A Dozen Bitty 'Prons

comments: 41

Hallway_2Inspiration struck late for this round of Club Little House for me. That whole "gotta work on fall handbags" thing? Got pre-empted when I, panicstricken, remembered that I really needed to get my act together for the Club Little House deadline July 31, to be mailed tomorrow. Unfortunately, I hadn't a clue what I wanted to do. But all the little scraps from the passementerie packs and the quilt just looked so cute, I thought I might take a bit of inspiration from my own house again and do a sort of "back hallway" peg rack for the dollhouse. Remember this, the real-life Paulson household back hallway, the dilettante housewife's hallway? Yeah — it's about as phony as the dollhouse hallway, as you now know, if you've been reading this blog for a bit(ty).

Bittyaprons4 Then, here, a bitty 'pron with its own peg rack and tiny whiskbroom, just one of the twelve sets I made on Saturday. (I'll probably post the others after they've been received.) These are about an inch and a half long, trimmed in vintage bias tape with a small patch pocket for bitty clothespins. If you've been wondering about where all the crafts got to around here recently, I've been wondering that too; it was pure delight to take an entire day to stitch these by hand with teensy tiny stitches. It took hours and hours and hours. I didn't care a bit. Man was I happy. It was the second whole day I'd had to myself in weeks and I couldn't have been happier than to spend it stitchin' 'prons. Don't ask me why I keep saying 'prons. I can't stop. I had such a good day. I had been feeling lately like I'd lost a bit of my mojo. It was good to feel like me and a needle and thread can still get happy together. Phew.

Bittykitchen3 Here's my bitty kitchen vignette. Unfortunately, I have zip zero nada in the "house" part of the dollhouse department. Took the kit out of the box and nearly fell over with sheer dread at the idea of putting it together. Dude. Have you seen one of these kits? Seriously. Am I building a scale replica of the White House here? No. I just need four rooms. From the looks of all the parts and pieces that poured out of the box it was clear that I would be spending . . . a long time. Putting it together. I don't even really want to put it together. I just want it, ready for me to put my stuff in, I now realize. Why did the man at the dollhouse store not show me the brochure of the ones that were already put together? This separate brochure was included with the kit, stuffed at the bottom of the box after you've already taken out every bitty piece of the kit. I have never greeted a brochure with such regret in my life. Why did I not get the pre-assembled dollhouse? Why did I not open that box from the other end, and see the brochure before I took everything out of the box? Because there is no way in hell it's ever going to fit back in to get exchanged for one that's done already. Okay. Spazzing. Deep breath. Serenity now. Etc.

See, it's like this. I have about as much desire to put together the 'house as I do to, like, reupholster a chair or do alterations on a pair of your pants for you. That is to say, none. Zip zero nada. I never want to reupholster anything as long as I live. Yes, I like to sew, but only certain things. Yes, I like to make small things, but only certain small things. Like bitty 'prons and whiskbrooms, and only twelve. (Barely twelve.) Not a slipcover, not your pants, not the binding around my quilt. None of those. And I want to put together my dollhouse about as much as I want to clean my real house. And you know how much desire I have to do that. Zip. Zero. Nada. Oh. No. Ugh.

Let me just ask anyone who has done it before — let's just pretend for a minute that I am going to put this beasty together — should I actually paint and paper it before I assemble it? Or do I put it all together first? I'm getting conflicting reports. Bitty architects/interior designers, please weigh in here. I need you.


Oh how did I love reading this entry. The part about pants alterations...hilariously familiar. I can so relate to everything you said. Although I wouldn't mind doing the quilt binding for you. I have about half a quilt waiting for machine quilting now.. I wish I was doing binding. Too hot. 114 her today.
Good luck with your projects. LOVED this entry.

If you are a perfectionist then I advise painting and papering first, because trying to get the air bubbles out of something eentsy weensty with awkward corners will drive you utterly mental. I swear.

This does take forwards planning though, because if you don't focus, before you know it you've wallpapered the ceiling, and your walls are bare. Good luck!

I'd sell the kit on Craig's List and buy a house second hand but that is me and I like to also cut corners and skip the hard stuff. I bought a doll house at a huge rummage sale for $4.00. It's a Waldorf kind so it isn't really one to be painted and papered but it is cute with all of those rounded edges like there is a gnome or faerie peaking out. I guess you probably don't shop at Ikea. We head straight to the Damaged Items Room and try to buy our furniture there. The ding is worth it in comparison to putting it together.

oh, how i have missed your blog, my friend.

