Every once in a while I like to bring my blog friends up to date on what is going on in The Dollhouse in my studio. I am not referring to Lillian's Venetian Palazzo or to the Summerhouse where the smallest of the Roche dolls hang out. I am talking about the Red Cottage at River's Bend which was designed by my sister-in-law, Jean, and me when my daughters were small. It measures 46" by 44" and is three stories tall. Everything in the dollhouse was designed to the scale of an 8-10" doll because that is the size which 5-6 year old hands can handle easily. Artisans designed the simple wooden furniture along Shaker lines. I wanted everything in the dollhouse to be made of natural materials--no plastics allowed! My mother needle-pointed beautiful rugs for the floors, and aunties knitted warm woolen blankets for the beds. I made mattresses and embroidered sheets and pillowcases, and quilted little patchwork quilts. There are handmade embroideries on the walls and framed pictures of mothers cuddling their babies or reading books to their children. The colors were chosen for their warm harmonies of Indian red, yellow, ochres, and browns. The foods in the kitchen were made from salt dough and painted. I wanted my daughters and their friends to think of the dollhouse as a warm and friendly home; it was played with throughout their childhood with endless variations, and is currently being enjoyed by my grandaughter, Paloma, who is now six. When Paloma comes to visit she makes a beeline for the dollhouse and begins to arrange things to her liking.
Although the dollhouse has had many residents over the years, it is now home to some miniature bears, and this is Celine in one of the second story bedrooms. Celine is very elegant and always likes to look her best.
This is Timmy, who is sitting at his desk trying to learn some songs from a large music book.
In the middle bedroom, Mr. and Mrs. Mouse have come to pay a call on Clemence, who has a tummy ache and is staying home from school. He is enjoying a large book on old pioneer stoves. Buttercup, the Budgie, likes to flit around the house and keep an eye on things.....like all the cats, who are currently downstairs riding around the living room in a red wagon. If you look carefully, you will see that Miss Panda is reading a book of fairy tales.
The photo is out of focus (sorry about that!) but as you can see, Lambie Pie is also staying home from school and Miss Panda is reading to him. (Paloma will begin 1st grade in the fall and is excited about learning to read.)
Pommelraie and Prince Frederick (he's a bit smaller than Pommelraie so all the bears address him as "Prince" to make him feel better) are reading together in the living room while the cats and their kittens cry because Mimi and Giorgio have run into the kitchen to eat breakfast.
Mary Margaret, a little Irish bear, is eating by herself in the dining room because she doesn't want to get anything on her party dress. She is going to a birthday party this afternoon. (This is Paloma's story line.)
After Paloma arranged everything just the way she wanted it, she looked up and said, "Gramma, will you leave it just this way while I am gone?" I promised I wouldn't touch a thing. (She lives ten hours away.)
Then we went outside for popsickles.
Of course, little sister, Luna, wanted one too.
Aaaaah, summer! Isn't it grand? Dollhouses, sprinklers, popsickles, warm sun, blue sky, and adorably sweet grand-girls to play with!