A little girl two houses down saw an unusual doll house on
one of our trips to a hobby/craft shop a few months ago. It
was a four story "tree house", with pulleys and winches to
get stuff from the first floor to the top floor, ladders,
a crows nest on the top and various beds and other pieces
of furniture, along with six wooden dolls, grandpa, grandma,
mom. dad, son and daughter. It was all wood, ply floors
and dowels for trees, railing etc.. She was really fascinated
by the thing and did the "I sure wish I had one of these."
things kids do twenty times in each trip to any store that
has anything that remotely could be a toy.
I checked the price, in the $125 dollar range, and told her
that was a lot of money for some plywood and some dowels.
She did her pouting look and then raced down the aisle to
see what other neat things she could find, and perhaps
persuade me to get her - and her older sister. Kids will
gang up on you you know.
Well time went by and Christmas approaches. The little
girl has that tree house doll house on the top of her
Christmas list. So the mom takes her out to the hobby/
craft store to see what it is she has in mind. Naturally
the price tag rules it out, they have been having some
tough financial times and money's kind of tight.
While hanging out in the shop her older sister mentions
that the tree house her sister really, really, really
wants for Christmas won't be under the tree this year."I
bet you could make one .. . one of these days. You can
make anything out of wood." she said, making sure the
hook was set good.
And that began my apprenticeship as an elf.
The "older" sister (9) and I made a run to the hobby/craft
store, with paper, pencil and a pad of paper. Needless
to say, a store employee wasn't too thrilled about us
measuring one of their more expensive toys. To pacify
him we bought the six dolls for the tree house - I'd
need them for scaling things anyway.
So now, after three full days of shop time, a half sheet
of baltic birch ply, 20 or 30 feet of various size dowels,
every flat surface above the ground covered in tools,
parts, scraps of ply, a pile of dowel cutoffs and an
assortment of clamps, the four foot tall, two foot wide,
sixteen inch deep tree house rises above the clutter.
Bug spitted (shellaced) wood catches the light, the carved
dowel "trunk" looks sort of like a tree trunk and the
little beds, one a bunk bed for the kids, the table and
some chairs are making it look rather homey. One crows
nest to make, the branches and leaves to put on and
it'll be done.
This one was definitely not like making furniture but
just as challenging and even more fun. Christmas
eve or morning is going to be very interesting.
If you get the opportunity, I higly recomend having a
go at being one of Santa's elves. The hourly wage is
in units you can't get at a bank and the interest on
the investment in time will certainly beat The Market
or any bank.
Every day we have the opportunity to create memories.
This one's going to be one of my fonder memories and
hopefully one of a little girl's fond memories long
after I'm gone.