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Everyone is entitled to their follies! 
Jun. 2, 2011 7:14 am 
Updated: Sep. 5, 2013 1:22 pm
This past winter I was browsing in a junk shop on a slushy, gray day, and came across a large dilapidated doll house stuck in the back room. Something about it attracted me. I never had a doll house when I was a child, and I played with all sorts of dolls a lot then. My parents were not ones to buy a lot of toys for us; Christmas and birthdays only were time for recieving toys (cue violins). I lived vicariously through my best friend, who always had the newest and best toys: Easy Bake Oven, Betsy Wetsy, a real Barbie, a high-quality hula hoop, and she never lost the key to her skates.

But to get back to the doll house, as I was looking at it, these thoughts were going through my head: Oh, I like this...too bad it's just sitting here wasting away...the girls would love it...maybe I could fix it up?...no, you know how you are, you'd never finish it...yes, I would!...no, you wouldn't!...it's $30...that's not too bad for a doll house this big...yeah, but you could buy groceries or socks with that $30...oh, stop being such a stick-in-the-mud, buy it!...well, I don't think so...walk away...

So I did walk away, but that doll house kept coming back into my thoughts as the next few weeks went by. It would just pop into my head, and I would think about that poor doll house sitting all by itself in the back room, alongside the old magazines, rusty food tins, cracked pitchers, candlesticks with old wax on them and bookends with no partners. Poor house. It needed some little hands rearranging furniture and moving people around in it. It needed to sit in a room on a rainy or cold day and have the company of children.

The next Saturday, my husband asked me what I wanted to do that day. I blurted out: I want to go buy an old doll house that I saw a few weeks ago and fix it up. I thought he would laugh, but he didn't.  He smiled and said: Well, go get it!  I said: But, it's $30, and I might buy it and never follow through, and it will just sit there cluttering the basement. He said: Oh, go get it. So what if that's all that happens. Everyone is entitled to their follies.

So he went with me to help get it in the car, and the faded doll house that had seen better days came home to live with me.

The next few months I spent the occasional hour or two every few days down in the basement listening to the radio and working on the doll house.  I had no idea what I was doing, but I cleaned, ripped things out, painted, used joint compound, glued and decorated it.  I discovered Hobby Lobby; a place that is a wonderland to crafty people.  And I found that there evidently is a whole subculture of doll house enthusiasts who spend a lot of money on their hobby.  The furniture for the doll house was going to cost me more than the actual house! So I got some on eBay and made some of it myself (the little beds).  Then I had to find people. I finally found some that suited me.  I wasn't thrilled with the way the grandma looked, but you can't have everything! 

Finally I was ready to unveil my handiwork to my two granddaughters.  What if they didn't like it and I spent all that time for nothing? Not to worry; I didn't even have to point it out to them, they spotted it and ran to play.

