Knee & Elbow Pads Craft

Knee and Elbow Pad Craft for American Girl Dolls

Today, I bring you a rare phenomenon: a craft. Shocking, I know. If you’ve followed this blog for a long amount of time, you’ll know that I am not a very crafty person. I’ve been running this blog for just over two years, and I’ve only posted four crafts. But I’ve challenged myself to post several crafts this summer, so we’ll see how that goes. 😉

Anyway, this craft is for knee and elbow pads. I made them in April for a post called Nevaeh’s Guide to Skateboarding, but only got around to posting a tutorial today.

Knee and Elbow Pad Craft for American Girl Dolls

You will need:

  • Four cotton balls
  • Duck Tape
  • Scissors
  • Self-adhesive velcro

Knee and Elbow Pad Craft for American Girl Dolls

Begin by cutting a piece of Duck Tape 3 1/2 inches long. Take a cotton ball and stick it to the tape.

Knee and Elbow Pad Craft for American Girl Dolls

Fold the Duck Tape over the cotton ball and stick it to itself, so it looks like this. This will be the pad part. If some cotton ball fluff sticks out the sides of the pad of the sides won’t stay closed, take a strip of Duck Tape and fold it over the side.

Knee and Elbow Pad Craft for American Girl Dolls

Now let’s move on to the strap that will go around the doll to keep the pad on. Cut a piece of Duck Tape 4 1/2 inches long and fold it over itself, so it becomes a long strip.

Knee and Elbow Pad Craft for American Girl Dolls

Attach the strap to the pad with a small piece of tape. Flip the pad over and tape it again so the pad doesn’t flop around.

Knee and Elbow Pad Craft for American Girl Dolls

Cut a small piece of self-adhesieve velcro. Apply one piece to the loose end of the strap and the other to the pad.

Knee and Elbow Pad Craft for American Girl Dolls

Wrap the pad around your doll’s leg/arm and press together the velcro. You’ve finished the first pad! Repeat the instructions three more times to have a completed set of knee and elbow pads. (Note: the strap for the elbow pad should be 3 1/2 inches long instead of 4 1/2.)

Now you’ve finished your doll-sized knee and elbow pads, and she can skateboard, roller skate, or bike safely.

Did you make this craft? I’d love to see! Email me a picture at

Here’s a short photoshoot of Eve modeling her new safety gear:

American Girl doll GOTY 2016 Lea Clark

Knee and Elbow Pads Craft for American Girl dolls

American Girl doll skateboard

American Girl doll GOTY 2016 Lea Clark

American Girl doll GOTY 2016 Lea Clark

American Girl doll GOTY 2016 Lea Clark

American Girl doll GOTY 2016 Lea Clark


A Soccer Game Leads to an Unexpected Guest . . .


I, the great Tracy, had forced my family to venture outside. The great outdoors, the great unknown, other stuff that starts with “great” — we gathered on the great sidewalk, just outside our house.

“Listen up, ladies, ’cause I’m only going to say this once,” I announced, putting my hands on my hips and staring at my family. “We’re going to play soccer!”

There were a few excited cheers from Savannah, Emily, Eve, and Ivy, but the other girls frowned skeptically.


“Not quite the reaction I was hoping for, but it’ll do,” I muttered to myself. Then I raised my voice and proclaimed, “I hereby make myself the captain of Team One, and Ivy the captain of Team Two. I will now choose my first teammate!” I pointed dramatically at MJ Valdez. “Sis, you’re up!”

She skipped over and we slapped each other high fives.

MJ wasn’t the best soccer player in the family — that title belonged to me — but she was my best friend. And who doesn’t like having their BFF on their sports team?

The choosing of the teammates went back and forth. Ivy would call someone’s name — “Emily, come on!” — and then I would call on another girl: “Eve Cortez, I want you for Team One!”


Soon, everyone had been called . . . everyone, that is, but Saige and Caroline. They were staring at the ground and shuffling their feet uncomfortably. Everyone knows that if you’re the last to be picked for a team, it means that you’re not a very good player.

