Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Dressing an Our Generation doll on a budget


I love American girl and Our Generation dolls. We live in South Africa and as such any imported dolls are horribly pricey.I am also between jobs ( such a polite euphemism) so dressing my daughter's Our Generation doll April has had to be done with a large dose of creativity. April was a birthday present and is a lovely Our Generation doll, with pretty soft red hair and lovely pale blue /green eyes..
I have made a few outfits and accessories for her so far and I am loving being creative with dolls again. I am including photo’s of some of my creations and links where necessary, so that you can add a few more outfits to your dolls’ wardrobe without breaking the bank this Christmas.
These two lovely outfits can be found at PA Country Crafts . The patterns are easy to follow and they can be sewn together in a few hours, depending on your skill level.She has another few free patterns for 18 inch doll clothes.
 







The pattern for these lovely warm PJ’s can be found at All with a purpose.

 
 This pretty pink and blue dress was made from a pattern called Butterfly Kisses by

 Little Miss Muffet.


A girl needs a place to sit and this pouf was made using bits of leftover material with a button in the centre to cover up my less than perfect meeting of the centre pieces.

Some reading material and toys just right for an 18 inch doll.
The bed was made following ( more or less) the designs for the  Be Chic Forever DIY Garden bed.Please excuse the mess in the background but my creativity tends to spawn chaos. I still need to make bedding for the poor doll but this is on my to do list.



 This cat pillow was  a copy of one of the Our Generation pillows.




 The strawberry and bubble gum milkshakes were inspired by those made for The Unicorn CafĂ© at Brandy’s Happy Home, although mine are not nearly as yummy looking as hers with all their added extra’s. Time and money may be needed to crate the entire cafe but I would love to tackle this project in the new year.





The pink cardigan was made using the ABC knitting pattern for the American Girl Doll Country Style Autumn Cardigan. 





 I cannot remember where I go the pattern for the ballet jersey, so please forgive me for not giving a link. If this is your pattern I will be more than willing to add it.







The table lamps are my own design and light up ( tutorials to follow so watch this space).
Thanks for joining me as I share these creations.
Happy crafting.


Friday, October 27, 2017

Our Generation dolls at Toy Kingdom .......and my new sewing machine




A year ago I discovered the world of Our Generation and American Girl dolls. It was love at first sight. There are few places in South Africa that stock Our Generation dolls , so when I find a new store I get rather excited.

 We were at the Waterfront in Cape Town yesterday and decided to visit Toy Kingdom and Hamley's. Toy Kingdom is now stocking Our Generation dolls. YIPPEE! There are so few toy shops that do stock Our Generation dolls and accessories so I was very excited to find a new one. They also had a number of new dolls that I have not seen in store. My daughter fell in love with Sia.



I think it is her red hair, as my daughter is a red head and there are not many doll brands that carry red headed dolls. She also loved the great accessories that come with Sia. Another doll she really liked was Meagann. She told me that she thought she was very pretty and she loved all the accessories.











I thought Nia was lovely. She has a beautiful ballet outfit, soft hair and the sweetest expression. I just wish I could find more clothing and accessory sets in store. Neither toy shop had much to offer except the very large accessories like the camper van and retro cruiser. There are one or two online shops in South Africa that one can order from but I prefer to see something in store before buying. I think I am very much a touchy buyer and prefer handling an item before I spend money on it.
SA Girl doll has some lovely clothes which are not too expensive. They also have a very limited number of American Girl dolls that I am so tempted to buy….or would be if I had extra money on hand.

My other exciting news is that my new sewing machine has finally arrived. I cannot wait to try it out and start making dolls clothes for my daughter’s Barbie’s and April, her Our Generation doll. I even splurged on some pretty material, including two pieces of netting for tutu’s as well as some very soft pretty pink tulle. I am not sure what I want to do with that yet but I cannot wait to start playing with patterns and material.

