This past Christmas, Princess A got a bit of a surprise! A retired neighbor of ours, who loves to build and create, made this great doll house for her. He had started as soon as it was no longer gardening weather/time, as that is his other big hobby. The kids love walking through his gardens and pathways and checking out the different plants growing and creature hiding around his yard. On a few walks by his house, we saw the house slowly forming and the initial work taking place, but it was a big surprise that he kept from ALL the kids. . .and as best he could from us, too!
Until a few weeks before Christmas, he invited "the adults" in the house over to check it all out! We were amazed! He and his wife explained how he made it all and where ideas came from. That in itself was amazing! And then we arranged a secret time to bring it, and all of its parts, over to our house to hide and save until Christmas.
Christmas finally came, and this is Princess A's gift from our kind neighbor!
He built and decorated the entire thing! He added little features, such as our house number to personalize it for her!
The part that we find amazing (an that Princess A probably doesn't understand yet) is that most of everything inside and outside is created and decorated by him. He made the front swing open like doors, with a little latch so that Princess A can hide away her toys from the wandering toddler in the house! Inside, each room is decorated with flooring, wallpaper. . .and even pictures on the walls. He made staircases, doors that swing open and a full-kitchen with fridges and stoves that open and close!
She was pretty surprise and happy on when she finally got to see it all!
Here is E and Princess A setting up some of the "extras" our kind neighbor created--things like tables, chairs, beds, bunk beds, a playpen, the works--most of it all handmade or hand-carved, and some of it purchased over time.
He made the "roof" to be a like a backyard, complete with a hot tub, a corner garden (see the animals and bugs on the trees?) and pond (with goldfish!) like Opa's and a birdbath, etc., like at his place. (The people/figures in the pictures are all of us in the family--he had one figure for each person in our family and a dog and a cat for some of the neighbor hood animals. Allyson also added her own toys--littlest pet shop figures, etc.)
Here is how A plays with it--we how have it on a kind of stand so that we can put tubs of toys for this house underneath.
A few close-ups--here is the dining area--all of the dining set is made by him, as well as the mantle.
Here is the kitchen--he once visited us to check out our renos, and made the kitchen to match ours--the laminate on the coutertops is the same! All the cabinets open as well!
Here is the bathroom. . .and in true fashion of the houses of the age of ours, the blue in the bathroom is quite common!
Here is one of the bedrooms. . .if you see in the background the photo. . .E and this neighbor first became "friends" because they would talk about the blue herons that would come and eat Opa's fish. He took a picture of the one that visited his house for E and gave it to E once day. That is the same photo hanging in this room. In the room below, is a picture of all the kids last winter. . .he took a picture from his house of all of us playing in the snow, then made it into a portrait for this little house!
Princess A has also added a few toys from Christmas, a few toys from Opa and Oma, and will often have her ponies playing in the house as well. Our neighbor and his wife told me that either me or Oma would have to be the ones to do the sewing of curtains and bed mattresses/quilts as that was out of their expertise! Well, I can take that, as this is quite the detailed project! Princess A LOVES it!
And every once in a while (A wishes he could touch it all the time. . .but his touching might become breaking, so he needs to stay away!), the boys will join in to play as well. . .
That is when the dinosaurs come to invade the backyard and the cars are in the playroom. . .