Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A house of one's own

When I was in the sixth grade, I received a dollhouse for Christmas and I was pretty disappointed. Although I had always been fascinated by miniatures and had, in fact, owned a half-inch scale dollhouse when I was quite a bit younger, I'd asked for a camera that Christmas and was unhappy that I didn't get one. And this dollhouse wasn't even built: it was a kit that my dad would have to help me put together! I also received a booklet of dollhouse-scale wallpaper and some furniture kits. All in all, not a terrible haul, but disappointing because of the lack of camera and perhaps a little irritating because it seemed that my parents still saw me as a little kid.

As usual, I got it wrong. During the next four months, as my dad and I slowly assembled my dollhouse on our mostly unused dining room table, I began to realize that my parents saw me as someone with a deep and abiding interest in both miniatures and crafting -- they understood, even if I didn't at first, that both the process of making tiny things and ending up with a miniature house would be deeply satisfying to me. And they were right. I wish my parents were still around so I could thank them for their great skill in recognizing and encouraging many of my childhood interests, which included art, crafts of all sorts, music, and especially reading. In fact, when I got a camera for my birthday a few months later, one of the very first things I photographed my was nearly-finished miniature house, now lacking just a few rows of shingles and the roof ridge.

Sadly, I no longer have that dollhouse; it finally succumbed to being moved too many times and pretty much just fell apart. But my love of miniatures has continued. Every now and then I'll go to a miniatures convention and wander the showroom floor, gaping at all the tiny, tiny treasures on display (and inevitably buying a few things). I've amassed quite a library of books devoted to building dollhouses and making miniature furniture, accessories, and textiles. I have an entire book about stitching needlepoint Oriental rugs in 1/12 scale! Last week I did something I've been thinking about doing for years: I ordered a dollhouse kit, and today it arrived. I am going to build a dollhouse of my own.

My dollhouse is in the style of a bungalow and is called The Rye. (All dollhouse kits, you'll learn if you spend much time researching them, have names.) I ordered it from a place in New Hampshire called Earth & Tree, which sounds delightfully hippie-ish. I had a bit of trouble finding a bungalow kit because all anyone seems to want to build are Victorian-style dollhouses, which are just not my thing. But I finally came across this little guy, and it looks perfect for a mini starter home.
Four rooms, or is it five? It's hard to tell if that little roomlet upstairs is big enough for a bathroom or if it's more of a closet. No matter; I'll figure it out. I ordered some lovely 1/12 scale Arts & Crafts style wallpaper from a store in New Jersey, and this morning I found a tiny rocking chair with a footstool, a miniature wicker chair, and some itty bitty tools when I was cleaning out a cupboard. (What was I thinking when I bought that little meat cleaver?) I feel as if I'm well on my way to getting started on this next big craft project. I'll post pictures periodically as my work progresses.

3 comments:

Norman said...

Delightful! Don't screw it up, as I do plan to take residence.

~ Lucy said...

OMG! I'm SO EXCITED for you!!! What a great craft idea.

One of my all time favorite gifts as a kid was a big book on the history of doll houses. Last time I ran across it (while moving) I literally stopped in my tracks to sit and sift through it.

I too love miniature things so I'm afraid I must insist that the next time you go to a convention... you have to take me along. I can't wait!

Mr Maskrado said...

Dollhouses are a girlie version of my beloved Micronauts.