The Dollhouse Remade

A few years ago, I posted about my dollhouse.  When I was about Evelyn’s age, I got a dollhouse for Christmas.  Despite the fact that it’s not in it’s pristine original condition, I have been hanging onto it for roughly 35 years.  I can’t even believe I am typing that number.  Makes my head want to explode.  Anyway, I always imagined that one day, I would refurbish it and give it to my own child. Since Evelyn is almost 4, I decided that I have been procrastinating long enough.  This will be the year that I give her my dollhouse.

I started ordering the furniture long before I started working on the house itself.  I chose some sturdy wooden furniture made by Hape.  I wanted the pieces to be durable and appropriate for a preschooler’s hands.  Sure, I love the elaborate dollhouses with delicate Victorian style furniture, but I wanted her to be able to really play with this.

I think I had originally planned to take my time and work on it slowly.  Yeeeaaahhh, that didn’t happen. I am a master procrastinator.  I started working on it approximately one month ago.  I removed the wallpaper and discovered that the walls are a little rough.  I bought some wood filler to try to smooth out the texture of the wood a bit, but soon discovered that working in the tiny spaces was challenging and I didn’t have enough time or patience to bother with it.  So, I just started painting.

At one point, I invited Evelyn to help me work on it.  I showed her how to dip her paintbrush just so to prevent drips from getting on the carpet. Even though we had a moment when she came close to tears after she accidentally started painting the floor instead of the walls, we mostly worked side by side and just chatted about our work.  I told her how I had received the dollhouse when I was her age and that I had been saving it just for her for 35 years.  I told her how I was going to paint the walls to make it look like our house and she started to verbally plan out the rooms.  She even wanted to add a toilet to the basement, just like we have.  I knew that I had made the right decision to invite her to help when she told me, “I love helping you, mom.”  All the dreams and plans I had for this dollhouse were right there in that little statement.

So basically, I just painted all the walls, reattached the borders around the windows and doorways, and gave the exterior a good coat of paint.  The dollhouse used to have a balcony and a staircase. The opening where the staircase used to be left a huge hole in the floor, so I got the idea to cover the hole with carpet to make better use of the space.  Now, I am not so sure that I like the look of the thick carpet, so I might eventually try to rebuild a staircase and try some different materials for the carpet.  I would also love to try to rebuild the balcony someday, but for now the master bedroom has a big doorway to nowhere.

Once I finally got everything painted and felt like I was close to being finished, I started looking at dollhouse tutorials on Pinterest.  That opened a huge can of worms.  The possibilities are endless and I had no idea.  After seeing some of the beautiful dollhouses out there, I am almost embarrassed to post pictures of my own.  I decided that I just had to at least add some wallpaper and some little artwork on the wall.  Eventually, I would also love to make some curtains and add some other little touches.  I imagine this is something that Evelyn and I can do together for as long as she is interested.

It’s not perfect.  I wish I would have started working on it sooner and done a little research ahead of time, but I know she will love playing with it and we can make changes to it as often as we want.  I was already looking for tutorials on how to make a little Christmas tree!

The pictures are a little dark…it’s hard to get in all those little corners, but without further ado…

the Dollhouse

That room at the top was my nemesis last night when I was trying to wallpaper it at the eleventh hour.  I could not get the paper to stick.  I will eventually have to pull it out and start over.  Maybe we’ll turn it into a nursery or a game room.

The living room…

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The dining room….  I think this one is my favorite.

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The kitchen….   I had a blast picking out little pictures to hang on the walls.

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The bathroom was one of my biggest challenges.  It’s the narrowest room in the house and the furniture doesn’t fit very well.  We probably could make do with just the tub and no shower, but the set came with both.

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The kids’ room…

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The parents’ room…

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I think it’s safe to say my girl loved it.  Now, I wonder who’s going to play with it more??

i made it: wool longies

If you’re not familiar with cloth diapering, you’ve probably never heard of longies.  But, don’t stop reading, because even if you don’t use cloth diapers, these pants are super-cute and cozy and super easy to put together if you have some basic sewing skills.  Oh, and they can be worn over disposables too. 🙂

Wool longies can be used as a diaper cover over flats, prefolds, and fitteds.  Wool is naturally water repellent and anti-bacterial, so it prevents leaks and can be used over and over without being washed, as long as it’s not soiled.  It’s also breathable, so it’s great in summer or winter for keeping baby’s bum dry and rash-free.  The problem with commercial wool covers is that they can be really expensive ($30-$70 each).  You can find some great and reasonably priced upcycled covers on Etsy or, if you know how to sew, you can make your own using an old wool sweater.

I hit up the local thrift stores to see what I could find.  Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything really colorful or pretty, but I picked up a few sweaters anyway for around $5 each.  I decided to start with this one, which Michael threatened to put on and change his shoes a la Mr. Rogers.  Won’t you be my neighbor?

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You’ve gotta look for 100% wool and lambswool or merino wool is ideal because it’s soft.  If the tag says DRY CLEAN ONLY, you’ve got a winner.  Oh, and it’s best to get a pretty large sweater because of the next step…

Before I could cut them up and start sewing, I had to felt them by machine washing them in warm water and throwing them in the dryer.  This will probably shrink the wool significantly and it kind of brings the fibers in tighter and thickens the wool a bit.

Once the wool is felted, I just used a pair of Evelyn’s pants as a template following this tutorial at Life Alaskan Style (no, I don’t have the patience or sewing expertise to make a tutorial of my own).  The sleeves became the legs and then I just added a waistband by using the sweater’s existing waistband.  I’m pretty happy with the way they turned out, considering this was my first try.  The waistband tends to stretch out after a wear or two, so I might alter them a bit by adding some elastic.

Once I completed the pants, I had to lanolize them to make them water resistant.  Here’s a great tutorial for lanolizing.  If you’re not planning to use them as a diaper cover, you can skip this step.

So far, they’re working really well.  I’m using them over fitted diapers at night time.  And they look pretty cute, don’t you think?

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