Wednesday

When I was small, my own mother spent what must have been months - possibly even the entire year - making a miniature horse farm for my Christmas present. From Scratch. She bought the shingles, the slate, the tiny hinges, she cut the wood and designed the professional-standard show horse barn from the ground up. No pattern, no pre-cut forms, nothing. She built, hinged and stained the split-rail fences. She painted the model horses to make them unique - roans and appaloosas and paints. She mullioned the windows. It was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen.

This was, of course, a few years after my father had made me a three-story dollhouse out of the hollowed-out trunk of a massive fallen tree. From scratch. With his bare hands. You could see the marks of his expert chisel on the smoothly rounded walls. The bark was left on the outside of the tree, with windows cut into it. My mother, in turn, upholstered tiny canopy beds and sewed curtains for the windows. They built furniture and little wooden ladders to get from one floor to the next.

So you see, there was a high standard set in my family when it comes to creativity. I'd venture to say they set the bar even a bit too high for my blood. Where on earth, just for instance, did they POSSIBLY FIND THE TIME??????????

I ask you. I beg of you. In any case, when it came to our first major Christmas with our daughter (she was home last Christmas, but not old enough to be interested in presents of any complexity...it was more about the crinkly paper), I didn't have a chance. I really didn't. I'd just opened a home business, a didn't have daycare, there would be no barn-building for me before this particular holiday.

My compromise? A bunny house. The Q is particularly obsessed with bunnies this year. So, take one abandoned and dilapidated dollhouse (found by my sister-in-law on a curb, awaiting the garbage truck), a couple bags of dried mosses, some tiny train-set decorations, a few scraps of vintage paper, and a length of burlap, and a bottle of wood glue....
...and, ta-da! One bunny house. I finished it one late night while watching The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (so if it has an air of bleakness to it, you can guess why).
And Q spent hours playing with it the following morning. To my surprise, she did not immediately destroy it (nor has she since).
It's no miniature horse farm, but...for year one, I guess it will have to do!

21 comments:

Mlle Paradis said...

What a happy project (despite your movie watching!) and obviously associated with wonderful memories. Of course she will not be inclined to destroy it! Have a good visit at the Doc's, a safe journey to NY and a WONDERFUL stay there.

caramelcaramelo said...

amazing! i hope it went well at the clinic. kenza.

liza said...

You're the best! Lucky girl she is. I hope NY is everything you'd like it to be. Have fun.

sakurasnow said...

It's beautiful! And I particularly love that last shot of the three bunnies on their front porch ^-^
Hope all goes well at the clinic today and have a wonderful time in NY!

JMay said...

This is so cute and so beautiful :-)

Lucky lil one!

Jeanne-ming said...

They didnt "find" the time. They stole it from doing other things. You were a very loved girl. the house is adorable and little Q's imagination will run wild.

Fei An said...

Why I am so touched every time I see you do so much for Q? I am thinking other girls in China...

Fei An said...

Why I am so touched every time I saw you do so much for Q?
I am thinking other girls in China...

Yoli said...

It looks beautiful. So effortless. I had stepped away from the computer and did not realize I still had your blog up. When I sat down again, I thought, what is this little house about? Then I saw Q and went back to read the story. I wish I could see the houses your parents built, they sound not only beautiful but such a work of love.

Happy Travels!

MODsquad said...

Oh! So sweet! How could she not love it!

Yanyan said...

I discovered your blog from Izakoo and Fei An's blogs. And I am also from Jiangsu where your daughter is born. She is beautiful and lucky to have parents as you. All the best for the new year! Sending a lot of warmth from Southern California!. Yanyan

nath said...

it's beautiful, and it will have such a special meaning to her as time goes...

Guusje said...

Amazing! The house looks so American to me, I Love It!
You talented girl!

Merisi said...

Love the bunny house! :-)

What your parents did sounds amazing. They must have had a lot of fun building those precious homes, but you should not take it as a benchmark to build upon. I am sure your parents would not have wanted you to feel any pressure.

anna said...

I want to play with it myself :)!

gemini said...

very lucky girl to be loved. visiting here.

Shaista said...

Maiacita!!! Happy New Year!!
Sometimes a few or more days pass and I don't read your blog, because I know that when I do catch up I get an extraordinary film reel of your life, and the belle joyeux spirit of the Larkin household.
I loved the pictures of your grandmother - so evocative - and Q owning the space in the museum, her delight at the raindrops wall - good luck with making that :)
My favourite pictures are of you jumping with excitement in the New Year post!! xx

likeschocolate said...

One many trash is anothers treasure! What a fantastic find!

sixorangecarrots said...

This is beautiful! Just beautiful!! What a lucky Q she is to receive something you built yourself...

Horseartist said...

I remember that house and the barn and more... Q will make her own memories wit her house.

I made one for my daughter many years ago. It's in the attic somewhere. Maybe her child will play with it someday.

:)

Le blÖg d'Ötli said...

How lucky you are !!! and... lucky little girl too !!!!

Wonderful houseS... specially the bunny house !