  Happy crafting.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Cape Town


 So here I am, posting from the fairest Cape, the “Mother City”, the city on the southernmost tip of Africa. I never thought I would be writing those words and some days I still feel as if I am dreaming. It have wanted to live here since I first visited when I was twelve years old. I fell in love with Cape Town as a child and have wanted to move here ever since then, although I was born near the Highveld gold fields and have lived my entire life on the dry, hot, grassy plains above the escarpment with thorn trees and red dust and the blinding sun all I have ever known.
What a culture shock this move has been. We have lived here for the past six months and I am still seriously homesick for the Highveld. Cape Town is a beautiful city but it is so foreign to all I have known growing up. I now live a two day drive from where I was born but I could just as well be living on another continent. Life is slower and more relaxed. People spend serious time on leisure activities. The scruffy man in the bank queue who looks like a beach bum turns out to be a business owner talking in millions about profit. Long hair and casual clothes have replaced the army style haircuts and business suits of Gauteng. The languages are different, with Xhosa clicks heard everywhere, Afrikaans is spoken with a Cape accent which nothing like I am used to and the slow drawl that identifies a Capetonian is soft and foreign to my ears. Donkey carts, squirrels in the trees, seabirds flying overhead. The taste of the sea on my lips if the wind is blowing in the right direction. The gnarled and slanted trees growing in defiance of the Cape winds. And always the magnificence of Table Mountain dominating the skyline.
This is now the city that I call home. Yet my heart still longs for bone chilling winter frost, the still, deep hush before a Highveld thunderstorm breaks, the red earth and purple Jacarandas. The granite copies and harsh cry of the Hadeda Ibis.
We have made the decision to move and there is no going back but I am still a Valie at heart and it will take a long time before I will think of myself as Capetonian. I feel very much like these tourists in Fish Hoek beach, far from home and everything is foreign.
Please keep reading and join me on this new adventure. When I decided to start this blog I decided to call it seasonal sanity because at the time there was a great deal of craziness in my life. I was battling to with being a mom to two very young children and having to go back to work. My life has changed so much and I am now in a different season of life. My children are both at school and I am, for the time being, a housewife. We live in a beautiful city and I look forward to sharing our adventures with you.
Happy blogging
Lauren


Saturday, February 18, 2017

New books and storm lily


The rain is falling intermittently as I am writing this post and it reminds me of God's grace in watering our lives with gifts that grow our soul. New books by good authors are on of these ways.New books by favourite authors is always something to get excited about. When the authors in question happen to be friends that is even better.

Lisa-Jo Baker is mom to three children and blogs at lisajobaker.com. Her first book is called Surprised by motherhood and it is excellent. If you are a mom or know someone who is, I highly recommend this book. She is about to bring out a second book called Never Unfriended, the secret to keeping lasting friendships.

It deals with friendship between women and uplifting and devastating these friendships can be because, quite honestly, women can be quite savage with others of their species, leaving scars that can hurt for decades. She is giving away the first two chapters for FREE, so go on over to her blog and sign up. I have already started reading the first chapter and I can tell you it is excellent. Never Unfriended will be published on 4 April 2017, so do yourself a favour and pre-order your copy or keep an eye out for it on the shelves.

The second book I would like to recommend is Walking in Grace by Dalene Reyburn. Dalene is mom to two awesome boys and has learnt the hard way about walking in grace. I have an enormous amount of respect for her and her husband and God is using both of them to bless others. Walking in Grace is a 365 day devotional and if you want to deepen your walk with God, then get this devotional. It is already on the shelves, so do yourself a favour and get a copy. 

Dalene and Lisa-Jo have been wonderfully blessed as authors and write from deep experience with words that reach deep into your heart.


 On a completely different not I would love to share this beautiful storm lily with you. It was one of four given to me by a friend and it is the lone survivor.

It flowered for the first time this summer and was so beautiful while it lasted.

Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Welcome 2017!



