Monday, January 27, 2014


When Echo, my faux-American Girl doll, entered my life on Christmas, I knew immediately what I would be receiving for my March birthday.  A doll that fab has to have a cool bedroom set to reside in and since I'm notoriously hard to buy for, I knew my family would be more than happy to let me pick out these accessories myself.  (Yes, this will be for my 44th birthday.  No, I don't think that's strange at all.  Well, maybe I think it's a little strange, but the 70s bits you can buy for this doll are that I just don't care if I look like a freak with arrested development.)

Groovy, but...ouch!  The price!
While I'm willing to pay the relatively steep prices they want for the record player and tape recorder or the lunch box set, I bristled at the $125 they wanted for the doll bed.  Granted, it has those cool love beads hanging down, but I still thought there had to be a cheaper alternative.  A quick Google search and I found numerous sites with do-it-yourself American Girl beds that probably wouldn't have stretched my limited abilities with nails and carpenter's glue. 

Sitting at my mother's kitchen table having lunch, I glanced to my left and saw her collection of little pitchers on this battered, wooden two-shelf unit.  I immediately said, "I think that would just fit my doll."  I happened to have the doll with me (I was harassing my sister about making Echo a poncho) and sure enough, the shelf was just the right length for her to lie flat and just wide enough.  My mother graciously dumped her pitchers elsewhere and I carted it home. 

Marcia, Marcia Marcia!
I gave the thing a couple coats of white semi-gloss and then went in search of fabric.  My sister assumed I'd want it to be all Brady Bunch girls-inspired.  I've mentioned many (many, many) times that as a kid I was absolutely obsessed with having their bedroom.  Those funky 70s flowers on the wallpaper!  Ah, heaven!  However, Echo is going to reside most of the time in my family room and, most of the time, that room is decorated with my gorgeous retro decor in the avocado-tangerine-marigold color scheme.  I needed fabric that would scream 1972 but that didn't clash with the other chotchkies in the space.  We can't clash.  That would be tacky.

Hobby Lobby let me down, but I found just the thing at JoAnn's:

I knew I had a winner when I showed it to my mother and she literally recoiled from the pattern.  I was hoping to find fabric with owls, but anything with the birdy motif was either the wrong color or too nursery-oriented, or the owls were strange and bug-eyed and not groovy at all.  Mushrooms were almost as good.  And the fabric goes perfectly with my mushroom sign and my mushroom mug...

I'm not a fan of the sewing machine.  I can knit for hours on end, but put me in front that damn Singer and I'm ready to beat myself over the head with it.  I spent all of Friday evening, into the early hours of Saturday, working on the bedding.  Then I got up Saturday morning and spent another hour and a half tweaking it some more.  I have some OCD tendencies and like Monk the detective, I can't stand things that are crooked or asymetrical.  The canopy kept coming out uneven and the bedspread billowed out instead of draping nicely by the sides.  I finally solved the latter by just tucking the whole mess under the mattress.  It's not like the doll is really going to use the bed.  And, no, I don't intend to sit around playing with her.  Even as a child I wasn't wild about dolls.  Loved my stuffed animals, but dolls usually ended up with their heads shaved or on my dissecting table.  (I just had to know what the inner workings of Baby Alive looked like.)

I made quick work of the mattress by using four folded cloth diapers from the basement, formerly my children's burp cloths.  Much easier than trying to cut a piece of foam with an electric carving knife.  The pillow is just stuffed with a wad of fiberfill.

And the result?  Voila!

I'm a lousy photographer with a mediocre camera.  I swear it actually looks pretty cute.

Caught in the act.
I have to say I'm pretty pleased.  Even my sister admitted it looked better than she thought it would.  I mean, she thinks the fabric is horrendous and vomit-worthy, but it totally is the look she knew I was going for.  Unfortunately the doll and her bed reside on a long mission cabinet in the family room, just in front of this window-like opening that goes into the kitchen.  The cats frequently use the table as a springboard to leap through the window and I have this strange feeling they'll constantly bump that bed and ruin the symmetry of the fabric.  I'll probably spend half my life straightening the canopy and making sure there's equal white space showing on each side.  Thank God the motif in the fabric wasn't in straight lines or I'd need some new medication.

The only question now is the love beads.  Do I add them so that it more closely resembles the real thing or would adding beads to the wild fabric be overkill?  The one thing I don't want to be is tacky.


Nancy Susanna Breen said...

Too late on the "tacky." I saw go with the love beads, at least on the ends of the bed under the canopy. Need a miniature crocheted granny square afghan for the foot of the bed? (I do think this came out really cool-looking, even as much as I detest the '70s.)

Anonymous said...

I think you did a really great job on this. This is a much better use for the table than housing a bunch of vintage pitchers.

whiskers said...

Cool looking bed. I loved to play with dolls when I was younger. My dolls would have loved this bed. If you add the beads just go with 1 or 2 colors that are in the fabric and it shouldn't be too loud.

whiskers said...

By the way, Whiskers is Kathie's mom. Lol. :-)