Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Yes, I am totally aware that I have not posted the pictures I promised. I seem to have misplace the card that those picts were on. I am looking...

In the meantime, you can follow my surgery blog at

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

For Stephanie and Celena...

I have been terrible about blogging this summer. I have narrowed it down to 2 reasons...#1- Facebook is so much easier. While I don't get to say as much, it is so much easier to post pictures. #2-my children no longer nap. In some ways it is nice, but I do miss that time to myself. Plus, their daily quiet time seems to be spent on the computer! But, Stephanie and Celena have both asked me to post on my dollhouse. I have some pictures, but I need to download them. I promise I will do that by this time tomorrow. Deal?

We have had such a busy summer. It has just flown by and I can't believe we only have a few more days until school starts.

I have lots that I do need to write about, and I will do that soon!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Doll House Progress

I am actually very close to being done with the actual construction of the house, but I wanted to post some pictures of the progress. I THINK I have been working on it for 3 weeks. (That doesn't include the week I was at the beach.)

After I inventoried all 8 million pieces to this thing, I painted a couple of coats on the outside pieces. I chose a light sunny yellow. Actual construction went very quickly, as far as getting the walls up.

The first huge job to tackle was the porch. All the railings had to be made piece by piece. It took me longer to paint the porch than all the other steps combined until this step. It really looks good.

The last thing I was able to do before I left for vacation was construct the roof. The dormer and gable gave me minor trouble, but it was pretty easy. I had to mark the lines for the shingles. The shingles had to be dyed with a special dye that did not come until a couple of days before I left. They were supposed to dry for 5 days, so I did get them dyed before I left so I could work on the roof when I got home!

That's all the pictures I have for now! I did finish the blasted roof, but I have yet to take pictures of it!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

More on the dollhouse...and life

I am sitting here, on the night before the last day of school, multi-tasking. I am facebooking, embroidering, and I guess I should blog, too. Today was Emily's field day and I have some pictures, but the transfer card to my camera is broken. I hope to work on that soon! She had a great day and it was all over after lunch, so I checked both her and Tyler out. When kids say they don't do anything the last week of school, you need to believe them. They really don't do anything. We came home and waited out a rain storm and then went to the library. We got lots of good books and some books on CD for our trip to the beach next week.

I guess I should continue my dollhouse story. So I bought the Vermont Farmhouse and opened it and labeled all the parts before building. I was in Germantown and thought I might see what their Hobby Lobby's dollhouse aisle looked like. They had the Vermont Farmhouse assembled and it was really small. It was nice, but smaller than I wanted. So I spent the next couple of days with that yucky feeling in my stomach that I had made a mistake. I spent lots of time looking at the catalog and praying about it (Yes, I believe God cares about me, which includes what I purchase.) and I narrowed it down to 2 houses. One TRULY was my dream dollhouse and the other is nearly. I drew the dimensions out on butcher paper and soon realized that super awesome dream house would not work. So I went with the Princess Anne dollhouse. It is bigger than the farmhouse and has some extra details.

I would love to tell you that I packed up the Vermont Farmhouse and took it back. But, I would be lying. The whole family was with me for moral support when I bought #2, so the kids kept asking me what I was going to do with the first one. I kept telling her that I didn't know, but she insisted that she wanted it. When I reminded her of the perfectly decorated and accessorized Loving Family dollhouse upstairs, she said, "Yeah, but its already all done." My word. I am a moron. I got all into the whole shebang of Christmas that I got her the whole kit and caboodle. The collecting aspect is the best part of having a dollhouse. So I told her she could have a wooden dollhouse when she is older, like 8. I slid the box under my bed, with plans to make it for her 6th birthday in July. I don't know if I can do it, but I will try.

I have been working on my dollhouse for a couple of weeks, and I have taken lots of pictures. When I get my camera cord fixed, I will give a progress report.

Off I go to embroider!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Scheming to get a doll house

After 15 years together, Brent is used to my projects. He is very patient when I get an idea that I MUST do. He is even semi-understanding of my tornado-like closet of a sewing room that spills all over the study. But, for some reason, I was nervous about bringing up the idea of a doll house.

I began looking online at ready-made doll houses. Way too expensive for what I wanted and really not as much fun as building one. I looked at plans for building, but I just don't have the skill or space to build one from scratch. Plus, I want to do this independently and I don't believe I could use all the tools on my own. I decided to look at kits. My only experience with doll house kits was the one Becky had as a little girl. It was pitiful. You punched out the pieces out of wood and glued them together. It was fine for a 4 year old girl (FYI, Becky went on to get an unbelievable doll house fit for a queen later in life, so don't feel sorry for her.) So, I didn't have high hopes for a doll house made from a kit.

I began to research kits and found a company in Vermont called Real Good Toys. It has a great reputation, and offers over 50 different models. I spent many days looking at the website and dreaming about which one I would choose. Actually, dreaming about which one I could afford. The most expensive kit is $1,125 and as big as a van. About a week into the looking, I decided that I just could not justify the cost of any of the kits and put this dream on hold again for another few years.

