July 27, 2010

The Best Birthday Gift Ever

Okay, so that might be a slight exaggeration, but it's certainly the best birthday gift I've ever made. I am a novice seamstress, at best, so I am prodigiously proud of myself for crafting this adorable little travel doll house.

Let's take a tour, shall we? You'll notice the exterior of the house is decorated with extra touches like an arched door and appliqued hearts.

Coordinating buttons and elastic loops keep everything secure until we're ready to head inside...

 ... and meet the current tenants! For years I've been wanting an excuse to buy the girls a Calico Critters set. Now that I have the perfect home for them, they happily took up residence.

So how did I make it? With blood, sweat, tears, and the occasional curse word! I found the tutorial from Dawn @ UK Lass in US via Jeanine @ Serving Pink Lemonade. Both of these extraordinarily talented ladies used the words "easy" and "simple" in their posts. I'm sure it was easy and simple for both of them, but it was two days of sewing warfare for me. While you don't need more than basic sewing skills to make the house, the project is difficult for a newbie like myself.

The structure of the house is formed from plastic canvas wrapped in batting. You quilt together the covering for the canvas pieces and lay it out in a open box pattern. Then it's simply a matter of hand-stitching the one side in place and adding the details. Dawn gives a very detailed tutorial that most of you will probably read and think "wow! That is easy! Christianne must be one spatially-challenged wannabe seamstress!" You'd be right.

So you'll forgive me if I toot my own horn a bit. Not only did the birthday girl love her gift, but we gave it a place of honor in the playroom: it's own spot on the bookshelf!

What else is on that bookshelf? Well, A's other birthday gift...

On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman

On the Night You Were BornI've seen this book around, but lumped it with the sentimental "you're special" books that parents cry through and kids yawn during. We have several such books which I love and my kids can't sit still through. I am so glad I gave this one a second chance!

The illustrations are gorgeous and downright magical at times. The story explains how all of nature rejoiced on the night "you" were born. What sets this book apart - besides the phenomenal artwork - are the interactive moments throughout. Your child is encouraged to whisper their name (just as the wind is doing) and wiggle their toes (those "silly, wiggly wonderful toes"). These asides to the reader early in the story grab the child's attention, while the short sentences on each page and brilliant illustrations hold it.

My girls sat enraptured by the story while I read it at bedtime... and yes, I cried at the end. Because truly, my dear A,  

"Heaven blew every trumpet and played every horn
on the wonderful, marvelous night you were born."

I'm linking up to:


  1. I am totally impressed because I can't sew at all and I don't even know what plastic canvas is. My daughter would love one of those little houses though so maybe I should learn! We love Calico Critters too; I don't like the play houses they sell for the Critters though.

    I always get teary when we read that book.

  2. I am so impressed by your sewing skills- it turned out really cute! Can't wait to get my hands on that book!

  3. Love it! Pottery Barn kids sells a "Puffy Dollhouse" for $50 and it is nowhere near as cute as yours!I think I need to make one of these for my daughter for Christmas!

  4. It turned out so incredibly cute and this post is especially well written sis :)!

  5. It turned out so cute! I love all the hard work you did.

  6. You did a really nice job! I bet she loves it.

  7. I looked at the same tutorial before. It's so nice to hear from someone else that these projects aren't in fact easy :)

  8. Wow! This is awesome. Looks like the sewing bug got you, too! :)

  9. It turned out adorable! That project has been sitting on my list for a while but yours is so cute I might actually make one for Christmas.

  10. Ok, I made my own dollhouse, but since I'm on a money diet I made mine out of a shoebox. I mentioned yours in my post here:

  11. I love your blog! I have had this on my list for about two years, I think!

    My daughter would love it, but she would just use it as a bucket to carry things...not as a house.

    May I ask how long it took to make?

  12. Oh so cute! I know my daughter would love this and my son just might enjoy a "barn" type one.:)

  13. This is the book that Karyn gave me at the baby shower. It is very sweet for sure! And that craft is awesome- great job!!

  14. What an extra-special gift for an extra-special girl!!!!! I think this doll house will be be a treasure to save for HER little girl someday.

  15. Too cute! I want to make this for my neices for Christmas! : )

    I featured you here:

  16. That is just the sweetest thing ever! I can't show ER or she'll want one and I cannot sew. I'm so happy to see a Calico Critter family has a new home☺ ER is just in love with her squirrel family.


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