It was Team Two’s turn to choose a player. Ivy made her choice and stammered, “Um, I chose . . . uh, Caroline.”


Caroline gave her a tight smile and joined the team. The teams were currently even: five against five.

Saige saw an opportunity and took. “Hey, the teams are even all ready!” she exclaimed. “I don’t have to play. I can be the umpire. No, that’s baseball . . . I mean, I can be the referee.” And she wandered away, playing on her phone.


The players surged onto the soccer field and claimed positions. If there was a dispute, it was settled with a good old fashioned thumb wrestling battle. In a matter of minutes, everyone was ready for the game to begin. I got the position of right sweeper.

“Saige!” I shouted, waving to get my sports-hating sister’s attention.

She was sitting on the sidewalk, crisscross applesauce style. Saige was smiling at her phone, maybe watching a video on YouTube about babies eating lemons for the first time. She looked up when I yelled at her, a scowl appearing on her face. “Yeah?”

“Give us some awesome music!”

She frowned at her phone and tapped the screen. Epic rock music blared out of the tiny speakers.


I gave Saige a grateful thumbs up before returning my attention to the soccer game. “Ready?” I asked Ivy, who was left sweeper on Team Two.

She nodded, and her silky black hair shook with the movement.


I put three fingers in the air and started counting down. “Three . . . Two . . . One . . . GO!”

I was about to pass to MJ, my team’s other sweeper, when a cheery, feminine voice called, “Hello!”

Everyone on the soccer field looked around for the speaker.


 I spotted her first. She was on the sidewalk. The voice belonged to a young girl, dressed in odd, vintage clothes. She caught my eye, beamed, and waved.

“Hello! Hi! I’m Ellie Larkin. A nice lady at the airport told me to come here, so here I am!”

Slightly wary of this enthusiastic girl, we introduced ourselves. Caroline — sweet, considerate Caroline — invited her to play soccer with us. She readily agreed, but they tugged on her long skirt with a pouty frown. Saige offered to take Ellie inside and help her find clothes more suited for playing soccer in.


As soon as Ellie Larkin had disappeared inside the house, Eve threw her hands up and exclaimed, “There’s another girl staying with us? Seriously, Trace, how often does Loren tell you that you’re getting a new sister?”

“Not very often,” I admitted. “The ‘new sisters’ just pop up out of nowhere. Mom hardly ever tells us that we’re getting a new sister. She just waits for them to arrive without telling us anything . . .”


Saige and the new girl returned momentarily. Ellie was dressed in a childish combination of a sky blue tunic and lime green leggings.

“I’m ba-a-a-ck!” she sang. “So, which team do I get to be on?”

“Mine,” I told her. “Hey, Saigie, looks like you’ll have to play after all! To balance out the teams, ya know?” I shot a smug, cocky smile in her direction.

She huffed several dramatic sighs before marching onto the field. Saige was the midfielder for Team Two; Ellie held the same position on Team One.


Once everything was sorted out, the soccer game began. I passed the ball to MJ and shouted, “Look, Savannah, a unicorn!” I pointed off to the right.

Unicorns were Savannah’s favorite animal. She immediately looked in the direction I was pointing.

That was a mistake on her part. She was the right sweeper for Team Two, and was positioned in front of MJ. With her distracted by the fanciful promise of sparkly unicorns, MJ was free to run on Ana’s blindside without being spotted.


The only complication in my otherwise perfect plan was the fact that MJ tripped over the ball. The sound of her faceplanting into the grass drew Savannah’s attention. Ana dashed forward and took the ball. MJ struggled to her feet and made a desperate lunge to reclaim the soccer ball, but Savannah was already driving it up the sidelines.


Eve was not happy as the goalie, just watching her teammates chase the ball across the field. In fact, she got so frustrated that she abandoned her post, hollering, “Charge!” She plowed through the defense, knocking over Nevaeh. Ellie rushed toward Eve in a vain attempt to keep her in the goal, but to no avail: she was floored. She lay on the grass beside Nevaeh, and the two moaned in unison.


