beginnings – a dollhouse in Wonderland
Presents for the girlie have become a bit trickier these last few years. Those considered standard for the modern teenager include clothes, money, clothes, money, expensive electronic equipment, money … hmmm! Well, to be honest, we are very blessed with electronic equipment (courtesy of husband-father who works in IT) so simply don’t need any. Clothes – we thrift them or make or own when we need them. Money – I truly consider this to be the most boring of presents. And completely contrary to what a present should be, i.e. something I’ve carefully thought about and chosen with love especially for that person.
When she smaller, it was so easy! Beautiful books, games and toys! I’d love to just keep giving these :-) but I suppose I need to remember that my dear girl is growing up. It’s just that it’s so much harder these days to match the gasping magic of unwrapping the playmobil pirate ship, the sylvanian hotel, a marvellous box of lego, or Molly, the American Girl with wee bundles of clothes thrifted by Father Christmas and his helpers.
This Christmas, I think I hit a near perfect balance. There were lovely books in her stocking, a pretty new mama-made night dress with matching overnight wrap for sleepovers (I’ll show you this next week), some paraphernalia from a manga series she is especially fond of, and this here dollhouse.
The inspiration for this marvellous second hand find, came from an excited conversation Abby and I had on our way home from Winterwood one afternoon. Our imaginations were overflowing with all the different kinds of characters we could make with the wee wooden folk we saw there (in fact, we used to buy these from the mega-hardware store when Abby was little and she used to decorate them with markers and they were all called “Benny” – as such they are forever known in Bootville as “Bennydolls”) and needle felting and we hit upon the idea of making a “story” of them that would live in a dollhouse we could decorate. Initially we were unoriginally thinking of Snow White – I think we saw it in a book – but as Abby warmed more and more to the idea, she was populating the imagined dollhouse with the characters from “Fruits Basket” or “Full Metal Alchemist” (manga series that Abby loves – she rolled her eyes at the suggestions of Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, The Borrowers, or Harry Potter!).
So for Christmas, the dismantled dollhouse was wrapped in the picnic quilt under the tree, surrounded by pretty Christmassy tins (from Ikea – they match the Father Christmas quilt!) filled with supplies – wee Bennydolls, lots of crinkly wool for hair, the largest tin stuffed with tightly rolled pieces of colourful felt, perle thread, ribbons, felt balls … she loved it!
I did think she would start working on it whilst holidaying with Mum and she did lay it all out a couple of times and made up one Bennydoll, but she says she couldn’t settle upon a theme. Today – another cool and rainy day, with Sacha by her side, they lined up the dollhouse pieces (we had no instructions and I forgot to take a photo before I pulled it apart – what a silly!) figured out what went where and set to building the house.
It was up in no time but there was still a lot of ummmmming and ahhhhhing about who should live in this house. Finally, she slapped her hand against her forehead and declared it had to be a dollhouse in Wonderland – seems to be the theme of the season! Out came the paper dolls she spent meticulous hours working on during our holiday, out came the supplies and our felt farm book for extra inspiration and ideas for kitting out the house, and the girlies were off.
I left them to it, but could still hear them as I moved through the house. It was as if we were back in the tumbledown cottage in Brisbane and they were both wee 8 year olds. The artwork may be a whole lot more sophisticated and to this old fashioned mama, sometimes a wee bit eye-popping, and the characters may get up to different kinds of drama and mischief but still … chatter, chatter, chatter went the story, giggle, giggle, giggle (could have been some snickering too – they are fourteen) and the girlies were happily absorbed in their story and creativity all day.
Tomorrow, we are choosing paint … I’ll keep you posted :-)