Saturday, October 10, 2009

Our Little House


Wren has adored the first four and we are saving the rest for Christmastime. Over the years I have stashed 1/4 scale dolls and accessories away in hopes of someday building a replica of the Little House home on the prairie. Finding things in this scale is quite difficult but I have found salesman's samples of household goods to work very well. Most are old, however I am always surprised to find that they arrive in good condition. Our plan is to gather all the items first- which may take years, and then build the house around the three rooms we complete. The original Little House had just a Keeping Room separated with a quilt for the parents sleeping area, a loft for the girls, and a lean to off the back of the house.

A lot of detail is given in the books about what the Ingalls had and did not have. Originally, I had planned to do a dollhouse a lot like that of Tasha Tudor's, but I feel now that there is a very valuable lesson to be learned from recreating the simplicity of a pioneer's life. It is a dual lesson in make-do along with a reality of how hard life was for people back then. Since we use wood stoves to heat our home, Wren is very familiar with the cast iron beauties, but learning that they also were responsible for heating all the Ingalls food and baking has been an eye opener for her.

The rope bed is not an unfamiliar concept as most of our beds have been on slats, one of them being a reproduction where the holes are visible where the ropes would have been. We used a sewing machine to make a burlap hemp tufted mattress, surely an extravagance in Laura and Mary's day as they would have most certainly slept on hay stuffed mattresses. A gingham sheet and handmade patchwork quilt provide the dolls with snug evenings. We have yet to find a sixteen inch Laura doll and hope to find one in blue. We will simply switch out the girls clothes to have Laura in red and Mary in blue, just like the books. These are the details that Wren picks up on. One of the neat things about our Mary is that she is wearing a simple bead necklace, just like the one the girls make for Carrie from the Indian beads they find with Pa when walking to the deserted Indian camp.

The girls have a pair of snowshoes and old wooden skis, both familiar concepts to Wren as we love winter sports. We sometimes snowshoe up the half mile to retrieve the mail at the road, and there are a lot of times that I would much rather shoe our way out than risk sliding off the road into the ravine or lake. Winter in the country can be a hair raising affair.
So our next book in the series is A Long Winter as we saved Farmer Boy for next summer. I think this will be a good story for the coming winter, as I do believe we are in for a long winter ourselves.

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