Friday, August 31, 2012

The Pirate's Life for Me

Over here in the Baker/Pearce household, we are gearing up for some priatey fun.  The Portland Pirate Festival is held every year during Labor Day Weekend and this will be the 4th year that we've attended. Aria loves any excuse to don her pirate costume.  

The very first time we attended was in 2009.  It was held under the majestic St. John's bridge here in Portland, Oregon.  This bridge is seriously gorgeous, probably one of the prettiest bridges in the Portland Metro area.  

This first excursion into the Pirate Festival was rather impromptu so we didn't really have time to put together a pirate costume for Aria.  We bought a pirate shirt from the lovely Milagros Boutique; they had a booth at the festival.  We also bought her a snazzy pirate hat but my camera battery died before I could take any pics.

Check out my sweet little pirate.  I can't believe how TINY she is in this picture.
We had so much fun at at the 2009 festival that we knew we had to go back in 2010.  This time this crafty momma knew she had to put together an actual costume for her little budding pirate. 
Psst...there's the hat and the pirate shirt we bought at the 2009 festival.  I made her little skirt and sash. 
Like any good pirate worth her salt, Aria got a tattoo and collected booty. 
She was very serious about counting it all up. 
She also had a blast revisiting her friend, Foul Weather, from The Golden Fleece, a booth with the finest pirate booty to be had.  ;)  She actually first met him during the 2009 festival but again...that silly camera battery prevented me from capturing the beginnings of their beautiful relationship.
No, seriously.  She insisted on stopping by to visit him at least 10 times that day.
And she often returned to the waterfront to watch the water, likely itching to return to the high seas.

Those British soldiers knew better than to mess with the dread Pirate Arrrria!  (I had to; couldn't help myself!)
One of the best things about that pirate skirt I made her was that come 2011, it still fit and all I had to do was add a new pirate shirt.  2011 marked the first year that the Pirate Festival was at a new location, St. Helens.  And yes, they still call it the Portland Pirate Festival despite the fact that it is now located in St. Helens.  We missed the old St. Johns bridge but we still had a lot of fun.
And Oh My GOODNESS if Aria didn't grow up so much between 2010 and 2011.  She looks like a little KID and not a baby anymore in this picture from the 2011 Pirate Festival.
She got another tattoo but this time around opted for her face. Tough little pirate lass that she is.
It was seriously HOT that day!
She made a new friend in 2011.  SeaSealia the Sea-dragon from the Zambini Brothers.  At first, she wanted to fight him but somewhere between pulling her sword and rushing him, she had a change of heart. 
SeaSealia and Aria contemplate each other.
She followed him around the festival for a good hour or so, defending him from other children bent on slaying her dear friend.
She took her duty quite seriously.
And of course like the noble pirate lass that she is...she made time for old friends too.
Aria: Uh, Skeleton, this is my friend, Sea dragon. Sea dragon, this is my friend Skeleton.
How's that for a trip down memory lane? Heh.  For the 2012 festival Aria will wear the same skirt again.  It STILL fits two years later.  I am patting myself on the back for the brilliant design.  I had no idea it would last this long.  This year, I get to dress up as well.  I snagged some great deals from Damsel in this Dress and have a snazzy pair of pirate bloomers and a corset that will be perfect.  I'll be sure to share some pictures on facebook Saturday night.

Also according to the rumor mill...a special friend will be traveling to the Pirate Festival with Lesley and her family.  Be sure to check out Lesley's Monday blog post.  Its probably supposed to be a secret, but I have to tell you that Cady did her yarn magic and made something beyond spectacular for the little friend . You don't want to miss it!

And in case you aren't aware...we are getting closer to 500 fans, which means we hope to give away a 16" doll to one lucky fan who has entered the giveaway.  If you haven't done so, you should enter!  Click here to enter.  We also offer surprise extra entries every once in a while so check our page frequently.  And have you heard about Tansy Dolls Tuesdays?  No...well, if you are interested in knowing what it is, you can read Cady's most recent post, in which she discusses this new fun little feature in Tansy Doll land. 

I hope you have a great weekend!  We'll be busy invading St. Helens. 

