A Dollhouse, Restored

It is done! The dollhouse is ready for play, and has already been inhabited by several dinosaurs.


After seeing all the flooring options for dollhouses, including the real pieced miniature wood slats and laminate “marble” tile, I asked my four-year-old if we should just paint the floors white. She said yes immediately (which I knew she would because she wanted to do some painting, hee hee). The next choice to make was the color of the exterior. She wanted red. I said no. She wanted pink and I said okay, sure. However, we didn’t have any pink paint in the house and our craft-store foray was so overwhelming we only came home with scrapbook “wallpaper” without even looking at paint. “What about blue? We have light-blue paint left over from your room. Then the house would match your room.” “YES!” (Never underestimate the power of instant gratification with children…to get exactly what you want. Tee hee, again!)

Since we had the paint handy, she and her brother jumped right in and slapped first coats of paint of the whole house.  Children, I find, are naturally excellent painters.  You have to set the guidelines, like “don’t paint the house windows”, but then they slap on a beautiful thick layer in about seven minutes, then get tired and leave, so you can do the edges and smooth over their stuff easily.  (This is how I got my son to paint the underside of deck, by the way, two summers ago.  I mean, he was the perfect height!)

The next stage, of putting in the wallpaper was a bit more challenging.  I am pleased as punch how three of the rooms have matching seams and the pattern is uninterrupted as you turn corners and whatnot.  The other two rooms are okay.  I should say that decorating a dollhouse is NOT a sport for a perfectionist.  You could die on that mountain.  We had come home with a stack of coordinating scrapbook papers, so I just picked out five I liked and my daughter agreed, then went to work measuring and cutting.  She really wanted to help with this too, but sadly for her (okay, both of us), it was too exacting.  Another time-saving (read:  lazy) choice was to use double-sided tape for the wallpaper.  I had read about using spray adhesive and decoupage, but, ain’t nobody got time for that. (Leaving out the fact that I actually have both of those.)  I also didn’t cover the paper in any way.  I’m not too concerned about the paper getting caught by edges of furniture or rogue dinosaur claws….although I probably should be.  Whatever.  Dollhouses were meant to be played in.  The double-sided tape does make it a bit easier if we ever wanted to do a repair or a reno, but that is NOT happening soon.  Have you seen my kitchen while I worked on the dollhouse?

Dollhouse interior Dollhouse interior Dollhouse interior Dollhouse interior

Another Saturday of second coats of paint all around, some futzy cutting of paper for windows, a little bit of super-glue to fix some broken railings and trim, et voila!

Dollhouse interior Dollhouse interior Dollhouse interior Dollhouse interior

If you want to see her “Before” pics, check here.

Now that it is finished, I realize I never put doors on the house.  I have three beautiful French doors that came with the house, but no miniature hardware to install them.  I briefly looked for the hardware or full door kits to install, but sort of forgot about it.  Maybe we’ll put doors in someday, but you know, Allosaurs can’t do doorknobs anyway.

Allosaurs wants to come in the dollhouse

Kids playing in dollhouse

Kids playing with dollhouse
A dollhouse restored, being played with by children. All is well in the world.

Dollhouse Reno Begins

The dollhouse is coming along nicely.  I vacuumed the dust off the shingles and brought out the toothbrush to clean the railings and wash the windows.  She’s starting to look rather lovely.

My daughter is quite keen on painting and decorating the new dollhouse.  She imagines putting in wallpaper and flooring in all the rooms (four and an attic) plus painting the exterior (pink, obvs) will take “maybe a day.”  I began digging through my craft supplies to see what we need.   Two rooms have really lovely wallpaper, but that is sadly flaking off.  My initial thought was to look for vintage papers to match the “antique” miniature furniture kits.  However, it seems that dollhouse materials have moved out of craft stores and into the ether.  I suppose, room had to be made for scrap-booking and jewelry or beading supplies.  I had hoped to find a local craft store to start spending all my money at, but alas, no dusty shoppes or even the big fabric stores have dollhouse materials.  I went through the chest holding all my unused scrap book supplies, found the kids’ unfinished baby books and got distracted for a couple days.  More on that later!

