia and I have LOVED Kit for a while now, but she is pricey. :)  I found this one on ebay in near perfect condition, hair and all, except she had purple marker on her legs.  Got a great deal, and almost all of the marker is OFF... the rest should come off tomorrow!

Needless to say they were THRILLED!

We also did the "traditional" egg hunt.  The Bunny usually hides eggs and a basket for each in the basement.  This year there was even a basket for Macy!

Another gorgeous day today so we're hoping to spend lots of time outside enjoying life and each other!  We're also going to go see Heaven is for Real today... can't wait!

Hope you have a wonderful Easter!

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Another Year

Birthdays mean another year has passed.  The child/person is 365 days older than the last time you said Happy Birthday and celebrated their special day.  In adoption, the birthday of a child who is "yours" in mind and love and somewhat on paper, can also mean another year without them.  Another year where they are growing up without a family.  As good as an orphanage can be, and I know Macy is in a good one and is very well cared for, it still cannot replace the love of a family.  And Macy was another year older yesterday.  We first received her referral and pictures and information in January 2013.  She turned three that April.  She turned four yesterday.  Time passing is hard when that person is not with you.  Harder still when you know that you have known of this little person for over 1/4 of their life and it's being lived without you.

But we celebrate her.  We celebrate the life she has led.  The life she will lead.  And we await the day we can share this with her, show her the pictures of the parties we held in her honor.  And throw her her own very first ever birthday party once she's home!

 Happy Birthday Macy!!!  We were glad to celebrate early with you while in Haiti!!!

Dress handmade by my friends at The Crazy Kukla Boutique!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Missing Haiti

We arrived back home late Saturday night.  Had to drive Grandma back to the airport Sunday and was back at work/school yesterday.  It's been a whirlwind. 

While I am glad to be reunited with the boys, I am missing being in Haiti and with Macy like crazy.

Here's a video "walk" down our journey...


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