Something New out of SCRAPS and BAGGAGE

Having a rough day?  Don’t give up or give into discouragement.  Your best ideas may come of the least likely of days! Have you ever been sick of being sick?  Well, I’ve been sick for about 6 weeks, and was on the verge of a pity-party for the past two.  I decided it was necessary for this homeschool teacher to make the week of Thanksgiving one of easy schedules, simple meals, and intentionally neglected laundry…  Aaaah, time on my hands… for this I am thankful!!!! Creativity and distraction are often my best weapons in fighting a grumpy mindset; so in an attempt to cheer myself, I crawled back into bed with Pinterest for company and began the search for easy doll-clothes ideas for Little One’s Christmas. Not feeling up to a trip to the city to buy a pattern, I thought, “So what if my first attempt doesn’t fit?  I have the time today to play!”  I pulled out one of the tubs of old jeans I save for denim quilts, and said to myself, “I have plenty of scrap fabric.  What do I have to loose?” So, I stripped the doll down, traced her body, took her measurements, added a generous seem allowance, and what do ya’ know… they fit like a dream. PS – Please excuse all the up-side down and side-ways pictures… having a bit of web-site trouble recently.  Hope your neck doesn’t get too stiff. Confidence soaring, I pulled an old t-shirt out the rag bin, and tried to make a shirt… Okay, that was a complete failure, but as long as I stayed away from “sleeves“, I was golden.  And, this is what I came up with… image The two dresses above were made from summer tops that Little One had outgrown.  The first one has buttons and the second is gathered with elastic.  I rough cut these free hand and then pinned them on the doll to find where my seams should go.  I began with the neck line and shoulders, then added hems to the bottom or waist to shorten the length as needed.  The “sleeves” on the second dress only attach by a straight seam to the side and I just gathered them in to stay on the shoulder as the neckline elastic pulls them up, a wide margin of error!!! — Eventually, I did find a simple printable pattern for a shirt (short or long sleeves) via Pinterest.  (I didn’t post photos because this site has excellent step by step pictures.) image

Inexpensive Ideas from a Children’s Consignment Shop…

A newborn’s pair of boy’s pants made perfect sweats with no alterations needed, and I all I had to do was narrow the neck of this newborn girl’s shirt to make a AG-sized top. image Those tiny newborn socks are perfect for an American Girl. image FYI – most of the newborn one piece outfits and sleepers had too long of a torso for an AG doll. Here’s an extremely simple idea for $1.  — I cut a onesie in half, zigzagged the bottom edge for a shirt; then made a pair of undies from the bottom half by sewing a hem to the top with additional scrap fabric from an old shirt in the rag bin and then pulling a string of elastic through that hem. (A large child’s craft needle with a large eye makes that job simple.) image image

Where to store all these outfits?

Keeping a tidy room is a MAJOR challenge for my Little Jungle Monkey; so I needed to have a plan for storage before I gave her a single pair of tiny shoes to keep up with.  Handsome could eventually build a fancy cabinet like many of those posted on Pinterest, but at this late date in a busy season, that would really be asking a lot before Christmas. So, I took a near ancient, small, hard-shelled suitcase, bent and clipped a heavy duty plastic coated wire hanger around the hooks that latch the suitcase divider, and then, I slipped paper-clips over the line so doll sized hangers could easily hang and slide back and forth in their “closet”.   (And, as you may be able to see in some of the pictures above, the divider still latches easily so the outfits do not fall when you close the suitcase.) This 22″ wide suitcase is perfect for holding clothing as well as an 18″ American Girl doll.  image

*AFTER NOTE: After a using this case for a while, the hangers work better without the paper clips for slides.


Something to take with you…

When I am tired, sick, or just sick and tired from the monotony of my daily responsibilities, I have to be intentional not to give into my melancholy nature.  Whether it is simply stepping outside to take a deep breath of fresh air or motivating myself to add a little creativity, music, or art to my day when I am tempted to just sulk, I find that the tiny amount of physical strength required (though it initially seems like monumental effort) is rewarded with an overflowing surge of life-giving, positive mental and spiritual energy. I am a multi-faceted emotional being.  Sharing the same space, my body, soul, mind, and spirit are inter-twined.  So when my physical body is struggling, I cannot afford to neglect the health of my mind, soul, and spirit. Usually, the LORD rewards me for expending that mental and spiritual effort to keep my attitude afloat by NOT changing my circumstance.  Instead, He builds my character and generously blesses me with some of my best ideas.  When in faith, I don’t give into pity, envy, fear, and doubt, but to the best of my ability, seek Him and ask Him to make something beautiful of what initially looks like a day, or week, doomed to failure, I find happiness and contentment is not so much about being comfortable, or even productive, as much as it is about living each moment for His glory. God is faithful to His promises.  When we give Him the little we have, be it faith, time, health, money, talent, whatever, He performs fish and bread miracles, opening the storehouses of heaven, pouring out blessings beyond my imagination.  The LORD can make something useful, beautiful, original, and new out of the scraps and baggage in your life… Let Him!!!  It starts by looking at what you have through His eyes. Remember, even on the roughest days or most trying seasons, when you don’t feel well and your pictures are all flipped up-side down, if you’re seeking the LORD and asking Him to open your eyes to what He would have you see, you’ll always come away with a better perspective and something of value to carry with you or pass along to another who might need what you’ve just discovered.  So, keep seeking, keep finding, and keep sharing! image