Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The dollhouse

This is not really a family story, although very nearly so.

My grandfather on my mother’s side worked with wood a lot. I have a jewelry box he made for me, plus a Christmas carving of the Madonna on a donkey while pregnant, and also a wrought iron two dimensional sculpture of the Madonna and the Christ child mounted on wood. All are lovely and incredibly well done.

He passed that love of working with wood on to his son, my uncle. My uncle made amazing furniture, truly artisan work and I wish I’d had the foresight to have him make some for us. He understood wood and could make the beauty of the grain just appear out of nothing and the lines of the furniture always worked with whatever wood he’d chosen to use.

He also started making a doll house years ago when my cousin was a little girl. My aunt made some soft goods for it, and my grandfather even made a table or two. But she ended up not really being into dolls or their houses and so he never finished it. Long story not so long, my mother knew I was obsessed with miniatures and that he had this unfinished doll house and so he gave it to me.

I think you can access the photo album with the pictures of how I finished the doll house here. Each picture in that album has a description of what you're seeing. Finishing it was a lot of fun but once we knew we were moving to Boston, we were stumped on what to do with such a big piece of furniture. My daughter-in-law’s parents live close to the Kansas City area, though, and they agreed to take the doll house and store it in their basement (which isn’t nasty and damp, but lovely and finished).

Well we are back in the KC area and apparently J’s folks were afraid – yes, that’s right, afraid – we would want the doll house back! All the grandkids play with it every time they visit – all seven of them. And anytime people with children come over, those kids play with the doll house too!

Here’s a picture from last week of our grandchildren playing away with the house. My son and his father-in-law shortened the legs of the stand my uncle made. That way the kids can play with everything more easily.

Honestly, even if we did have room for the doll house now, I would never ask them to return it unless it was a burden to them. I have to admit, too, that it's a lot easier not to watch little hands playing with the furniture my grandfather made. I'd get all wrapped up around the axles worrying that they might break things rather than focusing on what matters; the kids are having a lot of fun with something my family made.


Magpie said...

wow. it's fabulous.

Anonymous said...

Amazing! My grandfather made one for me and my sister that we played with when we visited him. It wasn't nearly this nice, though.

Anonymous said...


Jeanne said...

Y'all share well!