OOTD – French Vanilla & the Start of a New Project

Outfit of the Day – Arista

Ever start off thinking you want to make one thing, but when you try to find what you need to make it, you can’t find ANYTHING? But then you find other stuff that looks neat, so you decide to make something entirely different? Yeah…

I’ve been toying with the idea of making a black mage costume for Arista for a while now. I finally got my butt down to my local Joann’s (which usually doesn’t have anything) and true to form, they didn’t have anything that was calling my name. A black mage is a FINAL FANTASY class type that specializes in dealing elemental damage to foes (in FINAL FANTASY XIV, that usually includes lightning, fire, and ice attacks). This class is not only fun to play, but it’s one that I could see myself actually “being” if people were able to wield the elements. I don’t think I’d be brave enough to be up close with a sword and shield, and I wouldn’t want to focus on healing my teammates (as noble as that effort would be) – I’d wanna be standing at a distance, maniacally laughing as a giant fireball scorched whatever foe had dared to threaten my friends. I guess that probably says something about me – I’m chill until provoked and then watch out! Or maybe I like to make a big impact from the comfort of being at a distance…? I don’t know. I’m an INFJ; I confound myself all the time.

Speaking of confounding myself…

This is the top to whatever creation is slowly taking form. I found this GORGEOUS sheer lace fabric and some pretty purple brocade (which I’ll tackle later on) and my black mage plans turned a bit more… princess-y? Since I’m not sure what I want to do for a skirt, I thought I’d use it as a top for now.

Arista with lace top

French Vanilla

Top: Cream lace and satin top from a project I’m currently working on! (with an added blue ribbon)

Pants: Jeans by Royal Doll Boutique on Etsy

Shoes: Sparkly Black Flats

Accessories: Grace’s Meet Charm Bracelet, Grace’s blue bow earrings with Eiffel Tower dangles, lace bow from Samantha’s holiday dress, Grace’s souvenir cookies.

My inspiration for… whatever I’m in the process of creating… is THIS amazing Elie Saab dress.

Elie Saab dress

How do I love this dress? Let me count the ways…

I love this dress. This is the dress a mermaid princess would choose for her first foray on land. It looks like it’s made of sea foam and a mosaic of shells. OH, HOW I LOVE THIS DRESS.

But, unfortunately, I am not as talented as Mr. Saab. My first rendition of this top was a bit more sheer, a bit closer to the original, but I couldn’t figure out how to make it work the way I wanted. I saved it, but decided to try again. This version is more generic. It looks like something you might see topping a prom or wedding dress. But I’m happy with it so far. The back kinda makes an awkward “V” into a snap and kinda angles back out, but I might fix that with the addition of the skirt part.

Arista in the vanilla lace top/

Ooh la la! So much lace!

I’m not sure yet if I want to try to finish off the edge of the sheer part or just try to be REALLY careful as I take the top on and off. I’m hoping I’ll find some time this weekend to start on the skirt. I’m using three colors of tulle – beige, light purple and dark indigo. I’m hoping it’ll give the skirt a neat look. We’ll see… ;)


OOTD – Ombréd Gray

Outfit of the Day – Arista

Arista's Outfit of the Day

Ombred Gray on a Cloudy Day

Tops: Grace’s Meet Tee, Tee from Saige’s Sweater Set

Shorts: Shorts from Grace’s City Outfit

Shoes: Sparkly Black Flats

Accessories: Grace’s Meet Charm Bracelet, Rosy Glasses, Star Stud Earrings

It’s been very “May gray” here lately, which I actually really love. Gray days just feel very chill to me – perfect for being cozy indoors and doing something fun. My job and my husband’s job can get pretty hectic at times, so it’s nice to have a chance to relax on the weekends.

Arista’s look mimics the gray weather with a white to gray to black ombre of color. The pop of pink from her shirt is repeated in her rosy glasses. I actually have a pair that’s almost exactly like these, so my parents made sure I got the mini version for my mini me! Like me, Arista doesn’t wear her glasses for prolonged periods of time (she and I prefer the freedom of contacts), but sometimes when she’s just chillin’ indoors, she opts to keep them on all day. Arista’s sparkly black flats have the right amount of comfy and dressy to match the nicer fabric of her shorts. And her silver jewelry adds a nice finishing touch and brings an additional hint of sparkle.

Arista's Outfit of the Day

Tiny Tokidoki!

Gray days are great for looking through your collections! Arista likes to collect Tokidoki figures. These Japanese-inspired creations are actually the work of Italian artist Simone Legno. His creatures are a fun mix of animals, food, and plants – like these cactus pups and cactus kitty. These particular ones just the right scale for 18″ dolls and look a lot like their larger counterparts. Once my husband and I can get into a bigger place, I’d love to make a doll-sized bookshelf that can store all of my doll’s collectibles. Collectibles for my collectibles, how weird is that haha!

Tutu with toys

Toys for Tutu?

