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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Stable for Penny

We got our Penny from a garage sale.  She has been with us for over a year and still did not have a stable!
My husband used some scrap wood in the garage and put together this little stable for Penny.

Here are some basic measurements.  My husband actually just made it up as he went along.
He added the threshold piece to give some added stability. All the joints are glued and nailed.

While watching my husband work I saw these garage towels.  I decided this would be perfect for the stall door, just like in this picture below.  

These are the finished measurements for the fabric, so add a seam allowance.
(pattern is not to scale.  For reference only)

Here is a close-up of the stable door.  I over-stitched each side to give it a bit more finish.

I sewed one side of a snap to the fabric and hot-glued the other side to the wood.
Small trim nails were used to attach the fabric to the frame.

I used a cloth marble bag to make a feed bag.  (This could be easily sewn though)
This little pink container is the water trough.

AND, here is Penny enjoying her new home.

Thank you daddy!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

American Girl Care and Cleaning Tips.

Things I've learned about caring for 
and restoring American Girl dolls.

Basic Hair Care
Always use a brush from American Girl OR go to your local beauty supply and get a "wig brush". Your doll's hair is the same high quality synthetic hair used for human wigs.  It needs to be brushed with a wire bristle brush. A regular vinyl hairbrush will roughen the texture of the dolls hair and create frizziness.  Also, don't use the wire doll brush on human hair and then on the dolls hair.  The oils from human hair damage the texture of the doll's hair as well.

$5 wig brush from beauty supply
$8 brush from American Girl

The VERY BEST shampoo for AG doll hair

I am VERY happy with the results I got using wig shampoo and conditioner.  I got it at the beauty supply store for around $8.00 for each bottle.  I purchased both the shampoo & conditioner. The conditioner is a leave-in spray bottle.  I expect these 2 bottles to last a long time since I used very little for each doll.  I used both on 3 different dolls.  Our Molly, our Madame Alexander 18" doll & my 1975 Madame Alexander baby doll.

All 3 dolls hair came out super soft and smelling lovely!  I highly recommend this for doll hair.  It is made especially for synthetic hair and does a great job.  Molly who is from 1986 had very dry and damaged hair and the leave-in conditioner added shine.  The 2 Madame Alexander dolls both came out soft and shiny.  On the left is our Molly and on the right is our Madame Alexander 18" doll.


The best treatment for dry damaged hair - a Hot Water dunk

Hot Water Dunk
I decided to do a dunk on my Kirsten who is 20+ years old. Her hair was very dry and brittle. Basically you heat water to boiling, then pour water into a bowl and let it cool for 5 minutes. Then dunk the dolls hair avoiding the wig area on the head.  You can do more than one dunk if needed.

Dunk avoiding wig area.

Before and After

Doing a Downy Dunk
A Downy dunk can be a great low cost treatment if you don't want to buy wig shampoo & conditioner, which I recommend.  The down side is it can sometimes leave a film on the hair if not rinsed sufficiently.

Cleaning your doll's skin
I really like using a paste of water and baking soda.  With a soft cloth dampened in the baking soda paste, gently clean the doll's vinyl skin.  I have also heard that magic erasers are very good for cleaning the doll's skin.

Cleaning the doll's cloth body
I would try to do surface cleaning with a mild soap solution, but be VERY CAREFUL not to get the body too wet.  If the doll needs more than a surface cleaning the dolls head can be removed and all the stuffing removed and the body washed, but I would, personally, try and avoid this. If you feel your doll needs this deeper cleaning do some research and be REALLY sure you want to take your doll apart!

Don't get your doll's eyes wet!!
If you get the doll's eyes wet they turn silver like the picture below:  SO, be careful!

I got another great tip from a reader!

Myrtleedop said...
Water is not good for doll eyes, but the silver eye is not caused by water but is instead a factory defect. One that the American girls people will fix for free since it is a flaw from their supplier. You do have to send the doll to them and pay for shipping though. See the American Girls site for their "hospital" info, and phone them the verify this info. I had a Bitty Baby with one silver eye a few years ago that was taken care of with no charge.

Removing nail polish from dolls skin
This is super easy, just be sure to use Acetone free or Non-Acetone nail polish remover. Be careful on the dolls face!  Polish remover can remove painted features, lip and cheek color!

Nail polish with acetone will melt the dolls skin!

Removing ink from Doll's skin
First try the magic eraser and baking soda. If these don't shift the ink, I have heard that ink can be bleached out of doll skin using any acne medicine with 10% Benzoyl Peroxide.  Dab the acne medicine on the ink spot and lay the doll in direct sunlight.  It may take several repetitions before any results are seen. Be sure the cream has 10% benzoyl peroxide!

                                                                       Before & After

I also had good luck removing pen with non-acetone nail polish remover.  This was on a leg though and it did leave a slight trace after.
                                        Before                                                after

That's all for now.  If I think of anything else I will add it later!

I wanted to add a great tip from our reader, T Haddad about how to rid bad odors from dolls.

T Haddad said...
Hi, I just wanted thank you for sharing your information on American Girl doll care. I found an Elizabeth on line at eBay and won the auction (yea). But when she arrived she had a very bad cigarette smell 😕. So I had to clean and detox her. I had washed her with my Pantene shampoo and conditioner and it just did not look great. So I followed your tip about wig shampoo and conditioner and wow what a difference. Her hair looks lovely and silky. Also I would share a tip I found from YouTube about dolls that have come from a home with cigarette smell. I was not sure but I thought oh well it's worth try. I placed the doll in a large sealable bag I covered her eyes with cotton balls and taped them down firmly. Then I added unused kitty litter (just enough to cover her sleeping area when I laid her in the bag)and let her sleep for a few weeks (6 to be exact). I would check on her, fearing the dust would settle into her. But when removed from her catnap the smoke smell was gone. Yes I had to wash her and double check the leg and arms due to some kitty litter did get into the socket area, but it was worth the extra cleaning ( I had to check her sockets several times). Actually I was amazed that this process worked and no dust got into her eye do to the firm taping. Just wanted to share and say thank you, I enjoy your blog.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Molly & Penny

A Peaceful trail ride.

Back to the barn.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

An American Girl Fashion Revue

We just thought we'd share some of our AG fashions that we have collected from thrift stores, garage sales & ebay!