Thursday, 4 February 2016

Colour Couture Dolls

On July 19th 2015 I launched my #colourcouturedolls & I'm only just blogging about them now, that's bad isn't it :(
The positive side to this is that the lack of blogging is due to lots of orders & my first really successful Christmas - yay!! 


The colour couture dolls (aka Co'Co' dolls) were completely inspired by my eldest daughter. She loves to colour & being very girlie she enjoys playing with her dolls. I find dolls clothes everywhere because she loves to change their outfits & even attempts to squeeze them onto other toys such as her teddies; anything and everything will get dressed up somehow! 

It was when she was bought a lovely paperdolls set that the main idea came to be. She spent ages colouring in the little outfits & was so happy with them. But then her stubbornness wouldn't allow me to help her & so at the cutting out part there were outfits ruined & lots of tears :( The outfits that did make it still ended up ruined because they were easily bent or were damaged by water & sticky little fingers etc. It was such a shame because the initial stages of her colouring were lovely to witness & the enthusiasm & eagerness to have a doll wear her outfits was something I shared with her.

All of these factors set my creative juices flowing & the colour couture dolls came to be.

In the end the dolls took a year to bring to the point of sale! I never imagined it could take so long. But every part of the dolls is unique & has undergone hundreds of hours of designing.


The dolls themselves are laser etched wood. Unlike their paper counterparts they are sturdier & made to last. They can be coloured in using coloured pencils, felt tip pens, gel pens, paints, even découpage! The outcomes are endless & the end result as unique as its owner!


Even the dresses took months to perfect. I firstly very much wanted this design shown above. When I managed to get the pattern to fit & work perfectly I was overjoyed! So imagine my dismay at a little focus group, watching the girls colouring them & struggling with the seams & tucks :( It had to be easier, it had to be very different to create a dress enjoyable to colour! So back to the drawing board for a new dress. 
The dress now has no seams, it is one basic shape that lays flat & is so easy to colour. It fastens with the softest Velcro at the back & has pretty little satin ribbon ties at the shoulders. It's been one of those little accomplishments to me that means so much!! Each & every dress has been made by my own fair hands & comes beautifully finished - unlike some of the shocking dolls clothes we have seen!



So far there are three different #colourcouturedolls designs....


This is Lara, she was intended to be the shy one, the swan princess; but of course colour her in vibrant colours & watch her persona change!


This is Gracie, named after my eldest daughter & so she of course had to have flowers in her hair & be holding a bunny; as these are all my Gracie's favourites.


& last, but certainly not least because she has been the most popular by far is Jolie. Jolie is named after my youngest daughter & so she too, copying my littleone, had to have bunches of some sort & be carrying a teddy bear.

This year will see new colour-in print designs for the dresses, and if I can perfect the pattern even a reversible dress! Two prints in one, exciting!! 

The range of coordinating colour-in jewellery will also increase & I am currently working on two special additions to the girls which I just cannot wait to reveal (fingers crossed it won't be a year this time til I get to do so ;) )

The dolls are available in my Etsy shop www.etsy.com/shop/Aboedesigns 
They can be purchased on their own or in sets with the recommended pens.

For all lovers of paperdolls I really hope they offer a better alternative. Watching my daughter play with them & even use the dresses on her other dolls, I know they offer a better experience for little ones & I hope I get to make them, & more, for years to come! 



I have had such lovely feedback from customers so far & lots of repeat custom - which is the biggest compliment ever! I hope the #colourcouturedolls can be bought to so many more homes & little ladies waiting to put their individual personality on a doll.












 




Monday, 1 February 2016

Ice cream cupcakes

I love celebrating my littles' birthdays! Always trying to make the day special, coming up with themes or organising special days around things they love at the time; I just love the planning & creating of it all!!

One of my favourite parts has to be the making of the birthday cake. (I'm certainly no chef, but I just enjoy the trying) I ask them what sort of thing they would like, & attempt to produce something to wow them. 

So imagine my dismay last year when my tinkerbell loving littlest spotted a tinkerbell cake in Tescos & just pleaded for it!! Of course I couldn't say no! It was her birthday & once she'd seen it no other cake would have made up for it. We left Tescos with a very happy little lady & an unsettled Mummy :(

The only thing I needed to now make were some cupcakes. So.....inspired by Pinterest I decided to make them the cutest cupcakes ever!


I'm so pleased to be able to say they were a huge hit!! More so than the shop bought cake (yay! Fist pump! ;) ) & shhhhh don't tell anyone but they were actually very easy to make too!

The wafer ice cream cups are available in most supermarkets. I have seen many recipes showing how normal ice cream cones can be cut & stuck to stand - but truthfully that just looks far too complicated & stressful, & why need to when these look adorable & do a better job?!

For our ice cream cup cakes we used a simple chocolate sponge recipe - use your favourite one but keep it simple the cooking time is brief. (If you would like to know the one I used please feel free to leave a comment & I can post it for you.)

My TOP TIP would be to fill one cone only to about two thirds full. Place it in the middle of the baking tray & cook following your normal time guides. The cones are deceptively large & so you will probably need to cook for longer than a usual cupcake size; but keep checking.

By cooking one it allows you to check properly the exact cooking time & also the amount of cake mixture. Too much will obviously rise & overflow; or not enough will leave too much cone for the icing to fill. Once you feel happy with your tester cake simply fill the rest of the cones to the height you are now confident with, & for the time you have just worked out. Stress free & perfect!

Once cooked I piped some pale pink butter icing on the top, added of course the obligatory sprinkles & then the very sweet touch of a Malteser bunny! Voila cuteness overload!

The decorations you could put on top are endless - sweets, lollipops, paper flag toppers or even mini painted toys to coordinate with a theme (just make sure no one tries to eat those though! ;) ) 

I've been asked to make more for my other children's birthdays, so lots of fun new ideas for decorations to come. 


I also may have made my favourite go to sugar cookies; but they deserve a post all of their own I think ;)

So this was last years success, & tomorrow happens to be my littlest's birthday again, wish me luck as this time I've been asked to make a big pink birthday cake - I can't wait!! 

Bye for now, ABOE love to you all XX