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Why I'm Not going to write Dollhouse tutorials (and links to all the best on the web)

For the past year and a bit Mud Pie and I have been working on the Epic Victoria's Farmhouse dollhouse. At the outset I thought, "Oooh, fun I can write up tutorials! Like how to run electricity, how to ..." I don't know, build a dollhouse.

And I could write those tutorials. Because we're building the dollhouse inch by inch and learning a heap. But I'm not going to write tutorials. Why? Well, take a look and see.

The already written tutorials (here!) on staining shingles and making faux wood floors.
Yes, that's egg carton!
Bricking the chimney: A tutorial on how to make the dollhouse chimney look like REAL BRICK with an old egg carton. Seriously, it's genius, simple and waaaaay easier than the floors. And clearly worked amazingly well. Find the tutorial here.

Electrical: The ins and outs of running tapewire (which autocorrect keeps changing to tapeworm. Um, not quite the same) in this tutorial here, which helped me see why my connections weren't working, and how to fix them!

General everythinging: The well-buried and hard-to-find "official" Victoria's Dollhouse assembly tips page! There are hundreds upon hundreds of photo-tutorials and tips for all the Real Good Toys dollhouses (tips transferrable to any dollhouse project). I mean, this page and the pages linked within are a treasure.

And when we finish the roof and glue on the porch, we'll stone up the foundation. Wouldn't you love to know how? Lookie here, someone has already written up a fabulous tutorial!

Plus my Pinterest where I will be pinning all the new, fabulous tutorials as I need them.

As of today, this is what our house looks like:

A Wreath of Hearts: Valentine's Day Picture Books to Love

The Shape of My HeartThe Shape of My Heart by Mark Sperring
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Here is a delightful and educational book about ... Valentine's Day shapes. I enjoyed the illustrations immensely and liked the educational content. This would be a household favorite, I think, though I found myself wishing for more actual story. I also was not crazy about the way the text was laid out on the page. Why not integrate it with the art more? I would not place this as a Valentine's Day book, regardless of the title. But as a concept book, it's fun with lots to look at and items and shapes to name. My trusty assistant* would consider this a favorite!

I Love You Already!I Love You Already! by Jory John
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The adult reader will for sure relate to the bear who just wants some friggin QUIET! Throughout the story the poor bear is beset by his best friend with questions and requests and just a whole lot of chatter. Like the bear, I found his best friend irritating. And given how irritating, I wasn't entirely convinced in the bear's avowal of affection at the end. The illustrations were light and happy, the story simple enough, if long. A cute, non-love-and-hearts Valentine's find!

Bear in LoveBear in Love by Daniel Pinkwater
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The sweet illustrations perfectly match an equally sweet story of a surprising friendship. A bear finds surprises (edible ones) and eventually starts leaving gifts of his own. Of course the adult in me was thinking, "No, don't it's a hunter's ploy! He wants you for a bearskin rug!" But it wasn't a hunter. Nope, rather a sweet little... HAH I won't spoil it. The repetition was engaging, but overall I thought it was perhaps a bit too repetitive. The back and forth went on perhaps too long without anything else happening. My preference: this maybe should have been a 10-16pg board book instead of a 32pg picture book. Of the new Valentine's Day books however, this is a winner.

Zombie in LoveZombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The adult me loves this book. Concept, illustrations spot on. The story of a zombie looking for love in all the seemingly right places is just what I'd expect. And the solution, zombie meets zombie, also expected. The twist on a popular pop song was less expected and highly funny (for me, the adult), but overall I found it a bit wordy and predictable. Slight, like an underfed zombie. So because I'm an adult, I'm giving it four stars for my own reading enjoyment. As a parent and for my inner child, I would give it three. For the simple reason that my four-year-old assistant would not let me read her this book. Too scary. And I think the dating theme was handled a bit too maturely for the audience. But the illustrations are boss. Can I say "boss"? Probably not. I'm probably too old. Sorry.

Plant a Kiss Board BookPlant a Kiss Board Book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I absolutely love the illustrations, and the voice of the story and the story itself. I did not, however, fully "get" the abstract concept. I know the author doesn't want it to be pedantic, and I appreciate that, but if I didn't really catch on, I wonder how well a child will? I wanted more direction/author intrusion. Very pretty book, however.

The Day It Rained HeartsThe Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sweet little heart-catching girl makes valentines for all her friends. What a delightful book! I love the happy illustrations, the craft-ability, and how well the illustrations and spare text work together. I was surprised to see who the valentines went to - perfect for a child's world. This is a classic. I can see why it's still a favorite after so many years.

The Very Fairy Princess Follows Her HeartThe Very Fairy Princess Follows Her Heart by Julie Andrews Edwards
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A story of a girl whose Valentine's Day is nearly ruined all because ... Ha, I almost did it again. I love the explosion of pink in the illustrations. And I love the subtle switch-up of the valentine's with Daddy's work papers. The text could have been a bit trimmer, but this is a fun, girl-friendly Valentine's Day book.

View all my reviews
*Four-year-old Little Miss Rowdy Britches

A Mama's 12 Days of Christmas!

On the twelfth day of Christmas my sweeties gave to me...

Twelve complains of schooling,
Eleven books of reading,
Ten "Noyoucannotusecomputerrightnow"s a saying,
Nine "hangupyourcoatplease" repeating,
Eight days of coughing,
Seven (zillion) errands running,
Six (ty) dollars fleeing (to Hobby Lobby this time),
Five hours of sleep!
Four pops to glug,
Three great hugs,
Two snuggle bugs,
And a carpet of needles beneath the tree!

I so lost energy for this project. Something about all those school complaints and busy days and pine needles ... Which, I have a feeling, will be there for a while. Happy Epiphany Eve! 

Mama's 12 Days of Christmas, Day 7

On the Seventh Day of Christmas...
Seven (thousand) errands running
Six squabbles settling 
Five pizzas gluten free!
Four singing siblings
Three cup cakes
Two root beer mugs
And one just-turned-12-year-old Birthday Boy!

Yes I've entirely given up rhyme and rhythm. I'm writing this while a ear-infected little love snores on my chest so my literary standards are a bit lax right now. Fish will get his real celebration when we're all healthy. He has requested bowling with friends. Um. Fun. 

A Mama's Sixth Day of Christmas

On the sixth day of Christmas my household gave to me...
Six (ty) dollars fleeing (to the med center)
Five gallons of mucus!
Three dead mice (thank you, Oreo)
Two lost dice (again, thanks Oreo)
And a game of Catan with some yummy hot tea!

I have given up any attempt to read, write or count because my sinuses are full of concrete. As are Awesome Sauce's ears. Or one anyway. "Two prescriptions for antibiotics" didn't have the same ring as two lost dice, but it certainly applies. As would "six chickens clucking" since chicken #7 mysteriously disappeared. Merry Christmas Mr. Fox. I hope you enjoyed her. Poor girl.

A Mother's Fifth Day of Christmas

On the Fifth Day of Christmas my children gave to me...
Five hours of sleep!
Four DVDs
Three states to see
Two (dozen) stops to pee
And not one place to eat gluten free. 

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