I always feel a bit ambivalent about a New Year starting. On one hand I look back at the year past and feel that I could have done so much better, so much more. This past year has been a particularly difficult year for our family. I have battled with health issues which exhaust me emotionally more than anything else. My uncle died last December following a very short illness, which meant my aunt has had to move back to South Africa. My dad started the year off with a triple bypass followed by complications and two return trips to ICU. God has graciously spared him and we are so grateful but it has been a stressful time for our family.

I lost my job and had to take a much lower paying job. While we have battled financially as a result, I am also much happier and calmer in my new job and for the first time in years actually look forward to going to work. This loss of income has meant that we have had to take my daughter out of her expensive private school, which for those of you who live in South Africa or know anything about our public school system know that it has been a big blow to our family, particularly my daughter. We are also in the process of selling our house as we are no longer able to pay our bond and at the moment face a very uncertain future in terms of where we are going to live and how we are going to cover expenses. This financial stress has also brought me closer to some dear friends who have let me cry on shoulders when needed and prayed with and for me when I feel weak and afraid. I thank God for this family He has given to believers.

We have also lost a number of friends this year to illness and accidents, some younger than we are. This brought great sadness but also helped me to remember that this life has no guarantees and that only God know when our time is up, so I need to live my life to the full while I can because there may be no tomorrow. It has also inspired me to stop putting off the things I fear or the things that want to do “one day” when I have the time. These include losing a LOT of weight that is literally holding me back from living my best life. It also means finishing a degree that I have wanted to complete for years but was held back by fear. It means connecting with friends round a cup of coffee and not just on Facebook. And putting paint brush to paper and ink on a page. You get the idea.

I do not know what 2017 holds and I have no guarantee that I will be here to greet the New Year and see in 2018. What I do have in hope and a faithful God to cling to in all things. May your 2017 be full of God’s blessings and may you experience all His goodness.

A small aside. I have a friend, Dalene Reyburn who is a brilliant writer and she just published a book of devotions called Walking in Grace which is coming out in January 2017. Please go to her blog for a free copy of the first chapter of her book and grab a copy of, in fact grab several copies for friends and family. Dalene has been given the gift of writing and touching our souls where they need it most. I am getting nothing from this promotion except the knowledge that you will be supporting a friend and will be blessed by what she has to say.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

When mom's collide

I have been really struggling to juggle all the pressures of motherhood this new school year. I have been sick, there has been huge financial upheaval as my work contract ends in March and I am battling to find other work, I have one child starting BIG school and the other starting a new school and having to leave her friends behind. My dad is in hospital facing bypass surgery and I feel as if I am being torn in ten different directions, trying to be a good mom, wife ,daughter,employee.

So often I look at other moms and think that they have it so together or I judge them for choices that they make that are so foreign to my own. Today I came across an advert about the Sisterhood of Motherhood that shows so clearly what it means to be a mom and why, despite our differences we are all just trying to do the best we know how as parents for the most precious people in our lives. Please take a few minutes to watch and share this video.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

A year of living dangerously


Danger means many different things to different people. For some it is the adrenaline rush you get from leaping out of a plane. Others get a rush from chemicals or alcohol or even new relationship. For others it is their career. My dangerous looks a little different.
Relection


I have a whole box full of patterns I want to try, cookbooks I would love to experiment with, a bag of polymer clay with a head full of ideas of what I would love to create, two easels and a drawer full of art materials. My dangerous is picking up the paintbrush, opening a new Word document, adding the first stitch to needle or material, buying the ingredients for a new recipe. The blank canvas, in whichever form it comes terrifies me, yet I have this desperate desire to create. It fills me to the point where I cannot not create.

Perfectionism and creativity are not happy bed companions. The very nature of creativity is wrought with failure. I am so scared of this. Ruining a canvas, writing a post no-one will read terrifies me to the point of immobility. So this year I have promised myself I WILL create, regardless of the outcome. I have given myself permission to fail because I realise that without this permission I will stagnate and die a little more inside each day.
Letting go

My God did not create me for this. He is the first creator and has made me in His image, which means that my creativity is given as a gift from my Father, to enjoy and to give pleasure to others.

So here is to a year (... and a future) of leaping off cliffs and living dangerously.