Cheers!  Arrrrr!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

All About the Accessories

"A smile is the best accessory, but a good handbag never hurt."
(I can't find a quote source for this one! Anyone know?)

Well, rest assured, your Tansy Doll will certainly come with a smile. And we're working on fabulous accessories too! I have to admit, this is one of my favorite parts. While making the dolls themselves in a labor of love and making their clothes is a lot of fun, getting to design and/or make their accessories is truly captivating. I mean, the ideas and possibilities are endless!

crochet cupcake kids
The kids love getting to do the play-testing!

Today, I thought I'd share with you some of the fun accessories and extras that we've made and some that are on their way. You saw Lesley's glasses tutorial this week, right? If you can think of other goodies you'd like to see please let us know! You can comment here, or let us know on our Facebook page. Enjoy!

leather with brass buckles stuffies belt
Making belts let me go to one of my favorite supply stores - the Oregon Leather Company. The staff there are so friendly, and their products so wonderful, that I love finding excuses to pay them a visit. This leather belt is even part of a FREE GIVEAWAY this week! This week was the beginning of our Tansy Doll Tuesday giveaway series! Every other Tuesday we'll post a giveaway on our Facebook page, then announce the winner the following Tuesday. All you have to do to enter is comment on the picture! (Though we'd love it if you shared it too.)
Anyway, the belt is black leather with a brass buckle, and will fit your Tansy Doll, or similarly sized dolls and stuffies.

You may also remember the Bow-and-Arrow sets and the cuddly doll cocoons from previous giveaways. Personally, I like to think of the cocoons as sleeping bags. :)

archery doll set
doll cocoons

What else have we been working on? Well, there are a few dolls with purses or bags, including this one that goes on sale tomorrow:
crochet doll bag purse

There are also doll and kid sized crowns and tiaras in the works! Here's Aria modeling one of the latter for you:

crochet crown metalic headband

And these lovely dolls could only go so long without me making gnome buddies for them! 
kid dwarf play red
waldorf style gnome felt
Yes, that would be Max with a gnome on his head. 

Hmm, what else....
Oh, yes: cupcakes! In fact, these cupcakes contain a special surprise, but that will have to wait for another day. Anyone have a guess?
yellow cupcake with pink icing and orange flower crochet

Be sure to come enter both giveaways (including the Big One) on our Facebook page and let us know what else you'd like to see.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Doll Glasses - le tutorial

Who doesn't need a pair of doll eye glasses - am I right? ;)

Well, for those of us in doll-land - we know all about the importance of details. Especially when you're creating a Harry Potter look-alike or an identical twin for your little one to love.

Here's my doll glasses making tutorial, enjoy!

- pipe cleaner (preferably in the color you want the glasses to be)
- embroidery floss (in color of glasses - black, anyone?)
- Elmer's glue or other crafty glue that dries clear
- glass of red wine (optional)
- favorite tv show (necessary)

Time: I'm not going to lie, this doesn't take toooooo long - but boy, is it tedious. 1-2 hours.


First, grab your fave dollie and cut enough length from your pipe cleaner to create a circle (or appropriate shape) around their eye, wrap the end around itself so the circle doesn't fall apart.

tutorial eye glasses how-to
Brendan wanted to be my model today

Repeat for the second eye. Connect with straight section. Twist the ends around each connection so they don't fall apart.
eye glass how-to doll waldorf doll tutorial

Add the sides.
eye glass how-to doll waldorf doll tutorial

Now is when the magic happens!
Take your embroidery floss and start wrapping the floss around the pipe cleaner.
(* note - in hindsight, I should have taken pix with black thread and a white pipe cleaner so that you could see the definition, huh? heh heh heh...yeah.)

eye glass how-to doll waldorf doll tutorial

I started in the middle of the glasses, but you can begin where you like. Use a dab of glue to secure the floss when you begin and a little at the end. If you run out of floss, no worries, just start a new string with a dab of glue again.

tip: When you reach the end of the arms (temple) of the glasses, bend the end of the pipe cleaner before wrapping it so the ends are covered and not so sharp.