See, I kept expecting Andy to swoop in during the post and have already built the doll house. And detailed it. With custom, silkscreened wallpaper. Why hasn't that happened?

Really, though, I'd do all the painting (etc) first. I actually quite like fiddley building type things, and it would be worth it to draw out the process by making sure everything is perfect before you start splashing around the glue (or bitty nails or whatever).

I did offer to put it together, but some one was "too hot" to pick out colors for the walls.

Hee hee. I love Andy's comment! Alicia, the bitty 'pron is adorable. It makes my eyes hurt looking at all that tiny goodness.

Well it was a hundred and FOUR!

Hi Alicia! Long time listener, first time caller. First of all, I have to say I LOVE your blog. It's the perfect distraction during work or when I'm supposed to be getting projects done at home. I can't accurately tell you how inspiring you've been, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

So, after reading your dollhouse post, I knew the time had come for me to make my first comment. I made a dollhouse for my cousin about four years ago. My advice is this: Make this one count because you'll probably never want to make another one again.

It can be a maddening, tedious process, but it will be worth it in the end. I think it's a once in a lifetime type thing. You'll be happy you did it when you're done. Just don't get too frustrated by gluey windows and the like.

I would definitely recommend painting and papering first. I think papering a finished house would drive a person mad. And doing one room at a time will definitely help out in the staying sane department.

Oh, and my secret weapon: Blue painters tape. I used it to hold walls together, and the trim onto the outside until the glue set. It works miracles, let me tell you.

Good luck with the dollhouse. I'm looking forward to some lovely pictures!

Your bitty 'pron is adorable Alicia! I wish I could drop everything and start making itty bitty stuff right now. I did pull my dollhouse out of storage though so it may be in my near future ;)

jeanne-marie says: July 23, 2006 at 11:42 PM

All I can say is, my parents built a dollhouse for Carrie and I one Christmas. They joke that it was the closest time they ever came to a divorce. I think they are 98% kidding.

I love the bitty 'pron. Its really so cute and the club house members are going to love it. How you all dont double up on things I have no idea.

My MIL and I did a dollshouse up for my daughter for her 2nd b'day, just in June. It was a six room house that she found on a council clean-up. It was a little tricky painting and papering it all put together, But I couldnt imagine trying to co-ordinate rooms (important to me :) ) if they were not all side by side for me to look at. We did it pale pink and green (to match her room), so I did alternating pink and green rooms, like a checker board. But doing it with someone else, it didnt end up how I really would have liked it, so I will have to make changes over time. Not sure if Ive helped there. But maybe layout the rooms on your big table, at least do some painting and then get your boy to put it together when you are out one day. They really are good for those kinds of things. Love your work Andy!! :0)

I made my big three story victorian years ago for my daughters - I still haven't finished decorating it - I've been putting in hardwood floors for about 15 years now. I would say put it together first because until it's done, you won't know what you want to do. Also, it's really hard to tell the front and backside to the pieces until you start fitting them together and you may paint the wrong side.
Be careful with the glue, too, making sure you wipe it off carefully, because when it dries on the wood, it's hard to paint over it without it showing. It's really fun to decorate it once it's all done.

I forgot to tell you--I saw a dollhouse at the thrift store this weekend--half finished. I thought, "what a shame" but now, NOW I understand!
(your club little house stuff is great. I want real life sized one! complete with cute apron and wisk broom) see? a house does aim to be a dollhouse...

As an interior designer who got to make all sorts of small scale projects in school, I would say plan, plan, plan...set everything out on your table and put it in as close to the order that the finished house will be as you can. Do as much painting and wallpapering as you can.

Remember that movie, "What About Bob?" (Was that the name?) "Baby steps" I KNOW you want the project to be done so you can enjoy it, but if you break it down into smaller projects it will be so much easier.

I can already see your biggest problem, because it would be mine as well....as soon as you finish you will be ready to redecorate!!!

(Please take pity on me Alisha...all I could think of the whole time I was typing this was, "Is my grammer OK?")

Love the Club Little House 'pron and shelf and wee broom! I'm glad you posted about this because I just ordered some of those cutie tiny bakery items and told my husband we should get a little house for our daughter (OK, and me) and he could put it together. I can see now that maybe we ought to check out the completed ones first. He'd probably be excited about making it at first and then...it would never get finished. Let us know how yours in coming along!