Well, this is the end of this blog. Please look at the photos of my endeavors. I hope by now you have figured that the moral of this is, go ahead and follow a whim now and then. Don't worry about wasting a little money or time, don't listen to the negative person in your brain discouraging you from trying something new. Go ahead and do it. Everyone is entitled to their follies!
Doll house front, before.
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Doll house interior, before.
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Doll house beds, unfinished. I made these using my American ingenuity.
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Doll house beds, finished. I used washable, non-toxic paint for these.
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Doll house people. I DO NOT look like that grandma! And neither does grandpa!
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Doll house front, after.
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Doll house interior, after.
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Happy play.
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Jun. 2, 2011 7:43 am
Great job - looks like it was well worth the hand wringing and anxiety pre-purchase.
Jun. 2, 2011 7:50 am
Your grandaughters will never forget you doing this. That's just great.
Jun. 2, 2011 8:00 am
awe that is beautiful, your grand daughters will love it. Train sets and doll houses can take on a life of their own. Doll houses were there in the preSimms days. Now people spend hours on the computer tending to virtual lives, farms, etc. I still love the hands on play
Jun. 2, 2011 8:18 am
I can see enjoying this project!!! Good for you!
Jun. 2, 2011 8:21 am
Thanks, Doug, Raedwulf, redneck gramma and Maggi, for coming to see my blog! You are so nice to do so. It means a lot to me that you took the time. :}
Jun. 2, 2011 9:03 am
Ahhhh, that is adorable! They will have so much fun!
Jun. 2, 2011 10:12 am
This is great! My SIL made a beautiful Victorian doll house and nobady was allowed to play with it. Kind of sad really.
Jun. 2, 2011 11:26 am
I love it! I would play with it and I'm 28 years old. Great job!
Jun. 2, 2011 12:09 pm
Thank you, Scotdog, Baking Nana and Juliann!
Jun. 2, 2011 12:54 pm
Great Job!!! My husband insisted on buying my daughter a doll house two years ago from Hobby Lobby. It is still in the box, not put together, under her bed. I think he has forgotten about it. Maybe he'll remember and put it together for her.
Jun. 2, 2011 1:15 pm
Nicole, I bet you could do it yourself. Just get the instructions out, if you can, and read them and see if you can manage it. I bet if you start, he will jump in and either take over or help you. I don't know how hard those kits are to put together, though, but you never know, it could be simpler than it looks.
Jun. 2, 2011 3:10 pm
Marcella, I don't comment on many blogs, but this one touched me. I have always had a fascination with doll houses and dreamt of building one (from a kit, I'm not too crafty). Something about miniatures for me...anyway..Your granddaughters are going to have many hours of fun with this and when they are grown it will be one of the stories they tell their daughters..."When we went to OUR Grandma's house..." Who knows, maybe you started a tradition for generations to come! I teach young preschoolers with special needs and whenever we pull out our dollhouse (plastic Fisher Price, I think) even they are fascinated by it and the furniture...there is just something about a dollhouse!! Great job on restoring it!!
Jun. 2, 2011 3:52 pm
Dottie..stop you're making me tear up, not only about my grandkids, but your little people you teach. I don't know if I could ever build one or put one together from a kit, and I think that's one reason why this one grabbed me, because it was already built and just needed some TLC. Best to you, and thank you for your comment!
Jun. 2, 2011 5:57 pm
Marcella, this reminded me of the one that I had when I was little. That was my favorite toy of all time. Difference was, mine was metal and had accessories painted to the walls. The furniture was movable but the other stuff wasn't. When my own girls were of an age for these fun things, I bought them the Barbie Dream house and they played with it, but lost interest in it after a bit. There is just something nostalgic, about the more simpler ones and not the ones that have a working elevator in them. Sweet blog and great job on your new career of furniture building :}
Jun. 2, 2011 6:27 pm
Doll houses aren't just a girl thing. There are many dads and grand dads that have spent countless hours designing, building or repairing them for their little girls. When you took on this project, you may not have been restoring an old toy. You may have re-awakened the loving spirit it housed in it's younger days.
Jun. 2, 2011 6:43 pm
Avon, thank you so much for sharing your memories! I agree about the simple play things. When the grandkids were very little babies, I didn't buy many toys for when they visited, I would just get out boxes and measuring cups and bowls. They like to put things in and out of containers. So, I know what you mean.
Jun. 2, 2011 6:46 pm