When I finally made it back to the designer papers, I realized I didn’t have enough of any one print to wallpaper a room of the house, so my daughter and I waded through a craft store today.  I am so proud to report that we bought a stack of paper and paintbrushes and nothing else!  No Valentine’s knee-socks, fabric, yarn, paint, crafts, coloring supplies or “candlescaping rocks”.  It was….odd.

The wood flooring that came with the house is so amazing—little slats of wood just like a real plank floor that you could stain and install–but is brittle now and wouldn’t survive.  The modern alternative comes from creative people and their hard work, easily available on the web!.  I’ve already found flooring pictures that you could print off, seal or laminate and lay down with very little fuss.  Brilliant.

So that’s walls and floors taken care of for ideas.  I don’t have a great printer, so I still need to figure that part out, but then I made a big, big, big mistake of looking online for dollhouse decorating ideas.  Oh, Pinterest.  You kill my spirit every time. I don’t know, maybe some people are inspired and go off and craft their own amazing crap and then post pictures of that and the cycle continues.  I am not one of those people.  But I think I can manage from here.  Hopefully, because nothing is getting done until then.


A Regular Tuesday

A few things this morning:

1. The front door is frozen shut.  Frozen glass door Ice on glass doorWe got out fine, but there were about three seconds of panic this morning.  OH MY G…oh, nevermind.  It isn’t even that cold here.  Or maybe it is.  Last year was just so, so bad.  We haven’t even gotten below 0F this year.  I mean, sure, there is ice on the bedroom wall, but we only just got our first deep snow of the year.  That trapped feeling has only had a day to develop.

2.  I started working on refinishing the dollhouse!  Also, because I like a challenge, I pulled the kids’ baby books out and am working on those too.  What it means for the rest of my life is that we have eaten bagels and cheese curds or delivery pizza for dinner three, four nights in a row now.  Actually a week.  I haven’t done any laundry, any dishes, only one renegade grocery run (for more bagels), and the house is a total wreck.

IMG_1781 IMG_1777 IMG_1769 IMG_1771 IMG_1768 IMG_1766BUT look at how cute the dollhouse is getting!

IMG_17783. I finally made a decision, this morning in the car about the kindergarten conundrum.  She’ll go to four days of 4-year-kindergarten next year.  The bonus is that just after I sorted it all out in my head, I realized we actually go to the school to register her this afternoon!  Yeah, me!  Totally on top of this!

4. This morning, I pack lunches, and announce, “Snowpants time!” and not only does no one start “sqwauking” in protest like a scipionyx or laying on the floor moaning about how they can’t find any socks, no one is even around.  It is silent.  Like every mother I know, a certain volume of venom and rage builds (and if this isn’t you, tell me your secret. As long as it doesn’t involve getting up earlier, flow charts, or rewards, I’m all ears.)  I am about to yell, like every morning, something like “PANTS!”, “BOOTS!” or, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!? We have to go NOW!” and I hear them, quietly talking in the bedroom.  I peek in the door to find them both in the tiny pop-up princess tent on the top bunk, snuggling while the six-year-old reads a book out loud.  Oh.  Of course.  The bile seeps out of me and we all get bundled together, peacefully, with no bitterness or yelling and I walk head-long into the frozen door.  I didn’t even swear!    Happy Tuesday, all!

A Home to Build In

Take a look at a small piece of my heart, believed to be missing until today: Handmade unfinished dollhouse Interior handmade unfinished dollhouse

My grandparents were building this together as a hobby many years ago, then gave it to my mother to finish.  I inherited it today.  I didn’t realize until my mother brought it down how much I had missed it.  As a child I dreamed about finishing it, but had no idea how.  Well, let me tell you, the boxes of craft supplies and dressers full of fabric I have amassed over the years in my basement have been waiting their whole lives for this moment.    The house comes with a dusty box of materials, and a few miniature furniture building kits.  Maybe it is because I had a migraine last night and I’m always a little maudlin and profoundly grateful afterwards….but, oh, this house is a treasure.  Oh, my heart.

IMG_1645 IMG_1644 IMG_1649 IMG_1648 IMG_1643 IMG_1651Look at this little gem!  My grandparents made this and I love it so!

Dollhouse grandfather clockAnd I’m not the only one…..A certain little girl found me and her grandma sorting through dusty boxes in the basement and is more than ready to fill up the rooms of this amazing house.

dollhouse room, with bedsIf you need me, I’ll be elbow-deep in my long-lost love.