Eve sprinted down the field, zeroing in on the soccer ball that MJ was in possession of. Eve slapped my best friend in the face in an excited haze. She stole the ball from her teammate and bore down on Savannah, who fell to the ground in terror.


She thundered down the field. Emily, the goalie for Team Two, was trembling, she was so scared of Eve. Eve came to a halt in front of the goal . . .


. . . readied her power foot . . .


. . . and kicked!


The ball zipped across the field at a frightening speed. Emily dove for the ball, but she just missed it, and the soccer ball zoomed into the goal.

“GOAL!” Eve screamed at the top of her lunges. She pumped her fist in the air and did an elaborate victory dance.


We called it quits after Eve’s goal, because it was getting excruciatingly hot. The victorious Team One, made up of MJ, Nevaeh, Ellie, Isabelle, Eve, and, of course, myself, gathered on the sidewalk. We gave each other celebratory fist bumps.

“GOAL. GOAL. GOAL,” we chanted, smirking smugly at the defeated Team Two.

Just loud enough for the other team to hear, I sang, “You’ve got mud on your face, you’re a big disgrace, kicking your can all over the place.”

My teammates picked up the song. “We will, we will, ROCK YOU.”


After our victory-fueled adrenaline rush faded, everyone meandered over to the porch. Ellie was eager to introduce herself properly. She backed up against the brick wall — “center stage,” she told us — and smoothed out her tunic. We gathered around her in a semicircle.


“Hello!” she said, waving happily. “I am Ellie Penelope Larkin. I’m ten! My birthday is June 7th, in case you were wondering. It’s only a few months away!” Ellie twirled in a circle, clearly daydreaming about her not-so-distant birthday. She continued, “I used to live in Florida, but I’m not there anymore — obviously.” She giggled.


“Hey, I’m from Florida, too!” Savannah put in. “Did you ever meet a girl named Cass? My best friend from Florida is named Cass.”

“Cass?” Ellie mused, scrunching her face up in concentration. “No, I don’t think so. But Florida’s a big state! I can’t possibly no everyone. And I’m sure there’s multiple girls in Florida named Cass, so even if I did happen to meet someone by that name, it’s not likely that she would be the Cass you’re talking about.”

It was obvious that Ellie Penelope Larkin was a chatterbox. I wanted to tell my sisters not to ask anymore questions — I was afraid that Ellie would prattle on instead of giving a straightforward answer — but Caroline asked, “What are you doing here, Ellie? You’re a long way from Florida.”


The girl’s hazel eyes became unfocused. Her mouth drooped slightly at the corners. She looked . . . sad.

When she finally spoke, her voice was a scared whisper. “I don’t know,” she said. “I don’t know. I remember being at my home in Florida . . . and then I was at the airport . . . then I was here. I don’t know why I’m here!” she repeated, her voice rising into a scream. “I don’t know!”


Yes, I did just end this photostory there. I know you’re all so pleased with my decision. 😉



The BFF Wars — Part 10 1/2



“Welcome to the dodgeball arena.” Ashley spread her arms wide to take in the carpeted room for playing dodgeball.


Boxes, pillows, and foam tubes were scattered across to arena for cover.


Jules, Venus and I followed Ashley out into the middle of the arena.

“We’re playing ricochet dodgeball today, ladies. That means that the ball can bounce off things and hit you, and you’ll lose a life. You’ll each start out with ten lives. If you hit someone, you get another life, but if they hit you, you lose one. If you catch a ball, the person who threw it at you loses a life, and you gain one.

“If you run out of lives, you’re out of the game. Head-shots don’t count. The person with the most lives at the end of twenty minutes is the winner. Probably the most important rule if that there are no teams. It’s every girl for herself. You got that, Venus, Jules? You are not on the same team.”


Ashley pointed to three screens displayed above the dodgeball arena. The read “Jules Bailey,” “Tori Lee” and “Venus Abbe.” Each had the number 10 under it.


“The screen with your name is where your points will be shown,” Ashley continued. “Remember: NO TEAMS. Good luck, girls.”


