Easy Crafts With Children: A Room Of One’s Own.

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I’m just about to start what feels like the epic task of redecorating our bedroom and living room but, as a sort of warm-up, Freya and I decided to make her “big dolls” a place to call their own first.

Thanks to various charity shop visits she seems to have amassed a little collection of Barbie-sized dolls but her wooden house is too small for them to fit into so, inspired by the Small Stories Exhibition, currently on at Norwich Castle, we found a cardboard box (not as easy as you might think these days) and got our craft on.

Our living room is painted all one colour at the moment and I really fancied having a feature wall this time so I collected a few samples of wallpaper, which have been stuck up in various places while I tried them out.

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Not wanting to waste the ones that clearly were not going to work, we reused one for the carpet and one for the feature wall in the dolls’ room and Freya painted the other walls (and herself).

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While that was all drying we started on the furniture. Freya’s feet have grown yet again and she recently got a new pair of school shoes and some trainers so we used the boxes to make a bed (Freya felt it was a too hard for them to lay on so we padded it and the headboard with cottonwool before covering it) and a wardrobe plus a toilet roll and empty ribbon reel for a bedside table.

Add in some decoration in the form of stick on butterflies, hearts, ribbon and curtains and there you have it – a room I would be quite happy to sleep in (were I a bit smaller).

Sometimes we make things that Freya only plays with a few times but this box had been a hit – she even tries to get in it herself. I’m tempted to try and make a little box kitchen or living room to sit next door.

Before that though I need to make a start on our actual rooms. I have a feeling decorating full size rooms is not going to be as much fun.

Any tips for hanging wallpaper greatly appreciated. 

 

 

 

Things To Do In Norfolk – Small Stories Exhibition.

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One of my happiest memories starts with entering the living room early on Christmas Day, when I was about six or seven, to find a present so large it had to be wrapped in a sheet.

When I pulled it off, with much fanfare, I discovered my dad had converted a bookcase into a fully furnished dolls’ house to rival any Barbie Dreamhouse, which was the must have toy of that year.

While he had been busy constructing this secret project in his shed, my mum had also been hard at work making a shoebox full of tiny new cloths for my dolls.

Best. Christmas. Ever.

It still makes me smile to think about it – and I’m sure nostalgia was part of the reason I was so excited about visiting the Small Stories: At Home In A Dolls’ House exhibition at Norwich Castle.

In a fun twist, the tales behind 12 of the V&A Museum of Childhood’s most treasured dolls’ houses are told by their tiny inhabitants.

Using audio and light, the houses come to life as we “journey through 300 years of the history of the home and listen to takes of marriages and parties, politics and crime”.

The chance to peek inside these beautiful treasures, from a country mansion to a high-rise apartment (as we live in a flat, I loved this one), is such a treat – as is learning more about how dolls’ houses came to be. One visit won’t be enough for me.

There was even some unexpected kitchen envy.

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Aimed at all the family, there are chances to shrink to doll size, dress up, and experience daily life in the 1840s and 1960s in room recreations.

The finale is Dream House 2017, featuring “magical, miniature rooms” specially created by Norfolk architects, artists, makers, students, and school groups.

* The exhibition at Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery runs until June 25th. For more info about opening times and ticket prices please click here.