And, as cats are wont to do, Tutu thinks these must be for her to play with… ;)


Mini Cactuar Plush


Mini Plush Cactuar |  found on SQUARE ENIX Online Store (no longer available)

Arista and Cactuar

Arista and her other new friend – a cactuar!

EEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! My husband is the best husband EVER! XD

I’ve been wanting a mini cactuar plush since they were announced! A cactuar is another FINAL FANTASY creature. These guys aren’t quite as menacing as tonberries. They’re little cactus-like creatures that are usually only dangerous when provoked. They generally keep to themselves, chillin’ in the desert. But watch out… If you anger one, they’ll fight back with their sharp needles. Really make one mad and you’re likely to face the dreaded “10,000 Needles” attack (which, as you might guess from the name, does 10,000 points of damage – yikes!).

Cactuar Up Close

Running nowhere fast

I have some serious plans for this little guy. He’s going to be Arista’s little minion – just like the character I play on FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Real Reborn (haha, can you tell one of my other passions is FINAL FANTASY?). Now I just need to figure out how to make a Black Mage costume and staff for Arista. I love playing a Black Mage – there’s just something really fun about wielding the power of the elements! (As long as you’re far enough away not to get hit by the enemy. Mages don’t have the greatest defense…)

Much Fangirling


Pardon us as we fangirl out. ;D


Updates and Izzy’s OOTD

Outfit of the Day – Isabelle

Izzy and Tutu

Tutu and Isabelle

It’s been awhile since I’ve had Isabelle out! I thought it was high time for her to get to try out Saige’s Sparkle Dress and some of the other newer accessories she missed – including Tutu!

It’s been hard lately for me to have more than one or two of my dolls out at a time, or even some of the larger items. Since our windows and sliding door were changed out, our complex decided the next “upgrade” our complex needed was electronic locks – complete with the ability to track who enters or leaves and when. They can even remotely unlock and lock the doors. Between these “beneficial upgrades” and the number of times they need to inspect or shut off our water to repair the pipes, this place is seriously starting to feel less and less private… So, needless to say, my husband and I are trying to figure out if we can afford a place we can own and how. Because of that, you might see posts that are easier for me to set up, like this one, for awhile.

OK, enough life stuff, back to the good stuff! Izzy in her outfit of the day (OOTD), featuring one of my favorite pieces of AG clothing!

Izzy Spins

Dancing Dizzy Izzy

Dress: Saige’s Sparkle Dress

Shoes: Sandals from Shimmer & Lace Party Dress Set

Accessories: Necklace from Samantha’s BeForever Accessories Set, sunglasses from thecraftysewingbee on etsy

Izzy in the Sparkle Dress

A sweet look for Spring.

This is a great look for Springtime – and for a Mother’s Day weekend. The flowers on the sandals match the flower in the middle of the gold heart pendant. Saige’s leather sandals would also look nice with the outfit (and give it a slightly dressed down appearance).

Izzy, Tutu and the Tonberry

Tutu and her new (reluctant) friend…

I think Isabelle’s pretty happy to see Tutu. I don’t think the tonberry feels the same way, though… ;)


Mini Tonberry Plush


Mini Plush Tonberry |  found on SQUARE ENIX Online Store (no longer available)

Arista and tonberry plush

Arista and her tonberry friend

This little tonberry plush actually belongs to my husband (I got it for him for Christmas last year), but he doesn’t mind if Arista or my other dolls borrow it once in awhile.

What’s a tonberry? It’s one of the creatures found in the game series, FINAL FANTASY. Tonberries appear in several of the games, and one of the most interesting things about them is the variety of ways they’re depicted. They can be cute little waddling creatures that look almost like a cross between a frog and a small dinosaur, or they can be large, quietly lurking monsters. I think that’s part of what makes my husband love them so much – they don’t look like they should be that scary, but when you’re playing a game and you know the dangerous ones are stalking you in a dark dungeon, it gets suspenseful!

This little guy doesn’t look too deadly, though… Right?

Tonberry up close

The (strange) traditional accessories of a tonberry – a chef’s knife and a lantern

This little plush is the perfect scale for 18″ dolls! He has a little cord loop at the top of his head so he can be attached to a phone, backpack, or anything else begging for a cute accessory. He’s pretty detailed for being so small!

And he looks a lot like his larger counterpart…

Large Tonberry

A larger tonberry, who made an appearance in our FINAL FANTASY-themed engagement shots (photo by Lori Anderson Photographers)

Now I just need to make doll-sized FINAL FANTASY costumes for my dolls. In the meantime, Arista can pretend she’s fleeing from this terrifying tonberry.

Arista and Tonberry

Yep. She’s pretty scared. ;)


ONE YEAR of Mini Mad!

Mini Mad is ONE YEAR OLD as of yesterday! Time flies when you’re having fun collecting and crafting!

I first started this blog as a place to write about the small, cute things I’ve collected over the years, and what makes me love them. And then somewhere along the way, Mini Mad became more about my American Girl collection and crafts. I think that’s because there’s still a part of me that goes “Wow, I can’t believe I finally have these dolls!”