Oh, Mike, I really believe you about the dads & grandpas! I'm positive some sweet daddy or grandpa made this house for some little girl, and it was played with a lot. And maybe you're right about the spirit of it, because once I saw it, I couldn't get it out of my mind, and now it is safe and happy at my house to again have soft little hands, playing and keeping it company.
Jun. 3, 2011 12:25 am
Marcella: Nice work! Isn't it rewarding to see how much your granddaughters enjoy the dollhouse? Are you planning your next folly yet?
Jun. 3, 2011 4:00 am
bikerfamily, yes, my next folly is trying to play an autoharp. I bought a used one on eBay a few days ago, and it's in the mail. Okay, stop laughing now. :+}
Jun. 3, 2011 7:24 am
Marcella, How fun. My mama is a doll house enthusiast aka "NUT". She has worked on them for years and has an entire room of doll houses of every design to miniature vignettes from tatami rooms to tree houses. She has every scale from one inch to mm. We all give her a bad time about spending our inheritance on tiny furniture that no one can sit on.LOL The fun thing is the tours she gives to friends and acquaintances. They are in awe of this tiny kingdom. She has some doll houses that can be played with for kids & she has made one for each great grandchild and I know most of them will treasure them. She leaves the prices on the bottom of many of her expensive pieces. I made the mistake of picking up a 1/2 inch scale "wood cooking stove" to find a $300. price tag on it. I will never let her live it down LOL Enjoy!
Jun. 3, 2011 7:27 am
Oops that was me above....that Chef Luigi keeps popping into my business. Love ya chef, but time for you to be somewhere in Texas.
Jun. 3, 2011 7:54 am
oh, how i love this!! This is a fantastic story. Hope your grandbabies have many hours of enjoyment. They will always remember the doll house!!
Jun. 3, 2011 11:23 am
Thank you, mimidiva and mauigirl! I have seen photos of those type of miniature rooms on the internet, but never in person, mauigirl, and they are unbelieveable!
Jun. 3, 2011 3:12 pm
What fun! I had a doll house when I was a little girl (100 years ago or so). But mine was made of tin or metal or something. Oh, how I played w/ it! When our daughter was 4, her grandpa built her a doll house. Grandma made the curtains, they carpeted some rooms, etc. She played with it for many years. I LOVE toys that encourage such great imagination. I hope people NEVER stop finding or building doll houses.....
Jun. 4, 2011 4:59 am
Marcella ~ what a wonderful restoration you accomplished ~ I can't believe you managed to contain your excitement all these months! When our oldest daughter was about 6 she was gifted a beautiful wooden doll house by her bio mother and hubby and I spent hours building all the furniture and painting it in time for Christmas morning. We built it all out of popsicle sticks which turned out to be the perfect scale for the house and we had lots of fun doing it! This will indeed be a memory your grandaughters will have forever and you as well:)
Jun. 4, 2011 9:24 am
That is very nifty! I think its also very neat that your 'folly' will bring so much joy to your grandkids as well!
Jun. 4, 2011 10:19 am
That's quite a folly, Marcella! You didn't just re-build a doll house; you built memories for you and your grandaughters. Good luck with the autoharp.
Jun. 4, 2011 12:54 pm
What memories your doll house brings back for me. My doll house was made of composition wood as metal was scarce during the war. When it was passed on to little cousins(cause they had less than we did), I was able to keep the furniture and dolls. I played by the hour at the windowsill in my bedroom, using it as my "house". I have often thought I would like to buy one of those fancy kits from Hobby Lobby, but like others, it would probably never get finished. Bless your hubby for encouraging you to go ahead and indulge your folly. And Lucky Granddaughters who get to play with it!
Jun. 4, 2011 5:30 pm
Thank you so much for reading my blog, chris, carrie, petey, PointerSister and scooter2. I loved reading what you had to say about it.
Jun. 5, 2011 12:28 am
Oh wow, what an awesome effort! I am sure your granddaughters will treasure this for many years to come.
Jun. 5, 2011 4:04 am
What a neat idea! I used to love my doll house! Mine was made of a cardboard box, and decorated with fabric scraps. I made the picture frames by lashing twigs together. I had many hours of fun making my house just the way I wanted it! Your blog brings back memories!
Jun. 5, 2011 5:42 am
Thank you, sueb and Chicken. And Chicken, I had to look at your photos to see if there were more of the baby. Adorable! What a precious little sweetie.
Jun. 5, 2011 6:16 am
Such an awesome job. Will you be my Grandma?
Jun. 5, 2011 7:36 am
Anissa, I would love to be your grandma, LOL!
Jun. 5, 2011 7:55 pm
How wonderful!!! I hope more grandma's do this. Keep the tradition going and pass it down to future grandkids, they're sure to love it.
Jun. 6, 2011 4:29 am
What a wonderful folly! My dad made a beautiful house for the grandkids and they loved it. He also put a metal one together foa me as a kid - I loved it! Yes something pulls us into these mini worlds - and DH would have told me to buy it too. Have fun with the harp - let us know how your next folly goes!
Jun. 6, 2011 5:16 am
