Trigger warning: this blog post is about a very recent miscarriage.
Today we would have been 13 weeks pregnant. At 11 weeks and 5 days we miscarried unexpectedly. Over the past few days I’ve focused on the idea that my body knew something wasn’t right with the pregnancy and did what was best.
The past few months have been rough to begin with; morning sickness, vomiting and blase hormones meant I didn’t want to do anything. I was on the couch for weeks before this self isolation began.
The horrible truth is I feel better now. I have energy. I want to do things. I want to play with Cora. I want to cook and I want to eat things other than instant noodles. I’m trying to be kind to myself [easier said than done] by not feeling guilty about wanting to work on projects again.
I don’t think anyone will disagree when I say 2020 has fucking sucked so far. Here’s to the rest of the year looking a whole hell of a lot better 🖤
When I found our Lower Town Dollhouse online secondhand, it was a great price for a reason – because it had no front door and no staircases. This didn’t deter me at all so I bought it knowing I’d one day be able to make some proper little dollhouse stairs for it.
I started by measuring the ceiling height and dividing it by however many steps I wanted [20.3cm ÷ 15 steps = 1.35cm high per riser], and then I measured the depth of the space for the stairs [ie – the hole in the floor] to find the depth of each tread [14cm ÷ 14steps = 1cm deep per step]. I ended up with 1.35cm high steps that were 1cm deep and after a few sketches it looked just right. I tested the measurements using a cardboard template before committing to the real thing, and luckily my second template worked out perfect.
Having to assemble the stairs was one of those things that got more difficult in my head the longer I left it when in reality, as soon as I started, it didn’t take long to make. I used the template to cut 4 copies of the stair silhouette on corrugated cardboard; gluing two sets together to form sturdy supports for each side of the stairs. I wish I took a photo of the assembly stage, but I either forgot or was distracted by a something small yelling at me.
I first glued the risers in place with superglue, followed by gluing each step on top with two layers of cardboard sandwiched with superglue to really toughen them [see: to withstand a sweet and thoughtful yet unrelenting toddler]. I also used masking tape on the back side of the steps to further secure them in place and reinforce the sturdiness.
Again, I didn’t take a photo, but I next used filler to fill in the gaps and toughen the edges. Once that was dry I painted the stairs white and using superglue along the entire right side, along the top step and under the bottom step, I glued the entire staircase in place and I have to say, it is so sturdy that I think Cora could actually stand on it with her real feet and the stairs would survive.
Using wooden coffee stirrers and an existing tiny chair rail, I created [or, attempted to create] a bead board look. I carried the bead board look around the rest of the hallway. It at first looked awful as I was adding it but as soon as I painted it, it looked like a real little room.
Above; the hallway as a work in progress. When I first bought the dollhouse, there wasn’t even a window here. It was just a giant hole. It really was tore up from the floor up [you can get an idea from these photos]. I know it doesn’t look perfect as it is now, but I think it’s an improvement and TBH, because the stairs are glued in place, you can’t get a proper look down the hallway.
It’s quite difficult to see from the only ‘before’ type photo I have below, but you’ll see that the stairs that once were here used to face the other way. For Cora’s sake, I thought it made the most sense for the stairs to be facing toward the back of the dollhouse so Cora could actually use them. Yes, they break several health and safety standards this way, but I don’t think any of the little creatures are part of a union, so I think we’re safe. And let’s not mention the lack of a banister either [purposefully left out until toddler is a bit less smashy].
I have to do an entire second set of stairs for the next floor, so I’ll be following my own set of instructions again soon. But this time around it won’t take nearly as long now that I know what to expect. It’s tiny work but I really do love it so much. To the point where if dollhousing was a career, I’d be trying my best to get into doing that.
I’m going to come clean straight away and say this is a project I’m working on as a gift for Cora this Christmas, but it’s also 9,000% entirely for me. I am living vicariously through Cora this Christmas. And beyond.
I had been looking on Kijiji for a dollhouse for Cora for a few months. Probably casually looking for around six months, but more seriously searching for the last two to three months. I found amazing dollhouses every few weeks but they were either too expensive, located too far away or were the bad kind of homemade that were misshapen and home to jagged edges that no amount of sandpaper or filler could fix. This would after all be a present for our curious toddler so I wanted it to be a practical, special and more importantly a safe dollhouse.
Kijiji did not disappoint. Kijiji is a gentle creature that rewards those with an abundance of patience. You have to look and look and look and inquire and have a deal fall through and keep looking and change your search words 20 times and then right when you’re about to give up, the most perfect thing will present itself.
I suspect many peopled passed on this dollhouse because of its lack of a front door, a window and stairs. Ha, I say. HA! You’re going to have to do a lot worse than that to deter me. Before I heard back from the owner if it was still available or not, I was already researching how to make dollhouse doors and stairs and I am up for the challenge.
As Robert pointed out, the attic is very like the wallpaper in Adam and Barbara’s house in Beetlejuice. It’s really sweet and I might keep it for the time being.
As for the rest, I will be changing. I’m already overwhelmed with redecorating ideas. It will mostly be for Cora’s current / my old Sylvanian Families [aka Calico Creatures in North America] collection, so it will be decorated to be sweet and adorable. I might try my hand at making some tiny wallpaper, and there will be bits of burgundy here and there, but I’ll try my best to not to impose a gothic look. I’m way too excited to start redecorating Cora’s dollhouse and I’ve even come up with a few moodboard ideas for it! I really can’t wait to start. I love a good project, especially on a scale I can handle for a few hours a night.
But more importantly, want to know how much I paid for it?
p.s. Serious question – can I say I own a Victorian house now? Because I kind of do …
Should you be interested, check out my post where I share my