Or so I thought.

I was doing my weekly shopping at Hobby Lobby ( I buy craft supplies like most people buy milk and bread.) and I decided to walk through the miniature department. And by department, I mean a 6 foot display. Boo. I could not believe what I saw on the floor. 4 large boxes labeled "REAL GOOD TOYS." 4 of the most affordable models right there in Hobby Lobby! And, get this...about 1/2 of the catalog price! I looked for the trademark Hobby Lobby sale sign, but there was none. There was also no 40% off coupon for the week. I filed this information in my brain under "I HAVE TO MAKE THIS WORK" and went home.

Two days later, the 40% off coupon came out in the Sunday paper. I had yet to discuss this with Brent. How do I tell this dear, patient man the plans I have for another crazy project? I dropped the kids off at school on Monday and headed to the Lobby. I really felt like the Vermont Farmhouse was the model for me. Cute little farmhouse with shutters and a front porch. I put it in my buggy and went to check out..oh wait...the coupon was sitting on my kitchen counter! SHOOT! I sulked all the way to the shelf and put the doll house back.

We had soccer that night and we had to take two separate cars. We ate a picnic supper afterwards and I told Brent and the kids that I need to run an errand on the way home and I would meet them there. Then I headed to Hobby Lobby, 40% off coupon in hand, and bought my Vermont Farmhouse. I left it in the van and didn't breathe a word of it.

I have 30 minutes from the time I get home from work until I have to pick up the kids from school. I rushed home Tuesday and unloaded the box from the van and took it to my bedroom. I opened it up to get the instruction book to read in car-rider line. Oh the pieces! The trims and the shutters and the flower boxes! It was all so pretty and such good quality. I was so pleased.

Brent came home and had to have seen this enormous box in his bedroom. He said nothing. All night. Not a peep.

On the way to work the next morning, I called him and asked if he saw it. His response was, "Well hello, Clark Griswold." (He gets a bonus in May and generously shares it with me and assumed that this was a bonus purchase with a bonus that we haven't gotten yet.) That's it. No questions, no nothing. That night, I was reading the instruction booklet for the 5oth time and he simply said, "I just didn't think doll houses were for grown-ups."

Now, the kids' response was a whole new kettle of fish. They were fascinated. The catalog that came with it was enough to keep them mesmerized for hours. Emily kept saying, "This is for you and me both, right??" I spent the next couple of days checking the pieces and making sure everything was there and labeling all the parts. I really needed to decide on paint colors first, so I did not get started right away. But, I couldn't wait to start my Vermont Farmhouse.

Friday, May 22, 2009

My first love

Besides Bo Duke, that is.

When I was 5, we went to eat lunch after church at someone's house. They had an older daughter, who was probably just a few years older than I, but I thought was way older. She had the most amazing thing I had ever seen. A doll house. I don't remember a whole lot about it, but I fell in love with it. I remember just sitting in front of it and being amazed at the detail. And my parents took note. For my sixth birthday, I was given my very own doll house. It was just a plywood shell of a house, no doors or windows, or even paint. Just a plain wooden box with 6 rooms. And I loved it.

I think the first thing we did was paint it. My dad and I painted it off white with a brown roof. Then we went to the Elf Shelf. The Elf Shelf was a toy store that had a room in the back full of doll house furniture and accessories. I bought a wooden bed, a baby bed, and a high chair. We also got a model kit to make a bathroom that my dad built. That was all the furniture I had, but somehow I played with that for hours. No dolls, even. My mom cross-stitched a rug for the nursery and we bought some wallpaper for it, too. It had pink and blue and yellow balloons on it. Then I got a baby from the Elf Shelf. Just a little naked baby no bigger than an inch. I named her Suzanne. Suzanne lived by herself for about six months.

We moved to Pensacola the summer that I was six. But, I loved going back to Huntsville to visit grandparents and the Elf Shelf. That Thanksgiving, I got a refrigerator and some food (bowls, a salad, ketchup, and Corn Flakes). And then for Christmas, I got the mother lode. I got a Fisher Price family. It had a dad that looked like my Uncle Clellon, a mom that looked just like my mom, a tiny little boy that I named Billy, and a sister. My sister Becky had a RAGGEDY dollhouse that was built from a kit and we both got Fisher Price furniture that Christmas. I swiped her fireplace, and I got a plastic brass bed and a little white dresser that I gave to the sister. I remember getting pieces of furniture here and there...a table and chairs, a hat stand. Mostly I made things or improvised. If it was tiny, it was going in my dollhouse.

We then moved to Charleston the summer that I was 8. Sadly, Sister was lost in the move. During that summer, I was introduced to the Brady Bunch. I turned my dollhouse into the Brady's house. I scrounged up enough small dolls to make the whole family. I think I played Brady Bunch every day that summer.

