Well American Girl has done it again! They have come out with another Girl of the Year and she is none other than Grace Thomas! Now, if you’re like me you LOVE all things American girl. And if your daughter is anything like mine, she spills over the magazine for hours-on-end and studies it like nothing she has ever studied before! And, every 2 minutes pipes up asking, “Mom, for Christmas can you get me…..?”
Are you familiar with the scene? If so read on!
This summer my daughter turned 12 and in true style of my girl, she wanted nothing more than to go to the new Nashville store which opened this spring. So, as any mom would do, I jumped on board the train (as did her grandparents) and for her birthday our entire family went and experienced an American Girl shopping spree. Though my daughter has many bitty babies – as she loves her babies, this year she opted for something different, she wanted Grace Thomas. If you aren’t familiar with this girl let me give a brief history.
Grace’s story is super sweet and reminds me of a girl I know. She’s a girl with a big heart and a big dream who loves to bake. Her grandparents own a bakery, but it’s in trouble. Grace, in true spirit, desires to help her grandparent save their bakery. So, after being entered into a baking contest and going through several challenges, she finishes in 1st place. Her winnings are put toward helping her grandma and grandpa save their bakery. Sweet story right? So, what’s the problem?
Well, Grace alone is an expensive doll. Add in a couple of outfits, a couple of accessories, and a family has already spent more than enough for a girl’s birthday!
But what about the bakery? I mean, how can you get Grace and NOT get the bakery? Welllll, the bakery my friends is $500! Yes, you read that correctly it is $500! Now, we could totally consider a gift like this for Christmas MAAAAYBE…but, Grace retires in December and that would be the ONLY gift given. And, let’s be honest my girl is likely going to want another friend for Grace to play with. So, what’s a mom to do?
DIY the Grace Thomas Bakery for your girl!
Well, THIS mom decided to make the bakery and all the yummy goodness that goes with it. And, I’m going to share it – and all the details – with you so that you, too, can make your daughter’s day!
Here is the entire set up. It’s not wood so anyone can do this. The background and top are all made from a tri-fold display board. It was already red, so I only had to find the right color of blue paper for the background. It took 4 – 12×12 sheets of paper. I modpodged these 4 sheets to the center panel. The tri-fold display board was very tall – so I cut off the excess, turned it red-side in and hot glued all around the edges to make sure the top stayed put. The floor is another sheet of foam board/mat board, which I simply covered again with paper and modpodge. The tri-fold display (the walls and background) were then hot glued to the floor. I was going to cut the base, but then decided to leave it to add the stability to it (so it doesn’t fit right up to the wall).In the American Girl version of the bakery, it has a set of red side door panels. Along the door panels are black menus. I lucked out BIG time and found the side panels at Wal-mart in their craft section (now this could even be done with black paper). I also picked up the welcome sign (which they also carry at Michaels) and a Sharpie chalk-pen so that I could write out all the details of the pastries and breads found in the bakery. I copied the panels from a menu I found on line.The miniature shelf unit (seen above), was also found at Michaels. It was in the clearance section. See that knob on the bottom of it? It’s actually a tiny drawer. I found 2 of them and used one as the wall hanging. The other is being used simply as shelves b/c I haven’t made an oven or refrigerator like the one you can purchase from the store. The trim piece (above the shelves) was found separately at Hobby Lobby (in the unfinished wood department). I simply glued it on and painted it white to match. Also on the shelf are some black die-cuts we found (at Hobby Lobby) these are being used as the “menus.” 🙂The center display rack came to me after seeing a decor item in one of the craft stores. I wanted to make it similar to what I saw, but keep it simple enough that I could work with it (and not pay $25). So, I went to the floral section and grabbed 2 pieces of circular foam, some dowel rods from the unfinished wood section and then cut the circles in half and glued the dowel rods on. The rods came in a package and were already 12″ high, so I just placed my half-moon foam circles at the top, bottom, and then in the center. The hot glue will melt the foam but keep gluing – it’s sturdy enough for the intended purpose.The mini eiffel tower was found at Michaels near the jewelry section. The little mini tray was found in the glass and ceremics section of Hobby Lobby, and the little mini tin that is holding the flowers (also found at Hobby Lobby) was found in the aisle where your glass jars and such are found – think spice jars.Now, my mother-in-law is credited for finding these super cute, doll-sized baking decor items. We found these in the Christmas tree ornament section! Brilliant! 🙂 And, the mini doilies we found in the scrapbook section – SO CUTE….I also credit her for that idea!!Okay, the cake stand. I built this and you can too. In the unfinished wood section are mini circles and mini (what look like) candle sticks. The cake stand could be made with one or two levels. I just hot-glued them together and painted them white.Here’s another view – just with the cookies on it. Speaking of the cookies, ALL of the pastry items were made. My youngest daughter did a few, but for the most part this was a me project as well. (I’m a little picky and wanted them to look super real! 🙂 BUT she had fun playing with the clay and sitting with me too, which is really what it is all about! We made the pastries out of polymer clay. It’s super simple. Just know what baked goods you want to create when you go to the store so that you know what colors you need to buy – you’ll definitely want white and neutral colors along with some of the brighter ones.. This will save you time and money. Once you make them, place them on parchment paper, stick them on a cookie sheet, and bake at 275 for 15 minutes (my layered cake had to cook longer b/c of it’s thickness). Use a nickel to help determine the sizes of your pastries. There are also a few tools that are nice to use, to give the cakes, cookies, and strawberries some texture. Here are the clay tools I used.Here – with Grace – you’ll see our version of the bistro set. While I’m still searching for a chair the table was made out of a candle stick (probably my most expensive item at $11) and an unfinished round piece of wood from the unfinished wood department – also found at Hobby Lobby! I simply painted the wood white.
My trip cost to Michaels (with coupons) cost me around $80. This bought the poster board (for the base/floor), tri-fold display board, a variety of polymer clay, the welcome sign, the scrapbook paper, an exacto knife, foam, dowel rods, and a few miscellaneous items that weren’t bought for the project. My other purchase at Hobby Lobby came in at $74 for the remaining items: the unfinished wood, candle stick, tin, flowers, clock and Eiffel Tower stickers for the back wall, the doilies, the doll-sized baker items, the turquoise tray and the die cut menus . Yes, it did take my time, but for around $150 I have a couple of girls that were really excited about being able to play with the Grace Thomas bakery. And, as a creative, I got to enjoy the process of being creative too. So, despite the time, I see this project as a WIN-WIN-WIN (happy mom, happy kids, and happy husband (b/c it didn’t cost $500!) ha!!
Does this sound like something you could do? Maybe you could even do it with your daughter! That would be a big WIN for both. I hope this is helpful.
Til next time,