Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tutorial: How to Make a Baby Doll Bottle With Disappearing Milk

Today I took a break from cleaning and cooking to work a little on my sadly neglected eBay and Etsy stores. We have guests arriving tomorrow, so it's just a short break. I ordered some plastic baby bottles a couple months ago so I could make "disappearing" formula bottles for baby dolls. I was pleased to find small, 4 inch bottles, with closed nipple lids, rather than a pierced nipple. A lot of people make these with real baby bottles for reborn dolls, but I find those too large and I also don't trust the flexible pierced nipple. Even though you can close the hole in the nipple, it would still be easy for a determined child to bite through a silicone nipple and drink the fake formula. That would be bad, since the formula is not made of edible ingredients and could be quite harmful if ingested. My bottles have hard plastic nipples with no hole in the nipple, so it's easier to keep the fake formula out of a child's mouth. Still, I would keep these away from kids who aren't old enough to understand they shouldn't drink it. My own children would have been able to play with these at age 8 or so, but please consider your own child's personality when making one of these to use as a toy. I sell the bottles to make these in my Etsy store and also make them to order.

Baby Doll Bottle

To begin, gather isopropyl alcohol, clear baby oil, and all purpose flour, along with a bottle.

Ingredients for formula

The formula "disappears" when you turn the bottle upside down because it flows into the bottle lid. Since the lid is opaque, it looks like the baby doll is actually drinking the formula. Therefore, you don't want to make too much more formula than will fit in the lid. I use the lid as a measuring cup.

Use the lid as a measuring cup.
I measure one cap full of alcohol and mix it with 3/4 cap of flour and 1/3 cap of baby oil. Whisk all these until smooth with a fork or wire whisk. The formula will have an authentic grainy appearance, just like real breast milk or baby formula.

Pour the formula into the bottle.
Pour the formula into the bottle using a funnel. Then wipe the threads on the bottle neck with a paper towel dipped in alcohol to remove any spills or debris in preparation for gluing the lid.

I really like Beacon 527. It's a great all-purpose glue. I use it in my studio for making doll jewelry, jointed cloth dolls, making repairs... pretty much everything. This is a permanent glue, which is what you want in a situation like this where you don't want the lid to come off.

Glue the lid.

Wipe away the excess glue.
Glue all around the bottle neck and immediately screw the lid on the bottle. Wipe away any excess glue from the neck. Allow the glue to dry. Now your bottle is ready for play or display! I am trying to devise a formula that will be safe if a child ingests it but not spoil or get moldy. If I come up with one I will update this post.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Great Turd War

Just look at the beautiful Christmas scene in my living room. It's like a vintage greeting card, isn't it? Except... Why are the presents scattered all over the floor? Well, that would be due to the Great Christmas Turd War, now being waged in the living room. By the way, notice how lovely the mirror I repaired in my epoxy tutorial looks now that it's painted and displayed!

Remember that sweet Himalayan cat we rescued and nursed back to health? Remember how she was such a perfectly behaved angel? Yeah, well, much like children who test you once they've been adopted, our cat now feels comfortable enough to push us and see how far the boundaries stretch. At least, that's our theory. My husband's Internet research indicated cats might have such a turf war when moving in together. Our teen said, "Actually, it's more like a 'turd war!'", and the name stuck.

Our new cat

Our kitten, who was furious at first when we adopted the second cat, calmed down. The cats have been actually playing and eating together. We decided to see if we could downsize to one litter box. That fateful decision occurred around the same time we put the Christmas tree up. Turns out, it was a really bad idea. The cats, once pushed into such close proximity, apparently felt the need to assert their own specific territories, and both wanted the Christmas tree. First, Snickers the Himalayan peed in the plastic plant trays next to the tree. Oreo, the kitten, retaliated by pooping on the floor next to the plants. This has been escalating until this afternoon, when Snickers peed all over the tree skirt and presents under the tree. Just as soon as I mopped that up, Oreo came in and pooped on the floor right in front of me! It was the last straw.