We ran to hiding spots around the room and waited for the game to start. Ashley tossed the dodgeball into the air, yelled “Go!” and ran to the sidelines, where Charlotte, Teresa and Sianne were cheering.


I dashed out from behind some gigantic pillows where I had been hiding and scooped up the ball.


Venus had been going for the ball, too, and was standing right beside me. I turned to her and threw that ball at her.


It hit her in the leg.


Our screens changed: Tori: 11. Venus: 9.


Venus grabbed the ball off the floor and glared at me.


I ran for cover, swung myself over the foam tubes, and landed beside Jules.


Venus ran toward us and threw the ball. It hit Jules in the arm, missing me by inches.


Jules scrambled for the ball rolling around behind us, but I wrapped my arms around it first.


I tapped the neon-yellow ball against Jules’s foot.


I scrambled away from Jules and crouched behind a box.

Com’n, Tori! I yelled at myself. You’re the undefeated dodgeball champion at school. Get some people out!


As Venus and Jules rushed by my hiding spot, I aimed the ball at them. It bounced off Jules and hit Venus’s leg.

“That’s two pointed for Tori!” I crowed.


 I left my hiding spot and took cover behind an overturned table, waiting for Jules or Venus to pick up the ball.


Fifteen minutes later, I threw the ball at Venus, who had only one life left. It hit her in the back and she fell to the floor. Venus was out! It was just me and Jules now.


I ran out and picked up the ball. Jules had just stepped out form behind the pillows I had hidden behind earlier, and was just where I wanted her.

I chucked the ball at her.


She raised her hands and caught the ball.


Jules launched the ball at me and it struck my shoulder.


I flung the ball at Jules, but she spread her legs wide and it zipped between them.


As I ran for cover, Jules threw the ball at my retreating form. It grazed my arm and ricocheted off the box beside me, hitting my leg.

I was beginning to think that I might not win the dodgeball challenge. I’d forgotten how good Jules was at dodgeball!


Jules closed her eyes, satisfied that she had hit me, the undefeated dodgeball champion, so many times. I took that moment to swoop in on her and hit her with the ball.

Beep! The twenty minutes was up, and we were tied: 10 to 10.


Ashley came onto the court and took the ball from Jules.

“We were prepared for a tie breaker,” Ashley said.


Jules and I stood across from each other, the ball in between us.

Sudden Death,” a recorded voice boomed over the loudspeaker. “The first person to be hit loses. Fans, feel free to join in the count down. Three . . . ” Everyone on the sidelines chanted along with the voice. “Two . . . One . . . Sudden Death!


Jules and I rushed for the ball. I scooped it up first and tagged Jules square in the chest.

And Tori Lee from Team Tori is the winner of the dodgeball challenge!


Charlotte ran into the arena and wrapped her arms around my neck.

We were beating Team Jules by one point. We just needed to win one more challenge — either the Cooking challenge or the Horseback Riding one — and we would win the whole BFF Wars.

The BFF Wars — Part 10



The morning of the Sports 2 challenge dawned as clear as the water in the pool we would start the event in. The water was crystal-clear and we could see all the way down to the teal tiles on the bottom of the pool.


“And this is the pool,” Ashley announced, stating the obvious.


As we followed Ashley and the others to the shallow end, Charlotte squeezed my hand for good luck.

Charlotte was still sick, but she was feeling well enough to cheer me on in Sports 2. She just didn’t feel good enough to actually compete.


“OK, girls,” Ashley said, looking at Jules and I, the swimmers for the first event. “Let’s get this party started!”


Jules and I stepped up to the edge of the pool. Because we were already wearing our swim suits under our clothes, all we had to do was take off our shirts and shorts, and then we were ready to swim.


We took our positions in front of our lanes as Ashley began to count down. “Three . . . Two  . . . One . . . GO!” she yelled.


We jumped forward and dove into the pool.


My hands parted the water and I started slicing through it. I pictured Charlotte’s face when I won. She’d be so proud that Tori Lee, her best friend, had won the swimming challenge of Sports 2.


Keeping Charlotte in my mind, I swam alongside Jules, kicking my legs and pumping my arms.


