Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Cardboard Doll House

I needed to create today. Like, really needed to. I was tired, brain was foggy, and I just had that restless feeling... Monday I'd thought of things that would take at least a week of uninterrupted time to do, and all I usually have is an hour or two at best when both have naps that overlap, and usually - pretty much always these days - chores take precedence.

But this week, most of our friends are gone, traveling for the Chinese New Year holidays, so we don't have any get-together days scheduled. Sure, the bathrooms I've been procrastinating cleaning for far too long and there's dust in corners that should be swept, but I just had to do something creative.

I've known I wanted to make a dollhouse out of cardboard boxes since we moved here, and planned to do one since September, when I knew my mom was buying these sweet dolls for Hadassah's birthday. But I also knew it would take a while, and long stretches of time are rare!

So once Ellie joined Hadassah in sleep-world, I raced to do lunch dishes and hang laundry, and then let myself make a mess and create. It actually only took less than two hours to do all of it, and the brain clearing and attitude lifting it did for me is amazing. I forget how wonderful creativity like this is!

I've always enjoyed little dolls. My older sister Miriam made me an amazing doll house when I was a girl (complete with an elevator!) and I collected just about everything miniature I could find. One day I want to get a more sturdy, lasting dollhouse for my girls (or even use the one that was mine as a girl), but here in China I don't want to invest in things on a larger scale, knowing we aren't planning on being here long term. And I realized that for a toddler, cardboard is great and you can do a ton with hot glue and paper and felt. Yes, she may destroy some of it, but I also saved on mess and clean up by hot gluing all the accessories to the box house. Saves on frustration too, as things don't move as she tries to put her dolls in.

 Instead of making a huge house with lots of rooms, the whole family sleeps in the same room. :) Adding trim to the blankets was a last minute addition that made them so much more fun (they were pretty bland before). The crib took the longest to make out of popsicle sticks, but I knew that as much as Hadassah enjoyed her crib, she'd want one for the baby (and I was right). :) I would have enjoyed making more furniture out of popsicle sticks but I was short on time.

And it's far from perfect. My blessing (and curse at times!) in being creative is that I'm not a perfectionist. Helps when I'm trying to finish things quickly!

 Being a toddler, I knew Hadassah would enjoy having a bathroom. And I was right. She took the little girl potty and gave the girls a bath in the bathtub together like she enjoys with her baby sister on occasion. She is so enjoying stories and acting things out these days, that it's fun to see her have a chance to do it with these dollies! Before she had a house for them, she hardly ever played with them, but now I see a lot of play in her future!

 Half of a carton that had fruit in it worked perfectly for simple couches. And felt turns into a nice rug when you make fringes! The pictures/windows are simple and hurried - I could do a lot better, but knew the wake-up time of the girls was fast approaching, and it just looked so much better when I put something on the wall!

 I didn't make chairs in the kitchen (save the bouncy chair for the baby, which Hadassah loved having!) because 1) no room, 2) saves the hassle of her trying to get her dolls to sit in them, and 3) they would have been tricky to make! So the family can stand at the table. :) Another half of a fruit carton in the back has a sink and stove, and of course there has to be a window above the sink for the mom when she does the dishes!

And I loved watching Hadassah decide what the dolls would do. :) She put them to bed multiple times. She put them all down on the living room rug to play together (as she likes us doing as a family). She even had the mom nurse the baby, then had her say, "I'm going to take you outside in the ERGO." Then there was a pause and a high pitched, shocked, "We have no ERGO!!" She got her big doll stroller as a substitute. :)

1 comment:

  1. I love it! So adorable! If I were a little kid, this is exactly what I'd want to play with. Hadassah is lucky to have such a creative mommy. =)