Don't be too particular your first time around if some of the "fluff" sticks out, you'll be wrapping them a second time and they'll start tightening up after the second round. It starts becoming tedious when you're wrapping wrapping wrapping around the eye pieces, but the handles (aka 'temples') will go by pretty quickly.

When you reach the place where the eye circles meet the temples, you'll want to wrap them a few times in an "x" pattern to make sure they're secure. Okee dokee,  here's what they should look like when you're half-way:

eye glass how-to doll waldorf doll tutorial
almost done!

If they're still looking a little fuzzy, you can keep adding layers of embroidery floss, or a little glue. Either way works just fine. When you're done the glasses will still be pretty bendy and very durable for little hands to play with.

Voila! Here's Brendan looking very dapper in his new specs:

eye glass how-to doll waldorf doll tutorial
2 cool 4 school

We'd love to see pix of your dollie glasses, give it a shot!


PS. It's almost time to giveaway a doll - make sure you're included!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Art with Aria: Marbled Paper

We got home sort of late last night so I wasn't sure if we'd have time to do an art project.  I figured my post today would have to wait until later tonight.  But as soon as dinner was over, Aria started chanting, "Art Project!  Art Project!"  I had to come up with something that was quick and easy.  Making marbled paper with shaving cream fits that bill perfectly.  I had all the supplies and they were within easy reach.  If you'd like to try it out, I bet you have all the supplies you need as well.  

Gather the supplies:
  • Shaving cream
  • a pan big enough for your paper
  • paper (we like using watercolor paper but you can use whatever white paper you have on hand)
  • liquid food coloring or liquid watercolors
  • toothpicks
  • towel (you can use paper towels, but we use a cloth one we don't mind getting stained)
First, spread out a nice layer of shaving cream.
Then drip, drip, drip some food coloring onto the shaving cream.

Keep on adding as many drops as you think you  need.  Aria wanted LOTS of colors.

Aria loves this part.  Drag the toothpick through the colors.  Swirly!  

Press your paper face down onto the shaving cream and then lift up.
It always looks a bit like a mess but wipe off the shaving cream  to reveal your pretty marbled paper!
Marbled paper!
Of course, don't forget the best part...squishy sensory fun!  Afterwards, just toss the kid in the bathtub!
Other fun ideas for shaving cream:  
Shaving Cream Bath Paint from The Imagination Tree
Raining Rainbows from JoJoeBi Designs
Shaving Cream and Toys from Kiwi Crate
Puffy Paint from {Kidlist} Activities for Little Kids

Don't forget to enter our giveaway on facebook for a chance to win a 16" Tansy Doll.  Check out the details here.  

Also in case you are curious about the super cute owl hat Aria is wearing in all these pictures, check out Freckletree!  I couldn't help myself and had to buy her one. Aria spied this hat in my bag today and wanted to put it on immediately.  Soooo unbelievably cute!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Drove of Dragon Books

Ok, so a group of dragons is not usually known as a drove, but I'm a big fan of alliteration. In fact, there doesn't seem to be any real authority on what to call a group of dragons. Clan is popular, as is wing or flight. Drove actually means "a flock or herd being driven in a body" (according to The Free Dictionary) and I certainly don't think of dragons being driven anywhere, but drove of dragons still has a nice sound to it.

Anyway ... I love dragons. I mean, I really love dragons. Anyone who knows me even a little, or has been to my house can tell this. There are dragon statues, posters,  stuffies, candles, books, etc. in nearly every room. They're just so awesome! They're wise and intelligent and magical and all sorts of wonderful things.

Well. I could wax rhapsodic about dragons for quite awhile, but that's not what I meant to do today. Instead, I thought I'd review some awesome dragon kids' books for you. Yay! Dragons and books! It's a good day to be me. Here we go!

there's no such thing as a dragon book cover
There's No Such Thing as a Dragon
by Jack Kent

When Billy wakes up there's a tiny dragon in his room waiting for him. But Billy's mother says there's no such as dragons. Dragons who don't get the attention they seek just get bigger until you MUST notice them!