One, two, one two. I used the same trick/habit for swimming that I did for running. One, two, one, two.


When we reached the far end of the pool, Jules was slightly ahead of me.

Go, Tori! I silently screamed at myself.


Jules lost some ground when we turned around, headed back to the shallow end. She swan in a circle as she got ready to do the backstroke, and I ducked under water and pushed off the wall for a boost.


Nearing the finish, we were neck-and-neck.

I could hear Charlotte and Teresa shouting my name, cheering me on, “Go, Tori! Go!!”

Everything seemed to move in slow-motion as Jules and I glided into the shallow end.


With one last burst of energy, I surged ahead of Jules and hit my head on the wall.


I grabbed onto the wall and looked over into the other lane in time to see Jules gracefully bump the wall with her hand.

I had won!


Jules and I got out of the pool and our teammates rushed forward and handed us towels.

“You did it, Tori!” Charlotte exclaimed. She looked exactly like I had pictured her in my mind: blue eyes sparkling, a grin stretched across her face ear-to-ear.


 “How close were we?” I asked Charlotte, tugging my shirt over my head.

“So close!” she replied. “Like, inches apart! You beat her right at the end by about seven inches.”


We joined the group surrounding Ashley and waited to hear what the last event of Sports 2 was. Unlike Sports 1, the challenges in Sports 2 changed every week.


“Our last sport in Sports 2 is . . .” Ashley began, ” dodgeball!”

To be continued . . .

The BFF Wars — Part 9 1/2



Venus and I stayed on the track, catching our breath as Teresa talked about the soccer game.


Venus raised her hand to get Teresa’s attention and asked with fake politeness, “How is this game going to work? Tori’s best friend, poor Charlotte, is sick. So it would be two against one. How would that be fair to Tori?”


“We already thought of that,” Ashley replied. “You’ll take turns playing offense and defense.”


We followed Teresa and Ashley to the field Charlotte and Sianne were resting by.


“Tori will start out in the goal,” Teresa told us. She turned to me and inquired, “Is that OK with you, Tori?”

I nodded. “Yeah, that’s fine.”


Jules and Venus and I went out onto the soccer field. I took my place in the goal and Venus and Jules stood four yards in front from me with the ball.


A shrill whistle started the game, and Jules began dribbling the ball up to the goal.


As she was getting in position to shoot, Venus darted in front of Jules and stole the ball from her. A look of confusion flashed across Jules’s face, and she said, “We’re on the same team, Venus!”


Ignoring her, Venus took the ball to the right side of the field and got ready to shoot.


She kicked the ball and it bounced off of the goalie’s best friend, a pole. Venus missed the goal and didn’t get a point.


The ball was returned to the middle of the field and the next round began. Venus took the ball to the left side of the field and Jules ran to the right. I stood on my toes, wondering if Venus would pass to Jules.


Venus passed to Jules and she dribbled up to the goal. I pretended to dart forward and Jules kicked the ball upstairs.


The soccer ball soared toward the right corner of the net. I leaped into the air, trying to block it.


I batted at the ball with my hand and stopped it from traveling into the goal. It rolled away from the net and crossed the line marking the dimensions of the field; it was out.


After five more minutes of Team Jules trying unsuccessfully to score on me, it was my turn to play offense. Jules moved into the goal and Venus took up defense.


When the whistle blew, I dribbled toward the goal.


Venus rushed forward, blocking my path, but I swerved left and continued to advance on the goal.


As I charged forward, Jules shrank back into the goal, behind the line. It was almost too easy.

I faked a left and then drove the ball right.


With a mighty kick, I sent the ball straight into the goal.


It rolled past Jules and she stood gaping, scolding herself for not stopping it.


Six minutes later, after I had scored two goals per minute, Teresa blew the whistle and the scrimmage ended.

“Tori is the winner of Sports 1!” she exclaimed.


I ran off the field and wrapped Charlotte in a hug. “We won!” I exclaimed. “Charlotte, I did it!”