Thank you for looking at my blog, Lucky Noodles. Sounds like you have quite a bit of experience with doll houses and they're all happy ones. I haven't gotten the harp yet, so I don't know if that "folly" will go so well as this one, but I'll try!
Jun. 6, 2011 8:16 am
Great Job!!!! The girls look sooo happy! Way to go Grandma!
Jun. 6, 2011 10:19 am
The best $30 ever! Beautiful job! And those lil ones will always remember this doll house! You are making fond memories of Grandma's house! Very sweet blog...
Jun. 7, 2011 4:12 am
Thank you, for looking and dropping a note, Terry. And Cindy, I'm glad you visited, and thanks for the nice words.
Jun. 7, 2011 4:10 pm
This is wonderful! The doll house looks amazing. Thanks for sharing!
Jun. 7, 2011 4:11 pm
Fantastic blog! I loved my doll house as a kid- so did my cat, she would either spend hours ringing the little doorbell, or squeeze her way inside for a nap lol! I have one in my basement that I bought for my daughter one Christmas- I spent all Christmas Eve putting the finishing touches on it and she was thrilled! She is 14 now, much too old for it. BF can't understand why I won't part with it, but without fail, when I see it sitting there, I smile at the wonderful memories :)
Jun. 7, 2011 4:50 pm
Thank you, so much, Pam, for your nice compliment and for taking the time to look at my blog! I know your time is precious with 3 boys.
Jun. 7, 2011 4:51 pm
Puck, oh, my gosh, I can only imagine a cat with this doll house, LOL! I don't have one anymore, but I can just picture a cat cozying up in any doll house, not just this one! Thanks for sharing that story and the memories of your Christmas Eve doll house!
Jun. 7, 2011 5:49 pm
Aww....beautiful! Makes me wonder what happened to the dollhouse of my childhood....belonged to my older sister really....she passed away last summer.. guess I'll never know where it ended up! Enjoy!
Jun. 7, 2011 9:47 pm
Thank you, annsmom, for stopping by and adding to the memories the doll house seems to bring back.
J. Dub 
Jun. 8, 2011 9:35 am
What a loving grandmother you are! Your granddaughters will always remember playing with that doll house. Make sure to tell them when they're older how you loving cared for it and how they brought it back to life.
Jun. 8, 2011 10:38 am
J. Dub, that is such a nice thought. I will make sure to tell them that. Thank you.
Jun. 8, 2011 2:31 pm
Thank you for doing this for your granddaughters! There is something wonderful about the miniature life in a doll house! When I was 7, my dad made my sister and me a house for our Barbie dolls. It was simple--a kitchen/living room and 2 bedrooms--but we loved it! Somewhere he obtained scraps of carpet and linoleum for the floors. I believe the dollhouse is now in a storage closet; but I can't wait until my neice is old enough to play with it!
Jun. 8, 2011 3:18 pm
Anne, what a wonderful experience with your sister and dad. Thanks for your comment, and I bet your neice will love the doll house.
Jun. 9, 2011 1:40 pm
How fun! I always wanted a dollhouse when I was a kid, but never did get one. Maybe I should start combing the back rooms of junk stores, too!
Jun. 9, 2011 3:03 pm
Hey, Keri, I might bump into you some day amidst the dust and rust! Thanks for coming to my blog.
Jun. 9, 2011 4:14 pm
It's a good thing this is your folly; mine is my little sugar gliders. I just rescued another from a home that didn't know a thing about them. And so the collection of small, furry creatures grows...
Jun. 9, 2011 4:30 pm
Oh, my gosh, I had to look them up, and they are adorable. At first I thought they were little stuffed animals! Bless our heart for taking in the sweet little things.
Jul. 9, 2012 6:27 pm
Marcella, I loved your picture that was placed for the hot pepper jelly recipe on allscripts. Your product looks a lot different from the other jelly photos. What did you do differently for the jelly to turn out such a pretty color. Please let me know. Thanks, Michelle
Aug. 11, 2012 2:29 am
Marcella, what a lovely true story. I have loved doll houses all my life. I too had the long metal one, and I loved it. I always wanted a realistic one. I want your onion flatbread biscuit recipe. I am a "bread" person and they looked so good. Thanks for sharing with us. guyanne
Sep. 5, 2013 1:22 pm
Marcella, Thank you very much for getting back with me on the apple peeler. I am baking an apple pie for my dad and his buddies tonight, wish I had it now. Tina
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About Me
I retired as a court reporter from a common pleas court. I have 4 grown children and 4 grandchildren. I love being retired! I enjoy being a homemaker now, cooking good meals and baking bread! And of course I love being able to be with my grandchildren much more than when I was working. Ohio is a beautiful state with 4 seasons, and I enjoy each one.
My favorite things to cook
Bread, Italian dishes, fruit and savory pies.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I had to teach myself to cook, my mother never wanted any of us kids in the kitchen, and I really can't think of any cooking traditions.
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Bread, salisbury steak, lasagna, stuffed peppers and spaghetti & meatballs are my favorite dishes to make.
My cooking tragedies
I struggle with every meatloaf I make. Rarely do I make a good meatloaf. Don't know why.
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