I've loved this book since I was a kid. I love Jack Kent's artwork in a number of books, but this one is especially dear to me. The dragon is just so stinking cute! And all he wants is love! No scary fire-breathing or knight-slaying here; just a dragon who needs a buddy.

5 dragons out of 5!

dragons love tacos book coverDragons Love Tacos
by Adam Rubin
illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

Did you know dragons love tacos? Because they do. Big time! They also love parties. This adorable book gives some valuable tips on throwing a good taco party for dragons. (Hint: no spicy stuff!) 

This is a new one to our library. Max received it as a gift from his Grandma Julie a month or so ago. It was an instant hit because it's just so fun! Max cracks up every time we read it and acts it out as well, which is always a sign he really love a book.

5 dragons out of 5!

max's dragon book coverMax's Dragon
by Kate Banks
illustrated by Boris Kulikov

With a title like Max's Dragon I was prepared to love this book. Max is an imaginative boy who finds a dragon in the clouds. He goes looking for words that rhyme and his dragon and brothers join him.

It's a nice premise and the pictures are pretty, but neither wowed me. Most telling of all in our house, Max didn't even make it through the book. He's a kid who's usually willing to read very long books, but this was a bit of a slow sleepy book and he was disappointed that the Max in the book didn't have a real dragon, but was just pretending. We're all for pretending, but don't promise dragons and only give us clouds!

2 dragons out of 5 in this house.

I have plenty more dragon books to talk about but three is a nice number to start with. Do you have favorite dragon books we may have missed? Let us know either in the comments below or on our Facebook Page. (Go enter the Big Giveaway there while you're at it!)


Note: Dragon icon came from Deviant Art.

Monday, August 20, 2012

My Dad's Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

Yes, Strawberry Shortcake is a cute doll, but it's also a delicious dessert (as if ya didn't know...)

My dad was the cook in our family. He rarely baked, but when he did it was usually this beauty. He requested it almost every birthday, and so I officially declare this family recipe to be "Grandpa Jon's"

This cake is so moist and yummy, while also being super easy & quick! You may be used to eating strawberry shortcake over little angelfood cakes - just you wait and try this big version - you'll be hooked!

Shopping List/Ingredients
- 2 boxes Vanilla Cake Mix (just use your fave brand)
- 2 baskets of fresh strawberries
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- Whipping cream
- Vanilla
- pint of Lemon Sorbet

Prep time note: I like to do this cake in 2 days. The first day I bake the cake and add the strawberries, then let the cake soak up all the strawberry juice in the fridge overnight. The next morning I add the whipped cream. You DO NOT want to put the whipped cream on until you are pretty close to serving it, as the cream has a tendency to slide down the cake, thus making it look like a deflated balloon.

Preheat oven to 350. Bake 2 cakes and set aside to cool when done.

In the mean time: Wash 1 box of strawberries and remove stems.  Serve other box to "mama's lil' helper"
num numnum numnumnumnumnum
Slice into thin (1/4" to 1/8") slices and put into a bowl.  Add 1/4 cup of sugar & mix into the strawberries.  Set aside at room temperature for 20 minutes (or so) so the sugar can soften the strawberries and release their juice.

fresh strawberries
zee fresh berries
Then, bust out the potato masher and smoooooosh them a bit.

After the cakes are cool enough to handle, slice each one in half. The objective here is to create lots of layers to smooth the strawberry filling into.

cake boss carlos bakery

Next (you guessed it!) smooth the strawberry filling over the top of each layer until all the cake is used.

Put a cloth on top and put in the fridge overnight.

cake layers cake boss strawberry shortcake dessert

The next morning:
whip it good whipped cream
Whip it. Whip it good. (had to be said...sorry.)

Whip the cream, adding a drop of vanilla & a teaspoon of sugar. I like to chill the bowl in the fridge before adding the cream to whip, helps it out a bit. Plop it on the cake and smooth it out as best you can, the more whipped cream, the better!
strawberry shortcake recipe basil decoration
Feel free to make purdy decorations with the left over strawberries. In this pic I used some basil as well.

And, viola! Yummmmmmmmmmm.

Serve with Lemon Sorbet (trust me on this one!)
piece of cake
and enjoy!