Do you have one of those childhood memories that comes to mind with startling clarity? Along with the sensation of splinters and really sticky glue?
When I was about nine or ten years old, my sister and I built our very own dollhouse. This was not a dollhouse kit, mind you. We already had a large dollhouse in our room that my mom or dad built for us. It was a two-story home complete with furniture. There was even a little bathtub that our gerbil liked to climb into when we would set him loose in our little pressed-wood mansion. We would giggle as he scurried upstairs ... he was probably terrified and looking for a safe place to hide.
No. This dollhouse we made ourselves from scraps lying around the woodpile. We scavenged around my dad's toolshed and amongst the piles of pine and aspen under the lean-to looking for the perfect pieces. Eventually we had enough to put together our own one room house. With only our imaginations (and not a lot of architectural know-how) we set to work.
I remember sitting together under the old cottonwood tree in the side yard laboring over the walls and roof. Our most challenging dilemma was figuring out how to keep the wood in place long enough for the glue to dry. And when you are reeeeaalllly generous with the glue (because more is better, right?) you can be waiting a loooong time for it to dry. One of us would be stuck holding the walls and roof in one place (probably Allison seeing as she is two years younger and I was a bossy-pants) while the other of us (that's me) would be working on the furniture. Eventually the glue would be dry enough for Allison to let go and as long as there wasn't any wind, she could join me in the interior design.
Unfortunately, we were a bit lacking in the structural integrity department and on a regular basis we were forced to return to the construction of the house and reinforce it with ... you got it ... more glue. I don't remember ever actually playing with the dollhouse, it was a bit too unstable in its construction to be a dwelling place. But we never seemed to tire from trying to shore up the walls and roof long enough to dream about playing with it.
When we weren't fortifying the dollhouse, we spent our time rummaging through our mother's fabric scraps for the furnishings. We had rugs on the floor, a table complete with tablecloth and wooden blocks covered in fabric for a couch and beds. We were certainly resourceful!
The final addition to our original creation was the family members. We raided our goody drawer in the kitchen for wooden clothes pins - and probably stole a few off the chip bags from the top of the refrigerator, too. By dissembling the clothes pins, we then had two little people to live in our home. We chose a variety of fabric scraps for their clothing and wrapped the colorful swatches around the pins, securing them with our endless supply of glue. Some girls wore dresses while the boys had shirts and shorts. To finish them, we drew little faces on the upper portion of the pin and added curly or spiky hair with our Sharpies.
Our own little "home sweet home":
I'm not sure where that half-an-A-frame house ended up, but I'm grateful for the memory of building it (and re-building it) with my sissy.