Living overseas has many upsides and some downsides. One of those downsides is the market for children’s toys. You can get cheap toys here, but they break really, really fast. They wouldn’t last 2 minutes in that toddler room from Toy Story 3, much less, our house. More and more, imported toys are readily available here. You can buy legos, barbies, fisher price… whatever your heart desires! But they come with a costly import price tag. And believe it or not, there are no garage sales. We did our birthday shopping while back in the US, but for Christmas I thought we might be able to pick up some good toys in Singapore. Even before checking into the hotel we went straight to IKEA. After eating 50 cent hot dogs for breakfast we hit the aisles and found these great doll furniture sets for Marie (3) and Evelyn (5). Since we've got a baby around the house, its nice that they are detailed without having a bunch of small pieces. And aren't those pillows the best??
Back in India, we started thinking about the idea of an entire dollhouse, but we certainly weren't going to spend upwards of $300, which is what they run here. We saw a lot of tutorials online about how to refurbish old bookshelves into dollhouses. Too bad we don’t have a garage, tools, or any amount of carpentry ability. Long story, short, one of the upsides of living in India, is you can hire someone to come to your home and build something exactly to your specifications for around $75. Even better, you can feel good about your purchase, knowing that the money is going straight into the hands of the carpenter, who is getting a fair price for his work! My friend Deb who heads Group Art Circle was kind enough to let us build and store the house at her place, so we could keep it for a Christmas surprise. And since she is also an amazing artist and crafter, she taught me about the importance of primer and helped me paint the whole thing.
I know there are so many details and accents that you can add to a dollhouse. I even saw tutorials on how to make little tiny boxes of cereal for the tiny little kitchen. I had to resist this obsessive urge because I knew that my kids are too young for that and just wouldn’t care. I stuck to fun colors and added wallpaper and flooring with card stock and modge podge for some variety. The IKEA furniture also came with some really cute accessories that you can color and add. I am thinking that could be a fun activity for the summer. At some point I’d also love to paint some windows and frames on the walls.
When we finally unveiled the dollhouse, I was expecting some amazing high-pitched girly shrieks of excitement. But they had unwrapped the furniture separately, so I don’t think they really knew what to think of this strange empty colorful shelf. I was a bit disappointed by their reaction. However, once we got the house staged, they loved it. Since it has provided hours of fun for my little "mommies."
Luke and I are married and have four little munchkins that travel the world with us. I blog about living overseas, travel, kids, education and graphic design.
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