What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Merry Christmas Darling, Happy New Year too.

Welcome to our garage. The heinously messy, most oppressively UN-feng shui zone we have. Our home lacks an attic and our basement is used for living, so the only area for storage we have is the garage (and a horrendously revolting looking wall in the basement that we daily try to ignore...) The garage, however, not only needs to be used for storage-it is my laundry room, Matt's workshop (projects like THE DOLLHOUSE need room to grow, after all), patio furniture storage and his barn-clothes changing station. Oh yeah. He doesn't only work with wood and has all the equiptment for that, but there are also the beer-making, cider-pressing and buck-skinnin' supplies he needs to find space for.

The garage has been overwhelming for quite a long time now and lets just say, a thorn THIS size has mutilated our sides by now.

Ever have a project you know NEEDS to get done, but the size of the task is so monumental and your time is SO limited you find yourself exhausted before you even begin?! Yep. That was Matt-and this garage. Not to mention him working his typical 12 hour work day and coming home-the LAST thing he wanted to do was wrestle THIS bull by the horns.

Yesterday I thought it would be a wonderful surprise to do it all for him. A sort of belated Christmas present. I knew by doing so, I would lift a HUGE burden off of his shoulders and that was enough to convince me. Once I get an idea in my head, it is hard to slow me down-so it took a good 4 1/2-5 hours, but once I began I couldn't stop. Anticipating his reaction kept me going (and giddy with excitement myself!)

I know these aren't the most photogenic pictures. Nor are they of an interesting subject, after all...who likes looking at pictures of landfills?!?

But I am very proud of myself for tackling such a HUGE project for my hubby. Just had to write it down for posterities' sake. Don't say I never did anything for you Mattie! ;-)

Wow. Look at the mess of J*U*N*K. Yowza. Just looking at it made me want to back down.

Rubbermaid bins galore. Lots of boxes of stuff for Salvation army. This was AFTER I made a Salvation army run and dropped off a carful of boxes and bags.

Little bunny trails to the door.

Ugh. I hate our garage. But its worse where there isn't any, am I right or am I right?!?
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Many Hours Later: the after shots

Big mountain of rubble, where did you go?!? Good riddance! I won't miss you!

Rubbermaid bins, boxes for salvation army, bunches of randomness, bunny trails to the door... No longer. The top of the broken dryer (that must stay in the house because it belongs to our landlord) is now the shelf for Matt'c clean barn clothes. He gets dressed each morning in the garage. Brrrr. I love that man. He endures so much to keep my cow allergies at bay....

I never did take a before picture of this area but if you can imagine piles of manila folders from Matt's college days, tax papers from before we were married and empty binders about two feet high...you can get the visual. I made this our 'beverage' department. As you can see, we are fully stocked should any company arrive. Anyone want to arrive?!?

Ahhhh...a grimy, dirty, cracked concrete floor never looked so good!

Garages are NEVER a pretty sight, but I would say this is a VAST improvement. Wouldn't you?!?
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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dollhouse Project: Mission Accomplished

Time for the unveiling! There are still a few things I would like to do, someday. Like paint the OUTSIDE of it! And I look forward to working WITH Corynn to add to the furnishings and such~that will be GREAT fun. But overall, it is in working order and looking great. Thanks to all who contributed ideas, suggestions, tips and more. I really value your input and enthusiasm!

Above all else, this dollhouse is filling up many hours with beaming smiles. There is nothing better than that

The bottom shelf will eventually hold baskets for the 'extra stuff'. Like, say, the CHRISTMAS tree! ;-) Right now, it is working well as a garage. hehe

I made those cute little banner things-each floor had one. It said...

Merry Christmas Darling!

I think it was.

Ta-da! A whole new world has opened up!
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Now for a close-up tour!!!

The kitchen is the heart of the home and so is wonderfully large. I really liked the suggestion for a red and white kitchen, so red and white it became!

Notice the Coca Cola cooler? That came to us from a nickel yardsale bag of barbie stuff. Doesn't it fit perfectly? The poor baby is going to catch her death without any clothes...I'll have to get on Corynn about that! ;-)

I filled some teeny glass jars with real spices. Mustard, fennel, and poppy seeds were perfect!

While we feasted upstairs, it looks like dolls had their own Christmas feast waiting. Too bad there aren't any chairs! I made the table from some spools and a slab of wood but couldn't for the life of me figure out how to make nice looking chairs! Ah well. It will be buffet style tonight! :)
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Tis the season for Christmas trees, I just HAD to include one in the little peoples' house. As you can see, I never did get a chance to make living room furniture. Thankfully, Corynn already had an orange bench or they might have had to sit on the floor! :-)

I wallpapered the bottom part and lined it with ribbon for a chair rail. A wonderfully creative lady suggested a stone fireplace-but I didn't want to go digging in the snow for teeny stones...so I covered part of a tissue box with brick colored clay and then carved lines in it. It worked splendidly-and my fingers were still warm! The vase of flowers was made with wire and flower beads from a broken bracelet of Corynn's. The tree decorations were also beads.