I first became aware of American Girl’s doll line back in 1996 (I distinctly remember the yellow jacket of the First Day Outfit haha). Even as a kid, I was impressed by the attention to detail and how realistic everything looked. The tiny computer and math book for modern girls blew my mind! Remembering that feeling of “Wouldn’t it be neat to have that?” makes actually having the dolls, clothes and accessories now even better.

Caroline and Bennett

Caroline, the first American Girl doll I bought in person from American Girl Place

On this happy occasion, I thought it might be fun to do a sort of mini year in review! So, without further ado, here are some facts and favorites from this past year.

The American Girl Dolls of Mini Mad

Right now, I have Isabelle, Caroline, Marie-Grace, Kanani, Arista (custom #53) and Sienna (custom Grace). I also have the mini versions of Samantha, Ruthie, Nellie, Felicity, and Saige.

Favorite Sewing Project

I really love how the Disneyland T-Shirt came out. It’s probably the one thing I’ve made that everyone has worn at some point. It’s also a project that came out almost exactly the way I’d hoped it would. The sleeves are a little longer than the actual shirt it’s based off of, but close enough!

Paris-themed Apron

Second place would probably go to the Paris-themed aprons I made for my mom’s dolls and mine. Even though both are slightly different, I really love how both turned out.

Biggest Challenge

Hands down, removing Grace’s wig was the most difficult project of the year. I got Grace in person at American Girl Place, and I had spent a long time looking through a bunch of them for the best face and wig. When I started taking off her wig, I noticed that it was a little tougher than removing #53’s wig, but it wasn’t until I got to the center and the glue refused to budge that I began to wonder if removing Grace’s wig had been a huge mistake. Despite how thrashed my hands were at the end of the process, I’m really glad I stuck with it (I’m sure Sienna is, too).

Biggest Accomplishment

Or should I say “accomplishments”…

Happy Valentine's Day

It wasn’t long ago that the idea of actually making a custom doll seemed impossible. Doll-sized wigs? Spoons? Glue? It all once seemed way too high level for me. But the more I saw other people’s custom dolls, and the more I read up on the customization process, the more confidence I gained, until I finally decided to try my hand at it. Arista’s a pretty close mini me, and although I didn’t intend it, Sienna has my husband’s coloring. Sometimes I feel like these two are my favorites, just because of all the work that went into creating them.

Future Plans

I definitely want to sew more clothes for my dolls. I’d really like to try making the Frillseeker dress again – now that I know how I messed up last time. Eventually, I want to get good enough to attempt some of the Disney Princess doll dress patterns I snatched during a sale at Joann’s.

I’d also like to try crafting some clay foods. My mom and I have been watching a lot of MyFroggyStuff’s tutorials and she makes even the most complicated projects look manageable. Her new waffle tutorial looks like a good beginner project (and it looks tasty…).

I also need to figure out a better way to store all of my stuff! I’m sure that’ll be an ongoing project…

It’s been a great first year of Mini Mad! I’m excited to share more projects and finds with all of you this year! Thanks for reading! :)


Ready for Easter! (Mostly)

Easter 2014

I recently upgraded my phone, and as I was looking through old pictures (of which there were many – I’m really bad about clearing off my pictures…), I found this one from Easter last year! Back before the days of MINI MAD, when I was still figuring out the basics of photographing dolls. Back then I only had Isabelle, Caroline and Marie Grace.

This year, I didn’t have time to set up as nice of a display. My husband and I are opting for more Spring cleaning (read: purging) and less Spring decorating this year, so our only real Easter-ish decorations are…

Easter-y Group

Yep, you guessed it, dolls.

I have to admit, Sienna, Kanani, Arista, and Caroline look more like they’re ready for Valentine’s Day than Easter dressed in so much pink, but it works for now. I was tempted to get Samantha’s Special Dress to add a little blue-green into the mix, but I just couldn’t pass up her Travel Coat and Hat. There’s just something about it that I absolutely love! (And there’s no way I’d ever be able to sew my own… Not right away, anyway.)

Bunnies and more!

Chocolate and bunnies – two of my weaknesses…

At least I have plenty of Easter bunnies! Even before I had rabbits as pets, I think I’ve always like rabbits better than chicks. Chicks are pretty cute, but it’s hard to top the silly, sweet fluffballs that are rabbits. I really love how detailed the chocolate bunnies from Kit’s set are. They look like they could be real chocolate! (I like to think of mine as dark chocolate. My husband and I are both dark chocolate fiends.)

Caroline and Arista

Channeling the Past

I was originally going to have Caroline wear Samantha’s dress, coat and hat, but she looks so good in Kit’s dress, I changed my mind. Caroline looks good in any era – though I never seem to have her dressed in anything from her actual year of 1812. Oh well. I really like Arista in Samantha’s clothes. With her brown hair and eyes, she is a pretty good stand in (and I prefer her side bangs to Samantha’s pie bangs).

I hope you and yours have a wonderful Easter filled with food, family and friends! ♥