Saturday, March 27, 2010


Ta-da! The dollhouse is done! Well, done with an asterisk, because I still need to paint the stairs and fireplace, both of which are separate pieces. And I think I want to add a bit more blue paint in the upstairs room - minor touches, but otherwise, I am so pleased to have this project complete at last! I've spent months thinking about how badly the house needed a sprucing up, and weeks with it "in progress" in my closet. Now it's back in action, with some new furniture and the whole family moved in again.

Amy's been quite pleased, and I must say she was a model of patience during the renovation, talking so sweetly every time she saw me painting about how nice the house would be for her family when it was all done. She liked to "help" me paint, too, which involved sitting on my lap, commenting on the colors, and bouncing up and down... that made the detail work interesting. I also told her that the manufacturer's name of the purple paint was "purple cow," because I thought that was a funny name for a paint color, and she has since called all the colors pink cow, green cow, etc.

The residents, however, seem to like it. (Have I mentioned how badly I want to take the time to use my beautiful camera on more than just the auto setting? For instance, in this shot, Dad could very easily be in focus too if I just took the time get comfortable with how to change the depth of field... frustration).

Anyway, another project completed that took considerably less time was this teeny tiny nightie for Amy's baby dolls and/or sock monkey. She likes dressing her friends, and I wanted to take a stab at knitting again. This is a modified pattern for a "teddy bear sweater" that is meant as a garment knitting tutorial - increases, decreases, ribbing, etc. Overall I'm pleased with how it came out, (except that one sleeve is somehow longer than the other - pretend you don't notice).

I continue to have mixed feelings about knitting. I can do it reasonably well, and I always love the fine texture and extreme versatility of knitting as opposed to crocheting, but the aggravation factor is awfully high - one mistake and it's all screwed. Crocheting is much more forgiving. But small projects like this are fun and keep my brain nimble.

And for today's parting shot, I give you one very excited girl, dancing around a hotel room in her bathing suit. We had a marvelous overnight stay in National Harbor, complete with a trip to the Smithsonian this morning. I'd make a separate post about it, but really I'd just be saying over and over how fun and refreshing and wonderful it was. So instead I've opted to let the pictures do the talking (over on Facebook) and leave it at that. Hope your weekend has been wonderful as well!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Birthday and Such

I am getting a bit behind on my project updates but the three of us have had a nice stretch of days here and I thought I'd share some family activities first.

Saturday morning Amy and I met up with Don at the station while he was catching up on some work. One of Amy's long-time favorite activities is throwing stones off the pier ("that was a HUGE splash!"). She actually has quite a decent throwing arm, something she definitely did not get from me.

Warm and sunny day, little girl in cute stripey pants. Good stuff.

And whenever I get extra time with my guy I'm a happy camper.

Sooo... Monday was my, ehem, 27th birthday. I felt a little Eeyore-ish in the morning: "Rain. Figures." And Amy woke up at 6. And I was catching a cold. Awesome start. But Don got home from work mid-morning and the rest of the day was very nice. There is nothing quite like a two-year-old's enthusiasm to make a birthday feel special. She presented me with birthday card ("Mommy I got you a Christmas card for your birthday!") and Don got me this book. In the afternoon I took a solo trip to the Kohls that just opened in town - it was probably better for our budget when there wasn't one nearby...

For dinner I subjected everyone to one of my favorite childhood dinners, cheese fondue. Don liked it much more than he thought he would, but Amy wanted nothing to do with it and requested a salad (seriously). And then we topped off a half pound of cheese with the birthday-cakiest of birthday cake: Funfetti with Rainbow Chip frosting. Yes. No culinary points scored, but oh it was quite good. And again Amy's enthusiasm totally made the moment.

Now enough about me. Today was a reasonably nice day so we bought the lumber and soil to make a raised bed in our tiny yard. More on all our little gardens as the season unfolds. But we (and by we I mean Don) at least got the hardscaping out of the way.

Amy took a break from "helping" Daddy to pick these teeny tiny white flowers, which she called "honey roses."

Amy was out of steam before the project was complete and she and I went in to watch Cinderella, so I did not finish my photo-journaling of this project, but here's the finished frame just before Don dug out the ground and set it it. Perfect!

Now, with any luck I'll squeeze in another post before the week is out and get closer to being caught up with the goings-on around here - it's been a busy month!

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Furniture

I am very nearly DONE with the dollhouse refurbishment project. I need one more painting session to retouch some of the white trim, then I'm ready to call it complete.