And yes-THIS house has a plethora of dogs. INDOOR dogs. Thank you Clare! See? Your pups have GOOD homes now!

Since we are a homeschooling family...of COURSE, the doll people needed a SCHOOL ROOM! ;-)

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The bathroom. I would love a bathroom like this! Obviously I had to purchase the bathroom accessories, but with a 40% off coupon, it wasn't all that bad. Thanks to my friend Mrs. Hurzeler for the dollarstore heads up~I got the vanity in the corner from there!

The master bedroom. The bed is made from clothespins, empty spools, and lincoln log slats. The lamp is made with scrapbook paper leftover from the living room (so she can change it up if she likes...) The mirrored vanity was actually a small jewelry box for $1.00. The plant is made from felt. It's very sparse so far, but Corynn can help me create things for it as we go along...

Ah yes. The children's LOFT. I chose the attic portion for the childrens' room because she had so MANY little babies and children. (In fact, all the dolls she already had from yardsales and such...) I filled that sucker to brimming with beds of all sorts. Some made from dollar store kits, some bought, some we already had, and the bunkbeds from lincoln log slats and heavy duty cardboard. There are LOTS of pieces of fabric cut into blankets in THIS room!

Looks like Grandma is tucking all the children in for the night!
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It's a hit!

Corynn spent the ENTIRE day in her own little dollhouse world. When she wasn't playing with it, she was talking about it. Or asking if she could. (As if she needed to...) She is still so small that she needs to use a chair to reach the topmost rooms. Though, that only adds to the intrigue.

The first thing she did this morning was run to the doll's house. Before HER nap, she laid each of the dollpeople into their beds (or floors, or couches...) so that they too could nap. When she awoke, she flew down the stairs to wake them up. Hence her disheveled hair....

Do not be misled. I have discovered a certain little BOY who is entralled with the thing too. He especially enjoys finding the many dogs and rearranging them.

We are DEFINATELY going to have to anchor it to the wall. I have already pried some climbing limbs from the different floors! :-)
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A Blessed Day

Yesterday was a beautiful day, from the moment I woke to the moment my head was reunited with the pillow. It was such a joy to be at home for Christmas. I have never had a more wonderful Christmas and I am sure it is because we were home, together, and were able to slowly absorb the love and excitement of the day in our own sweet, slow time.

Matt worked on Christmas, cows don't take holiday. I woke up along with him and worked on the last few details of the dollhouse while the children slept.

I read, lit candles, turned on music and then woke the children up. We opened our stockings and the rest of the morning was spent in enjoyment of those things.

Later, Papa came home and we all crowded around him while he opened HIS stocking.

In the late afternoon, we crowded around the tree once more to give our gifts. The singleton gifts we gave the children were coupled with a few that Gram sent along our way-and one for each of us that Corynn had bought for us with Grandma. There were but a few-but that is how we like it.

It works well for us because we open our gifts one at a time. We thank the giver right away and we bask in each other's joy. It is much more fun for the giver AND receiver to have one gift spotlighted at a time.

Afterwards, we feasted. Wine, candlelight, ham, pie. Prayer. Meditation. Adoration. The Love of my family. The Love of our Father.

What a blessed day!

I hope yours was just as lovely!!
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Treasures, theirs and mine

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The Distracting Fluffs

Poking out from the top of Andrew's stocking was a bag of Christmas marshmellows. That stopped him in his tracks and didn't take even another glance at that stocking until about 20 minutes later when I forced him too.

Notice Corynn~didn't seem to stop her in her tracks! :-)

"What? Aren't I supposed to eat them?!?"

"Sharing will buy me a bit more time..."
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Papa's home!

I didn't take any photos of our gift exchange except this little loner. Since all of our gifts combined were only enough to count on one hand, it didn't last long...but mainly I was just really enjoying the things my children were saying, the expressions they made, and being IN the moment. Not outside the moment behind my camera!

I realize now, I didn't even get any pictures of Corynn seeing her dollhouse! Gasp! Though-pictures wouldn't have done it justice. She was pleased as punch. She gave us each huge hugs and thanked us for our hardwork before she even began playing with it and continued to randomly hug and thank us throughout the night. It was especially cute when we were cleaning the kitchen that she came in and said "Thank you Papa and Mama for making me that beautiful dollhouse." just out of the blue.

When she opened the doors, her eyes got huge and she just stood there shocked. She kept whispering to herself things like "The forks are so small!" "There is so much!" "It's all so amazing!" She took her time exploring it and seeing all the things that were in it, occasionally having realizations like "I remember seeing that play food!" or "This is the wood that I laid in!" and then, meekly asked if she could play with it. Almost like she thought it was too good to touch or something.

REALLY sweet. Those precious moments made it all worthwhile.

Sometime this week I will show you the dollhouse in *almost* completed form. (I think I might paint it...) And maybe a shot or two of her playing with it! ;-)
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The Feast

Feast Days are Happy Days...and delicious too.

As you can see, a certain Panda is getting a bit impatient.

Corynn thoroughly enjoys the special feast days that I bring out our very special monogrammed glasses and she can drink from them like a grownup.

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!
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