The presents the cat peed on

I mixed up a cat repelling oil blend and rubbed it all over the woodwork and the floor along the entrance to the room in the hopes I can keep them out all together. The recipe is: 10 drops each Young Living rosemary and Citrus Fresh essential oils mixed into 1/4 cup olive oil. This scent is supposed to be particularly abhorrent to cats. I sure hope it works! Luckily most of the expensive presents aren't wrapped yet.

As disgusting as all this has been, it was a welcome distraction today. I finally came to the conclusion it's time to let Ilse, our 13 1/2 year old Sheltie, go. She never really recovered from her illness this summer and over the past month she's become increasingly frail. She can't really see and can barely walk. I have to lift her out of her bed. She also sits around shaking, as if shivering from cold, all the time, even when the weather is warm. She doesn't do anything other than eat and sleep, but until this week she seemed to enjoy eating, so I thought she might as well continue to have that pleasure. This week, however, she won't even eat her special treats. She just lets them fall out of her mouth and our Spitz takes them and eats them. Ilse has lost a significant amount of weight as well, and she's arching her back in a way that looks painful to me, so I'm sure it feels so to her. A couple times when I've tried to take her outside she's tried to bite me, and she's bitten our Spitz several times. She's clearly miserable, so I made the call to have her put down. Her appointment is Friday morning, a time when I could be there with her for the procedure. I feel like a horrible person who's betraying her on the one hand. On the other hand, if I could have done this for my grandmother when she was dying I would have.

Ilse, our Sheltie, wearing her sweater.

As much as I know Ilse's painless passing will be a gift unavailable to most humans, my heart is breaking. Thirteen years ago when she came into our lives we were still in our twenties, the young parents of a toddler who wasn't even in pre-school yet. That toddler drove himself to and from the orthodontist's today and is out running right now, getting in shape for the spring track season. The world of Ilse's puppyhood is gone, and holding on to her is becoming selfish, but that doesn't make it any less painful.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, free from turd wars, and that your 2016 opens into a beautiful new world.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Stocking Stuffer Sale from Atelier Mandaline!

Handmade Angel Ornaments for Sale by Atelier Mandaline

As the holidays approach, I'm feeling the pinch! I try really hard to save and budget during the year and pick up as many things as I can early in the year so I can spread the price tag pain out over several months. With kids you always get last minute requests (like last year's Christmas Eve announcement that Santa was bringing my son "a spaceship with GPS"). I was like, "Um...I don't think so!"

At any rate, I feel you right now, so I'm offering a few exclusive discounts especially for my newsletter subscribers and blog followers and readers. Atelier Mandaline on eBay is currently having a Stocking Stuffer sale, where the more you buy, the more you save! When you purchase three or more items from that store using this exclusive link to the sale, you will save 15% on your total purchase!

Atelier Mandaline on Etsy has several easy ways to save. Just for you blog readers, save 10% on your order when you order by using the coupon code: BLOGGER. Favorite my shop or any of my items on Etsy and I will send another coupon code for 10% off. I will only send one email; you won't be entered into a data base or anything and you won't get any more messages from me unless you contact me or purchase something OR unless you take part in my Pinterest promotion, in which case I will send you a 15% off coupon! To participate in that promo, just pin any three of my products to Pinterest and send me a link to your board. I will send a coupon in return!

I hope this helps with holiday purchasing pain. Between these two stores, I truly have something for everyone. Best of luck for stress-free preparations in the weeks ahead!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Pay Your Pal

Contact Me for Doll Repair Pricing.

Here's an exciting development for Atelier Mandaline! Now when you send a doll to my hospital for repair or wish to buy a doll you see on this blog (make sure to check with me first to see if I still have it in stock) you can pay me right here without going through any third party  like Bay or Etsy. Direct payment means I can reduce the cost of my items, so it's a great thing for everyone! I have a copy and paste link to my PayPal Me page on the sidebar of the blog. Sorry, but for some reason I can't get links to go live in the sidebar or headers anymore and I can't figure out what's wrong. I think it's a Blogger issue. You can also link right here to my PayPal Me page.