“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


the dollhouse project

a piece of a part of a long ago painting, covered up, painted over.  i have sketches like this everywhere, all these leaning houses,with open doors, houses that look like arrows pointing to the sky, and i seldom do anything about them, home home home so much an everybody theme that i feel a bit thief-like using it, and so i use that as an excuse and do nothing with them, or if i do, i gesso over them later and push them to the back of my worktable.

home.  such a trigger.  such a hard thing, when you no tengo home, or when the rules to the one you have are suddenly changed and it is no longer home, it is just a place you go to when you're sleepy, and you even try to figure out how to avoid that because it is just not home.  you stop caring if the floors need mopped or the windows need washed; even if you are still there, you understand it is not yours, no matter the number of years shared, no matter the love still within the walls you have painted with happiness or as a soothing to grief, and my god, how sad a place it was when you moved in, and how contented you made it feel for a good long while. now you watch indifference move in because it isn't yours - you'd forgotten that, but it isn't, and that's neither here nor there, it's just the truth and such is life - and you set out to find another place and despite obstacles of money and time, you believe, you really do, deep down in your bones and your soul, that there is a place out there with your name on it, just waiting, and you know you will find it and you know you will bid this place goodbye and make yourself your own home.

all that to tell you about this. 

graciel and i have a connection.  we will accidentally blog about the same subject on the same days, or have the same ideas at the same time, and so, when she mentioned to me that she was going to work on an old dollhouse she had, i was not in the least surprised.  i'd told the ever-wonderful michael just weeks earlier that i was considering building a dollhouse.  nothing fancy, just using foam core, but i told him i thought it would help me with my this-is-not-my-house heartbreak, thought it would help if i put the desire and thoughts and wants out there into the universe.  also, i thought it would be fun, and i thought the fun part would help with my perfectionism ism, would help me stop gessoing over so much; i thought it would help me move back into a place of play.  turns out those were exactly graciel's reasons.  and so, she said, let's do this thing.  and let's invite kelly, who more and more has this connection thing with us also; she answers questions i have before i ever type them.  and so we did, and so it is the three of us, little houses all in a row.  eventually.  the dollhouse project.  there are no rules, we are all approaching this differently.  i think mine will take all year - a room for each month.  kelly's will be virtual.  graciel is already full steam ahead into hers.  no schedule - no rules.  the rooms will represent different things for each of us, and we will see where these houses take us.

i have no picture to show you - january's room is not yet here.
it will be a few more days - i have things to do
and miles to go before i begin. 
a journey before the journey.


and last, a note from graciel:  
. . . . the lovely katie of into the woode wants to play along.
could there be more grown women
who need this kind of creative, perfection-crushing  therapy?
could it be YOU?
would you like to come play with us
and chart your progress online?
do i here a giggle and a "yes'?

 . . . stay tuned. perfection is walking the plank.



  1. I LOVE that y'all are doing this &, yes, I think it is the perfect antidote & magic talisman for your home heart shifting...
    How perfect is this!!

  2. yay! yes, perfectionism is walking the plank, i told graciel yesterday that I wrote my inspiration studio post about that very thing before I read hers about her dollhouse, and that made me laugh.
    i think this could be wonderful, and fun and healing and homing.
    and i am still on my journey before the journey as well, it is all tumbling around in my head, filling up rooms, filling up who i am.

  3. i am dancing with glee on the rooftop of my tiny house. yay for play and dirt cheap therapy!!

    safe journeys, kindred souls.

  4. i would like to play along. i've just recently started blogging and not quite sure what to blog about, but the more i think about it, it is home, neighborhood. i am a homemaker. i'm a professional with several degrees, fought for women's right in the last feminist push, and the funny thing is, i really love homemaking. i like the way a rug looks on a wood floor, how blue looks on my walls, i make slipcovers, i paint walls and furniture and cabinets, i make beds, love to do laundry and clean my house - i love a clean house. so i think my dollhouse project will be my home. i've been detached for some time now; it's time to let my heart race at seeing a new shade of blue, a floral fabric … i need to find my creativity.