The dollhouse furniture Amy has been playing with is rather spindly stuff from my childhood. While none of it is highly valuable or antique or anything, it's not really meant for a 2.5-year-old's play. Amy has a gentle touch, and can mostly be trusted with non-kid-friendly things, but every once in awhile something gets flung in frustration, and I have long been on the hunt for some more age-appropriate dollhouse accessories. Until discovering this line of dollhouse rooms at Walmart a month or so ago the only furniture I'd found was either too expensive, too plain, the wrong scale, too delicate, or all of the above.

But good old Fisher Price has come through for me with three of the CUTEST sets I have ever seen. Each of these "rooms" cost $12, and for the surprising amount of detail I consider it a bargain. (Oh, and much to my delight - nothing here lights up or makes noise.)

Amy picked out the dining room set. The buffet has a little mirror, and the drawer opens and closes. The tablecloth and chair covers are darling but I think I like them better without:

The parents' bedroom has a very stylish, sturdy bed complete with throw pillows and a little blanket chest that opens and closes, and a nice new robe for Mom. I expect this set to get heavy use, as Amy's favorite activity is tucking *everyone* into bed (dolls, animals, Mom and Dad...) The only snafu on this one was that the blanket was permanently attached to the foot of the bed... and all I could foresee was Amy's endless frustration that it didn't come all the way off. Not to mention that it would interfere with making new covers, if ever we want to change the decorating scheme. So in a fit I cut the thing off, immediately said "oh, that was probably a bad idea," but proceeded to hem up the bottom edge of the comforter and call it good. Could explain why I'm up past 11 o'clock tonight...

And last but not least, my personal favorite, the "home office":

This could not possibly get any cuter; I was nearly squealing as I unpackaged it all - area rug, folding screen, kitty, folding laptop that slides into a little carrying case, desk chair that really swivels, telephone that can be picked up, clipboard, a printer cart that opens and closes and the printer slides out on a shelf, a little tray with scissors and other desk accessories. Ahh! Can I live here? I'm not sure who is going to have more fun with all this, me or Amy...

So now I'm just trying to decide how to present all this to my girl. I'm eager to get the dollhouse out of my space so I can get on with other projects, and Amy has been watching me work on it and has been waiting quite patiently to get one of her favorite playthings back. She was with me when I bought the furniture but it's been hidden and she's since forgotten about it, so I certainly could hold on to it for now... But while I don't want to be overly indulgent, it seems only fitting to celebrate the "new" dollhouse with some new fixings. I know it all will get played with now, and to wait for any birthday or holiday is quite a long way off...

Anyway, it is late so I will head to bed to think on this, and will be back in a couple of days with some pictures of the house itself!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Now I Remember

March and I have developed a funny relationship over the years. It is my birth month, and the month I always think of as the beginning of spring. I have spent most of my life liking March. But after nearly 27 years (!) I have come to accept that a) birthdays are overrated and b) there is actually not much springy about March, at all.

March is the month during which the daylight seems suddenly longer but the weather doesn't match, and I'm not quite ready to be done with the cozy indoor evenings of wintertime. I do prefer warmth and sun and green, but the brown, muddy chill of March makes it terribly difficult to even think of what summer is like. Or how to get There from Here. And last of all, I have spent two Marches in early pregnancy, with last spring's pregnancy ending in miscarriage. So this year, while quite over the morning sickness and happily counting the weeks (11, give or take) until I deliver this active little baby, I have found myself feeling almost ill simply by association.

But TODAY, at last, I caught the glimpse of summer that I needed to help me work through my issues with March. Amy and I spent the late afternoon playing in the sandbox for the first time since fall. Simply being outside at 5:30, in daylight, and at a comfortable temperature was enough to bring back memories of barbecues and margaritas and gardening, and assured me that yes, the grass will be green again.

Now, I remember.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Amy Gets Married

But fortunately her idea of marriage (for now) simply involves wearing this pink blanket as her wedding dress - "I look SO beautiful!" She kept this act up all day long.

She is, of course, marrying the Prince. If you ask you'll find out that the Prince is indeed very nice, and handsome, but he doesn't have a lot of money. He's not too crazy about Winnie-the-Pooh, but he does love cats and the Coast Guard. And Amy is quite certain that they will live Happily Ever After.

All this pretending is sparked by her new favorite fix, Cinderella. It's been ages since I watched Disney's Cinderella, but it is 76 minutes of the nicest, sweetest movie a two-year-old could watch. Add in the book and Amy now has all sorts of new material.

Now, Amy has been a no-nap girl for over a month now, with only the occasional catch-up nap maybe once a week or so. But apparently all this getting married takes a lot out of a girl, because today turned out to be a nap day. She fell asleep on my shoulder after some Richard Scarry...

... and making sure all her Friends were tucked in bed, too...

... and slept in this ridiculous position for over two hours. It was a busy day!