Just an FYI, I am now coveting dollhouses because of you. And that's breaking a Commandment! :p I love your bitty 'prons and the other little china cabinet, too, and have googled til I can't google no mo' looking at houses and accessories. SMALL houses-4 rooms or less. Just something to play with.

My suggestion is to choose your colors 'un-hot-ily' and go give Andy a kiss or two and he'll put it together right quick. ;p

Oh Dear Alicia,

When you initially mentioned that you were getting a dollhouse, I hoped you were getting the pre-assembled one.

Years ago my mother bought one of those large Victorian-style homes and asked my father to assemble it for my older sister and her daughters. My dad was a builder and welcomed the challenge with excitement. He loved the idea that he was going to create something special to be passed on through generations.

After one month he was in a pickle, but then bought himself a Dremel tool. After that he somehow found his groove and that house became some type of therapy. He even made a player piano for it. I remember his main frustration being painting and wallpapering after it was built, and he cursing and wishing he had pre-painted and wallpapered beforehand.

It was a beautiful dollhouse and he was quite proud. Just a couple of years after he passed away my sister moved to Atlanta, and the movers destroyed most of the dollhouse. It was a sad day. It now sits in her garage displayed with all it's battered glory. She can't bear to get rid of it.

Watching him create such a beautiful thing I had begged for one myself. He was so burnt out by the time he finished that house he was uninterested in making another. My mother found a dollhouse maker and had a replica of our farmhouse built. It was so big, and by the time I received it I was more interested in my horses and learning how to drive. It was never decorated except for a few months with American Girl dollhouse furniture (a gift to daughters of a man I was dating at the time).

It's a silly question to ask because I know the answer... Do you have a Dremel tool?

Good luck!

PS. Our pool table was covered with building materials for several months. I hope you have a large space where your project can just live and you can work on it at your leisure.

Wow, I guess I will be the devil's advocate here. Attempt to take it back.

At least then, as you struggle through it, cursing each little piece, you will know for sure that this was the only option. I know the joy that you have with the creating (of certain things) and decorating of your little vignettes. Do not let the frustration of the kit take away any of that joy.

See if you can make some kind of deal with the company. Perhaps offer a trade, you will photograph your finished dollhouse and they can use the pictures in one of their brochures. I think that would be a sweet deal for them, knowing what you can do with miniatures.

But whatever you choose to do, I wish you luck and I will be eagerly waiting to see the house that you create.

F.Y.I. I am about to reupholster my loveseat and I am SO not looking forward to it.


Chris Howard says: July 24, 2006 at 07:35 AM

Okay, I LOVE the idea of a little back hallway vignette for a doll house. That is such a cute idea! I'm sure the club little house folks will go NUTS when they get theirs ;)

As far as assembling the doll house, do what I do when there is a project to be done that you just don't even want to think about. Give hubby some good lovin' and get him to do it for you!

Reading about your reaction as all the pieces spilled out of the box practically brought on a panic attack in me. You see, I spent 6 years with the pieces of Christmas Village - "a perfect set for beginners!" - no interiors, just lots of little pieces of siding, shingles and gingerbread that all had to be sanded and painted and then put together. I thought I could do it. After all, my job is one of the nit-pickiest going, but it drove me absolutely crazy. And I love making little things - some little things. Obviously not little houses. If you don't want to go my route - guiltily pick it up every now and then, throw it down in frustration and eventually give it away - then I'd look for a dollhouse contractor. I'd contact the shop you bought it from and ask if they have anyone who puts houses together for people. They must - the knitting shops have people who will finish your sweater if you can't stand to block and sew. The shop itself might even do it.
Now I have to stop thinking about Christmas Village before I start to hyperventilate.

Your bitty prons are so stinkin cute! I cannot and refuse to work in tiny, so I both admire you and understand why you dont want to put the big part of your tiny world together! Lovely work, miss alicia!

It seems redundant to tell you how awesome that is. Do you ever do anything "un-awesome"?

Oh and...caulking doesn't count. :D

those are just too darling. you're making me want a little house of my own.

Ok, I think you're going to need some itty bitty sub-contactors to take on this house. I reckon little hamsters would be up for it(Russian ones are inexpensive). You'll need to make them some little checked shirts, and jeans that don't pull up past their tails - ooh, and little safety helmets and wheelbarrows too. But hey, it'll be more fun than building the actual house. Ooooh, and little thermos flasks and a lunch-pack each too!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.