living handmade


Barbie house rehab!

barbie house-8barbie house-7 We have a beautiful wooden Barbie house, but they kids never played with it. The house had painted furnitures on the wall and my kids didn’t like that. They said they wished it had wall paper like in real rooms instead. We decided to do a mega clean up of the house we had instead of giving it away. First, we through away half of the dolls. Plus a lot of the half-broken plastic furnitures that came with it. All the small things that comes with a Barbie house; clothes, bags, food, glasses, make-up etc, was thrown into a big box next to the house where they had been long-gone forgotten. My philosophy when it comes to toys is: the less they have, the more they play with it! Therefore, they got to keep 6 of their favourite Barbie dolls, two boys and two girls, plus 2 small Barbie kids. The box went away. Anything they wanted had to fit into the house, if it didn’t we threw it away. I took down my old dollhouse furnitures and small things from the attic instead (I made lots of miniature things in my late teens) and we got to work on our new house. We found some pretty printed Japanese rice paper in DIY shop which we mod-podged to the walls. We added drawer lining to the floors, apart from the bathroom, which we painted. We also painted the outside walls in plain white. The plants are painted and cut masking tape glued to metal wire, put into a flower pot made of clay before drying. The closet of the balcony is made from a BBQ stick, attached to the ceiling with looped screws. The hangers are metal paper clips that we re-shaped. The shoes and bags are stored in a storage furniture for my old dollhouse. The result is an original and pretty Barbie house that they finally play with a lot. It feels like a real house now! barbie housebarbie house-2 barbie house-3 barbie house-4 barbie house-5 barbie house-6   barbie house-9

Leave a comment

Lovely vintage toys…

cowboys-2 cowboys-3 cowboys

Look at these plastic fantastic old figurines! I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older or if I’m just a very nostalgic woman, but seriously: wasn’t toys back then so much prettier and better made than nowadays? The simpler, the better in my taste. And since plastic will inevitably stay around for long until after we are gone, we might as well stop supporting new production  of plastic crap that are meant to break anyway, and spend way less money on cute vintage toys like these 😉 Be the change!

Leave a comment

DIY- Cardboard marionette theatre

It’s Kerstmasvakantie and we’re making things as usual. This week we’ve been working on a Puppet Theatre, Marionette style! The idea is to hang the actors in threads from the top of the theatre, where we’ve left a hole (knowing my daughter right now, I’m guessing princesses, dragons and horses… ). As we live in Brussels, I wanted to make something in Art Nouveau style, so the theatre will be painted in yellow, blue and pink pastels, with a heavy curtain in deep red, hanging on a pole, just under the roof. 

How to do it: 

As you can see, we used a pretty big cardboard box, sort of moving box size, taped the edges and folds together, glued them down with a glue gun, left a hole up in the “roof” (for the actors) and drew out the details in pencil. When we were happy, I cut it out!

I cut the stage opening pretty deep, close to the floor (or the table, where it will most likely be played), but I saved 2 cm to be able to lay down a sturdy wood plate, which we will paint in black to make the theatre real. I saved the curtain cut out for fake stage trees. We will glue them to the wall and the actors can change behind them and wait for their turn.

At the back I will add an opening where we can hang paintings of several scenarios, a castle, a forest, a lake, a room… The puppet master can then change between scenarios. Right now we’re entering a magic forest…

Tous en scène!