Wednesday, February 4, 2009


The good news is that when I went into the studio today I was pleased to find that no sawdust had been spilled during the night. Fifi is still in a snit, but at least she didn't take a dremel to the new dollhouse kit. Of course, before I went to bed last night I did take the precaution of hiding all the dremels, bench sander, jigsaw and anything else she could have used to destroy Fernando. (that appears to be the working name for the hacienda)

I suppose I should tell you a little bit about Fifi. It's not that I don't love her........actually, I totally adore her. But she's very much a prima dona and that requires that I give her exceptional treatment. Some dollhouses are like that. I've worked with more than my share of divas and prima donas but then again, I've also worked with some of the most relaxed and serene dollhouses too. Someday I'll tell you about my Beacon Hill and my Glencroft. They were both such tranquil dollhouses during the building stages.

Not all of my dollhouses get working names while they're being built. Some of them are content to be known by the name of their kit or the formal name I assign to them when they're done. Then there are the ones who take on so much personality that they get a pet name.

I'll start at the beginning. Fifi is the Storybook Cottage kit from Greenleaf. I'm the editor-in-chief of the Greenleaf Gazette and the original purpose of building the Storybook Cottage was to develop several future tutorials for the Gazette. It's my habit to put a house into dry fit before I do anything else and that's when the house and I start "talking". I should pause to mention here that I don't actually hear voices when I talk to my houses. I may be crazy but I'm not insane. LOL The talking phase is simply a part of my creative process when I open up to the potential of the house kit and determine which direction we're going to go. I'll decide up on a theme, decor, any bashing that needs to be done, color palatte, ect. Sometimes the chatter gets so intense that I feel like I'm simply a conduit between the house and my Muse. But for all general intents and purposes, it's easier to just say the house and I are chatting.

So, the Storybook Cottage and I began chatting. I thought it was a little strange that she had a French accent, but I've learned to take these things in stride. She began with telling me, "My name is C'est Si Bon". My high school French is a bit rusty, but I remembered enough to know that means "It's so good". I told her, "Okay, we can do that". Now my mind was working more along the lines of the Eartha Kitt song so I was beginning to envision the house of a kept woman with expensive tastes. Oooooooh no, that's not what she had in mind at all.

Now before we go any further, I should tell you that I'm not a frilly type of girl. I never have been. My tastes lean toward dark or earthy tones and tailored styles. Pastels are not my thing and I usually shudder at the sight of them. What came next was a real shocker.

In a tone that left no room for argument, she told me that she will be done in the most delicate shades of lilac accented with pale lavendar and mint green both inside and out. (that was when I started calling her Fifi behind her back) She said her interior would be wallpapered in the most feminine papers of soft lilac and mint, her floors would be green marble and she wanted an ornate fireplace with scrollwork painted to match her decor. Soft lighting and lace curtains would also be required. I nodded in agreement, taking down notes. She said we'd discuss the rest of the interior later, but first she wanted to plan the landscaping. Nothing would do but tons of roses in pink and lavendar, climbing up trellises and white wrought iron fences. The side bay window was to be removed and French doors installed in it's place. There would be a patio with a white wire table and chairs.

This is where the lightbulb came on over my head and I exclaimed, "You sneaky little thing! You're describing a frilly and feminine tea house!! You want to be a French cafe!! I have never, ever, ever wanted to make a tea shop, bakery, sweet shop or cafe and you've just tricked me into agreeing to it!!" Fifi batted her eyelashes and murmured, "But of course".

There's no arguing about it. The house always gets what the house wants. If you try to fight it, you just end up stalled out in the creative process and eventually, you do what the house wanted in the first place.

That's how I ended up building a frilly little French cafe. As long as I agree with her, Fifi cooperates with me and things are going very well. I have to admit that she's going to be a bit of confectionery delight when it's done and will probably be one of the prettiest houses I've ever built. We have a couple more weeks of work to do before she's done and I'm getting excited about finishing her up.

She's still very demanding tho. For some reason, I found myself changing a few things around in my living room dollhouse display yesterday (there are 8 dollhouses in my living room) and I wondered why I was doing it. Then it occured to me that I was preparing to make room for Fifi in the very center of the display. Oh well. I should have known that she'd want to be front and center! I think she's also gotten hold of my credit card because there have been three shipments of suppies so far and every single piece in them is destined to be a part of Fifi. I think it would have been easier to keep an expensive woman in this little house than to let it become a French cafe!!

Oh, and one other thing. I mentioned yesterday that Fifi was annoyed with me because I'd been dressing beds for a week instead of working on her. Well, this morning it became clear that she had noticed the bed "Eliza Dreams" sitting on the textiles worktable. The first thing I heard when I walked in the room was "I want it". I told her that the bed is not hers and that she doesn't even have space for a bedroom. She said, "I don't care. I want it. You can build an addition onto the side for it"

There are times when you just have to draw the limit. I threw a towel over Fifi, grabbed "Eliza Dreams" and ran out of the studio as fast as I could. From behind me, I heard the voice of Fernando calling "Don't leave me........................."

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