The teams were tied now:

Team Tori: 3

Team Jules: 3

The BFF Wars — Part 9



We stood outside on the day of the first Sports challenge. Teresa told us what we would be doing that day, although we knew already. All of us knew the challenges because we had watched The BFF Wars on TV before.


“We’ll start with a race,” Teresa was saying. “A girl from Team Tori will race against one from Team Jules. Then we’ll have a soccer game. Everybody got that?”


We all nodded.

I had a feeling that Charlotte and I could win today. Along with art and horses, sports was my real passion.

Teresa, Ashley and Sianne headed over to the track, followed by Jules and Venus.


I turned to Charlotte and put my hand on her arm. She had been super quite all morning, and her color had been off. “Hey, are you feeling OK? You don’t seem so hot, Champ.”

Charlotte nodded. “Yeah, I’m fine.”

“Just tell me if you feel dizzy or anything.”



 When we caught up with the hosts of The BFF Wars and Team Jules, Teresa was talking about the race.

“Talk amongst yourselves and figure out who’s going to run,” she instructed.


I faced Charlotte and said, “I’d like to race; I’m pretty fast.” When my friend didn’t say anything, I added, “But if you’d like to race instead, I’m fine with that too.”


Charlotte began, “I –” She suddenly cut herself off by doubling over and coughing.


I put my arm around Charlotte, alarmed, and asked, “Are you OK? Charlotte?”

She just kept coughing.


I waved in Teresa direction frantically. “Teresa! Come here, quick!”


Teresa hurried over when I called her and put her arm around Charlotte, too.

“Charlotte, honey, are you OK?” she asked.

Charlotte took a deep breath, trying to stop coughing.


Teresa helped Charlotte over to a patch of grass beside the soccer field.


I rushed over to Charlotte. “Is she going to be OK?” I asked Teresa. “Will she be able to compete in Sports 1?”


Charlotte smiled at me weakly. “I’ll be fine, Tori, but I don’t think I’m up to sports today.” She looked at Teresa. “Is it possible for Tori to compete in this event without me?” Charlotte coughed again a couple times.

“In this case, I think Tori can compete alone,” Teresa replied.


As Teresa and I made our way back to the track, we saw Venus and Jules arguing over who was going to race.

“I know Tori,” Jules was saying. “I know how she runs; I might be able to beat her!”

“No!” Venus waved her hands in the air. “I’m going to race. Just tell me how to beat Tori.”


Jules continued with a sigh. ” . . . Start out strong . . . Tori . . . slow . . . do not . . . use all your energy at the end.”

Venus was tapping her foot on the asphalt so loudly she only heard about half of what Jules was saying. “OK, so I’ll start out strong and not use all my energy at that end. Thank you so much.” She said the last sentence with fake sweetness. Venus darted out to the track, taking the first lane.


I joined Venus on the track and took lane two. You can do this, I told myself. Just start out slow and save your energy for a sprint at the end.


Sianne and Charlotte were sitting near the soccer field, so only Jules, Ashley and Teresa flanked the track. Ashley and Sianne stood in silence and waited for Teresa to signal us to run.

Teresa raised her hand in the air, shouted “Go!” and brought it down quickly.


Venus pulled in front of me in the first two yards. I wondered why she would sprint at the beginning of the race. I took a deep breath, focused  on the track in front of me, and ran, making sure not to go all out yet.


I passed Venus at the first curve in the track. I could hear her short breaths behind me as she struggled to keep running.

One, two, one two, I thought. It helped me to think in time with my footsteps when I ran.


Soon the finish line came into view. Jules cheered for her teammate, “Ve-nus! Ve-nus!” and from the soccer field came Charlotte’s voice, “Tor-i! Tor-i!”

I rounded the last corner and started to sprint.


I crossed the finish line with a satisfied sigh, five feet in front of my competition.


I raised my arms in the air, panting and sweaty, but victorious.


Teresa, as a host of The BFF Wars, wasn’t supposed to pick sides, but she couldn’t help giving me a hug.

“That was awesome, Tori!” she exclaimed.

I had won the race! I was halfway to winning Sports 1. If only I could win the soccer match by myself, the teams would be tied.

To be continued . . .