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
I'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."
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