Saturday, September 1, 2012

Miniature Rehab and Why I Should Listen to My Mother

A few weeks ago, our girl visited  The Magic House for the first time.  It's a wonderful place, full of fun, interactive and secretly educational exhibits.  If you are ever in St. Louis with kiddos in tow, you should check it out.

While wheeling around the masses of children and parents, the small fry was drawn repeatedly to this big wooden doll house they had.  And now we enter the part of the story in which I must admit that my mom was right - again.  (This is a recurring theme in my life.) 

When I was middle school age, I was also mildly obsessed with doll houses... not so much the playing with dolls, more the making miniature things and decorating tiny rooms.  I think it began with the Thorne miniature rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago, which was one of my favorite parts of our summer pilgrimage to Chicago.  And so one fall, my mom and I ran across a fairly nice doll house at an antique store and my parents bought it for me as a Christmas present.  I spent hours removing full scale wallpaper, carpet and glue that was stuck to the balsa wood walls and floor.  My parents bought me a kit to make some furniture and I loved the tiny tedious job of building benches and chests and sewing pillows the size of quarters.

House painting complements of my
eleven-year-old self

Rehab about 30-percent done

I outgrew that doll house, like teenagers do.  And I pressed my mom to get rid of it, fully convinced that I would never have another use for it.  So you can imagine that I was less than thrilled when several months ago, she arrived at my house with it.  (This is a classic move on her part, arriving with long forgotten possessions and then driving off towards her now-more-clutter-free-home, cackling like some gleeful and benevolent antagonist.)

So we moved the house down from the attic and dusted it off (Thanks for keeping it Mom.) and started a small scale remodeling project.  Working room by room, we're making things a little cleaner and prettier. All those gorgeous choices of scrap booking paper make for good wallpaper.  And sheets of foam make good mock carpet (it's stiff enough to keep those little people from toppling over).  And we've moved in the Playmobil family and some of their furniture and the fun has begun again for this little house.

Cutting "wallpaper" for tiny dormers... a little challenging.

Cork floors in the kitchen.

Just a few more rooms to rehab, and hours and hours of play ahead for the small fry and her little plastic friends.  All due to the foresight of my mom.


  1. I LOVE everything about this post!!!! Thanks, Faye!

  2. What a great story!
    I'm glad your mother didn't throw it away, it is a pretty rockin' doll house. Maybe you should re-decorate one of the rooms as a prison cell or a psychiatric padded room... or not. ;-)

  3. I am totally digging that vanity! Great job Frye! Now she can have it for her daughter :)