I think that I may have finally recovered from the Holiday Hoopla. I have nowhere to to be this weekend, and I’m really, really looking forward to it. I had good intentions of sharing some Handmade Holiday posts with you here, but as you know, it didn’t happen. The season got a little busier than I had planned, as it always does. The good news is that I did actually manage to make a few handmade gifts. My favorite project was the doll beds I made for the girls:
I downloaded the plans here, from Ana White, and many, MANY thanks to her for making this project so much less intimidating than it could have been! This project could have easily been completed over one weekend, but since these were Christmas gifts, I had to use the time after the girls went to bed to work on them. Unfortunately, I don’t have step-by-step photos for you. Between trying to keep warm in an unheated garage, and looking over my shoulder every few minutes because I was convinced some wild creature was going to appear (in silhouette form…like in the movies) in the garage door windows, photos weren’t top priority. I’ll try to walk you through it as best as I can.
1. Download the plans. There’s a convenient shopping list as well as a cut list.
2. Borrow a truck if you don’t have one and get to your local lumber yard. Whatever you do, DO NOT take your cut list into a big box home improvement store and ask an associate if they can help you out. They will look at your list, their eyes will get big, and they will sigh a sigh that says, “Good God lady! I don’t get paid to HELP people, I’m just supposed to ASK!” This associate will then proceed to impress you with his lack of tape measure reading skills. You will then have to take all of your pieces home and hope your handy brother or father can make sense of the mess.
3. Ask your brother if he has a couple hours free to come over and help you put some doll beds together. He will think that you mean “doll beds that come in a box and require an alan wrench” and not “a trunk full of butchered lumber that requires actual tools”. Since your brother is a skilled carpenter, he will be nice enough to bring some tools to your house to put doll beds together in secret, while his nieces are terrorizing his lovely wife and children at his house.
4. You’ll quickly have to get over your fear of power tools when your brother hands you an air nailer. A little history: My father had an accident with a miter saw when we were kids. He (also a skilled carpenter) was helping his brother put a deck on his house and cut off the tips of two of his fingers. Don’t worry – the docs were able to sew them back on, and you would never know there was anything different about his hand today unless you looked closely. My brother doesn’t remember the accident, but I remember vividly that I was on my bike at the end of my uncle’s driveway when I heard the saw stop and my Dad yell. When I looked back toward the garage, he was holding one hand up in the air and there was a rag soaked with blood at the top of it. I know – not really that traumatic in the grand scheme of things, but it was enough to make me a little shy about using devices with blades that could easily dismember you.
5. After you have assembled all three beds, grab a piece of scrap 1973 paneling from the barn and cut it to fit the bottom of your beds.
6. Make the blankets and mattresses:
The girls all got a quilt, crocheted blanket and pillow with their beds. You can’t see the mattress here, but it’s just a crudely sewn pillow, made to fit the bottom of the bed. Most of the bedding was made on a Saturday while the girls stayed with my parents for the day. I am convinced that it was a Christmas miracle that made my sewing machine behave for those few hours. The crocheted blankets were done an hour or so at a time, on weeknights while watching terrible primetime TV.
7. Squirrel everything away until Christmas Eve, when you can make all of the beds and stand back and say, “I MADE that!” Then, give yourself a high-five because your guy won’t high-five you, as he thinks you have lost your mind due to sleep deprivation.
I was so pumped about finishing this project, that I made immediate plans to make more things using power tools. Wheeee!