These last few years making time to do crafts with my Della has been a bit of a challenge. I decided this year to be more intentional about setting aside time for just the two of us to create together. We both spend a lot of time working on individual projects and dreaming up our own creative ideas…. but there’s just something kinda magical about the conversations that happen around paint, brushes and snacks. I know that as she gets older and busier I’m going to have to make time and space for her to share her heart with me. I need to be intentional about making time for us to connect in order to keep our conversations open and flowing. Crafting is defiantly a way to provide that space and give her my undivided attention.
One of our most recent craft endeavors has been making matchbox houses. I started making these last winter in the evenings while I was listening to Charles Dickens “Our Mutual Friend”. After being inspired by one of the dearest characters in the book, I quickly set to work creating a little matchbox English village complete with the tiniest pegs dolls. After I made that initial little set, I set aside an afternoon to make some with Della. We’ve made little dress shops and tea shops, sweet houses complete with gardens and even turned some into ornaments! They have all been so fun to create with my sweet girl. We have plans to make a spooky village for Halloween…. and I’m sure it will be joined quickly by a Christmas Village.
The beauty of the little matchbox villages is they take up no space, and can easily slip into a pocket or purse for a little entertainment while out and about. They are also sweet gifts kids can make their friends… maybe themed in a favorite book series or as a memento from a special vacation. The possibilities are just about endless! The most delightful part of these afternoons spent painting little boxes has been the conversations with my girl. I tend to sit back and let her steer the talking, and eventually we get around to some topics she wouldn’t have probably brought up if I hadn’t set this time aside just for her. I hope you find a little time to make some of these with your kids, grandkids, nieces or nephews. If you do, we would love to see what you guys come up with! Post some pictures on instagram and tag us in them.
Here’s what you’ll need
Always start with snacks and tea… its a crafting must at our house! We painted our matchboxes the same light base color, then sketched out our basic house design… placing windows and roof lines and deciding on front door styles. Next you’ll want to determine if there are any shops or bakeries or butchers in your village. I like to add in details like window boxes full of flowers, potted plants and trash cans. Della always adds in a cat or dog. We like to go all the way around our houses with details, but you could easily just decorate the fronts. Once we have the exteriors all sorted out we design the interiors, with bedrooms and sitting rooms, maybe the shop becomes a dress shop and there’s piles of pretty fabric! After the paint all dries I love to go back over the details with a micron pen. Della usually doesn’t enjoy that 😉 When you’re finally finished with all the house or shop stuff, then it’s time to paint the miniature peg dolls that will live inside. We simply use the same craft paint and try to make each doll match the house or shop, but again this is a wonderful place to let the kids be free! Maybe the dolls resemble their sweet makers, or a dear friend, or the beloved characters from a favorite book. Most importantly remember to enjoy every second with your precious makers, and keep setting aside that special time to focus on them!