  5. OK, you have me giggling! Could I, would I? Been thinking, maybe! My mind is already flying. I like the idea of a room a month or maybe a house a month. I will soon let you know.

  6. what a wonderful project and beautiful post!

  7. What a fun and interesting project! I look forward to seeing it all play out.

    My grandfather built me a simple dollhouse when I was a child (it looks a lot like the one Graciel showed on her website). I've been thinking about that doll house a lot lately. It's tucked away in a dark closet. I've always thought someday I'd do it all up ... the house I never had.


  8. What a powerful idea! I wouldn't even know where to start ~ though I was surprised at how strongly I connected to 'creating a place for my Self that feels like home'.

    There's information there somewhere. Thank you for giving me something to reflect on today.

    I'm so looking forward to following this journey you're all taking together. I admire it a lot, actually.

  9. whenever you write..your words, your soul pours out on paper and my soul reads them and is nourished. i am so pleased to visit you each day.

  10. this is a powerful project .. love the dollhouse that will be shared .. home is such an intense part of a life.

  11. i love the project and i love the "no rules".....
    unfortunately no rules often leaves me and my perfectionism floundering and frustrated....

    maybe i need more insight for this project...or a starting point....maybe you can set me straight next week....and help me get of my everything has to be literal butt.....

    and since i failed miserably with reverb10....i can only hope i can take this somewhere.....

  12. Been thinking about this. I hate committing to more than I can do, but I really want to do this. 12 houses for 12 months - one each month, I can do it. I know I can! I think I will be Homes for all seasons.

  13. Oh my, my heart is cracking. I know exactly what that feels like. I wrote about this several months ago, how I feel so displaced. Missing Texas so badly, but no longer certain that I can tear myself away from the Pacific Northwest either. The only place that has ever been home to me is the house I grew up in in Austin, but Austin itself no longer feels quite like home when I visit. And I have never liked or felt at home in Spokane, although I have come to deeply love the surrounding countryside. So here I am thinking of the room I painted blue last summer with tears in my eyes, recognizing this sadness and heartbreak.

    I hesitate to commit to this. My health is so limiting, and frankly I have no idea what direction to go in. But I will keep it in mind and see if the world puts anything in my path. Because I need home so very, very badly.

  14. "...stay tuned. perfection is walking the plank."

    I'm at work, should be working, instead I'm reading your words with tears in my eyes, I'm so homeless and yearning for home even though I own a house. I can't/won't take on a doll house but if only that could "fix" the problem. Your writing is so exquisite. I love that last line and am going to quote it to myself every time I get overwhelmed by all my imperfections.

  15. I found you via an article in Somerset Life (I can't remember if I've commented here yet or not) and I find your writing and musings very evocative. Your feeling of a home that doesn't feel like one is striking something in me as I am feeling the same.

    I am in my homeland of NZ right now, but have been living in the UK for the past 3 years and will return there at the end of the NZ summer. London doesn't feel like home and, since being back here in NZ, this place feels familiar but I don't know if my home is here. Every new place that I travel in the world, it's like a part of me is silently asking each place the question "is this where my home is?" and I'm yet to find the answer.

    I find myself nodding and saying yes, yes, yes as I read your words. You have very eloquently captured the longing in me that I do not seem to be able to find the words to express.

    I don't know where the project will take you but I will be following along with interest. If you want someone else to participate, I would be interested.

  16. actually, reading more about your project (and being that I am not staying in one place right now) I will just follow your progress, without participating.

    I look forward to reading your updates about it


  17. Oh what a fantastical idea! I can't wait to see how this manifests for you! I have a friend that built a doll house last year and I love to peer into the windows and look at all the tiny details, wishing I could shrink to fit inside and live there for a little while.
    I look forward to watching this project unfold!


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