The next summer, we moved to another house. For the first time, my dollhouse was in my room. (Both my dollhouse and Becky's dollhouse had always been in our family rooms for some reason.) I think the new location and my getting older really got me into the decorating of it. I totally dove in to re-inventing everything. I spent every penny on dollhouse stuff, painted the rooms, and painted the outside yellow. We even bought windows and doors for the house and painted them blue. By now, the family had been adjusted. The dad, Billy, and Suzanne were still the same, but mom had been replaced by a Glamour Gal named Diane. I also added a teeny tiny baby that I bought at a cake decorating store and named her Paige. (I had made a friend at school named Suzanne that had a sister named Paige, so that seemed appropriate.) Until now, though, my doll house world had been my own private obsession.

The summer before the 5th grade, many things happened. We took a trip to Washington and I was blown away by the miniature exhibit at the Smithsonian. It opened up a whole new world of how far you could go with this hobby. I also discovered two things at the library that summer...a magazine devoted entirely to miniatures, and books written by Rumer Godden. I dove into these books about dolls in dollhouses coming to life after dark. I also wore the pages out reading those magazines and seeing what grown-ups had done with their dollhouses. I also met Jackie.

Jackie lived a couple of streets over from me. I am not sure how I ended up going to her house to play. We had some friends in common, but had never been in the same class at school. The first time I walked into her room and could not believe what I saw...she had a dollhouse,too! I had never known someone else, especially my age, that had a dollhouse. Hers was a larger scale, suited to Barbie size, but it was wonderful and I knew right away that we were kindred spirits. Then I walked into her kitchen. Her mother had the hugest, most amazing dollhouse I had ever seen outside of a museum. It was breathtaking.

Since Jackie's dollhouse was a larger scale, we both decided that Barbie was the way to go with miniatures. We created fabulous worlds for our Barbies. Since my dollhouse was smaller scale, I had to use my mom's end table. I still loved my dollhouse, but the ongoing construction ended. Jackie and I got older, and by the time we were in 7th grade, teen-angst had replaced us staying up on Friday nights making Sculpy pastries for our dolls. I moved back to Huntsville the summer before 8th grade. My dollhouse stayed packed up for a year.

We bought a house with a family room in the basement. My dad put my dollhouse there. I set it up, but did not touch it for years. After I graduated from high school, we moved to Memphis. I packed my dollhouse up and it still sits in my parents' attic.

All these years later, I still love miniatures. I am fascinated by anything that is a tiny copy of something that is real. I tried to pass this love on to my own daughter. For her second birthday, I searched ebay for months until I had the entire Little Tikes dollhouse and all the furniture. Is there anything cuter than a miniature Cozy Coupe? I think not. I would set up the furniture for her to play...and she had very little interest. She liked it fine, but she would have rather played with blocks. Then for the Christmas that she was 4, Santa brought her the Fisher Price Loving Family Dollhouse with all the furniture. So cute. I just loved it. And she did for a while, but it lost its charm. It sits in the playroom, so bright and pretty with all its perfectly matched furniture. If she has someone over that is interested in it, she will play it, but usually it just sits there.

A few weeks ago, I was in Hastings book store and I happened across a book called "The Doll People." I had to buy it. It is about a family of dolls that lives in a dollhouse that has been passed down through many generations. It reminded me so much of the Rumer Godden books of my childhood. I read it that day and spent lots of time thinking about how happy my dollhouse made me. I also remembered how much I dreamed as a girl of one day having an amazing dollhouse with all the bells and whistles, like the displays in the miniature stores.

I decided then and there that I was going to do that very thing. Build my dream dollhouse.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What time is it???

Summer's my vacation! (That's for you, Jennie.)

Well, school is out for me. It won't seem that school is totally over until Tuesday when I would have been going to work. I had the best last week. Our program was fantastic and the kids had a ball. I got so many wonderful, creative gifts and tons of well-wishes from my parents. It was hard to let some of my babies go, but I will keep in touch with many of them. We had a fun work party Thursday night, too. I am going to miss seeing those ladies on a daily basis. They are a good bunch of girls to work with. I will especially miss working with Stephanie, and maybe someday I will again. I left there knowing with all my heart that I will always love teaching.

As some of you know, I, along with my dad, am the interim children's minister at our church for either the summer or until someone is hired. It is a job I am well suited to do, even the permanent position, but it is just too many hours for someone with two elementary-aged children. I have prayed for many years that I would somehow be able to be on staff with the children's ministry, but the money just isn't there for 2 people. Maybe someday...

I am so looking forward to summer vacation. I don't feel the need to cram tons of projects in since I will be home in the fall this year. There are lots of things on my to-do wish, though...

*Refinish the kitchen table
*Paint my bedroom
*Paint the hallway upstairs
*Clean out the attic
*Paint all the interior doors
*and one more...

I will post about it tomorrow. I have a project already started, and I have considered making a whole new blog for it. I'll fill you in tomorrow!