Scenes from Home

Scenes from around the house this week – a touch of filter added. (Sometimes I like to play around with these things.)

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Snoozing next to Dad.

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Monty in the jungle.

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Light from the windows reflected on the wall.

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Birthday excitement through Daddy’s lens.

It’s been a good week. My birthday was scrumptious in every way. We bought material for some shelves in the den. (Now I have to sand and stain the wood before we put up the standards and brackets.) I have a very interesting story to share with you next week about ‘getting out of the way’ and letting the answer reveal itself and it has to do with Don. But that’s a post in itself. Anyway, that happened this week. I’ve been a bit lax in my reading habits this week – too many distractions. But I hope to better that in the next few days. Scout has had some rocky days, but she’s slowly feeling better.

Thanks for all the stimulating discussion on the part of yesterday’s post that concerned Bill Cosby. The friend of a friend I mentioned, who first told her story via Facebook (as did my friend)? Her story has gained traction because she’s a fairly well-known actress. It’s now on several sites on the web.

I’m afraid, for me, the votes are in. Too many similar accounts. Too many women with no ax to grind, only a need to tell their own story in support of every other woman who has been brave enough to speak out.

And I know someone who had her own ‘experience’ with Cosby.

There are no winners here.

Happy Sunday.

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A Birthday Recap & Bill Cosby

Thank you for the lovely birthday wishes! Between this blog and Facebook, I was truly blessed by messages from friends near and far. Goodness!

My husband spoiled me, as usual. (I think he’s better at this sort of thing than I am.) The morning was spent on long, lovely phone calls with my sister and my best friend. Then it was off to our local tea room for tea and a sweet something.

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Birthday Apple Pie with whipped cream! Yum. Yum. Yum!

We love this little tearoom which is in a very old building in a neighboring town.

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We stopped off at our local cupcake shop and picked out four cupcakes, including one of these.

Another wonderful phone call from two dear friends that I’ve known for 30+ years.

Then Don made my favorite dinner – remember me talking about those faux crab cakes? Oh, lordy, it was good! Then presents and cupcakes.

birthdaygirl and scout

Someone was very interested in that cupcake. Oh, that girl! I believe I was making a wish when Don snapped this picture.

What did I get? Not one, but two pair (or is it pairs? the rules seem to be changing) of Nick and Nora flannel pajamas. For those of you who love them, I got the sock monkey design in red, and the macarons design in pink. Hello! I’m all set for winter. At this very moment, in fact, I’m wearing the sock monkeys. I got a bottle of my favorite cologne, Amazing Grace by Philosophy. I got a sweet bracelet. And somehow, Scout found a wonderful wooden egg cup from the forties! How did she do that? She is full of surprises.

My cup runneth over.

I couldn’t have asked for a nicer day.

On another note:

Bill Cosby has been in the news a lot lately. Many women have come forward to share their stories. They don’t know each other, but each of them has an eerily similar story to tell.

If you’re sitting on the fence on this one, let me tell you that one of my former students, who continues to be a friend and who is someone I trust implicitly, had an frightening encounter with Cosby in 1994. I won’t go into the details because it’s her story to tell, but she’s a smart and savvy woman who saw his dark side and got out of his house before anything could happen. That didn’t stop him. He kept calling her house after the incident, insisting that she needed to come to his house to work on her ‘acting technique.’

And if that isn’t enough, a friend of a friend had the same thing happen to her. Both of them are actresses. Both of them dodged the bullet. But clearly, many, many women weren’t as fortunate.

It’s one thing to read about it in the news and hold back, thinking ‘Bill Cosby wouldn’t do that!” Or watch the news, as Don and I did, and think that it sure seems like these women are telling the truth and know, at the same time, that it will be impossible to prove anything.

It’s another thing entirely to know someone who saw that reality.

America’s beloved icon isn’t a nice man. Image and reality are two very different animals, aren’t they?

I leave it at that.

Happy Saturday.

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Mon Anniversaire

rays of light

Il est mon anniversaire aujourd’hui.

I’ve retained a little of my high school French – un peu.

I remember being a child and thinking that my birthday, November 21st, must be the most magical, wondrous day ever. That November 21st was simply more special than any other day in the history of the world.

Do you remember that feeling?

It changes as we get older, of course. But I still get a little hint of that feeling every year on this day. It’s fleeting, but still wondrous. Thank goodness.

This is the first birthday of mine on this earth without my mother.

As I said in another post – a year of firsts.

So…bittersweet, wondrous, sad, happy, celebratory, fun. That’s the order for the day.

And Happy Birthday to Patricia, a reader of this blog who shares this birthday with me, along with the number of candles on the cake. (And let me add the name of faithful reader Mary D. – she is celebrating her birthday today, as well!)

Happy Friday and Happy Birthday to me!

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Who, What, Where: Dollhouse Den

As in the real-life decorating of Mockingbird Hill Cottage, decorating the dollhouse’s rooms has been about collecting things over time, about gifts given and/or inherited and proudly displayed, about re-imagining older pieces of furniture and making them ‘new.’ I looked at each room this week and wrote down the story/source of each item. I wanted to get it all down on real and virtual paper – partly for me, and also for you. I often get emails asking me about where I source things for the dollhouse. I will provide all of the information I can for you. Links will be at the end of the post.

Today we visit the den. It’s on the second floor of Hummingbird Cottage.

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Wallpaper: ItsyBitsyMini; Moldings, trim, spindles and newel post: miniatures.com; Floor: made by me from popsicle sticks.

Sofa: Dollhouses and More; Knitting on sofa: a gift from Julie. Coffee table: a gift from Marsha, I painted and distressed it.

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To Kill a Mockingbird: LDelaney, an Etsy Shop; Bluebird Mug: TwelveTimesMoreTeeny, an Etsy shop (Spain); Flower Vase: purchased at a craft shop; Flowers: from my stash; Chocolate Biscuit Box: handmade by Norma; Pansy Painting: hand painted by Mary Bell, part of a miniature swap.

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Various Bird Plates on the wall: from two Etsy Shops – TwelveTimesMoreTeeny and A LavenderDilly (Australia).

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Cabinet: a gift from Rizzi, it was unfinished. I painted, stained and distressed it and added wallpaper behind the shelves; Vases on top shelf: gifts from Marsha and Jayne; Books: some were gifts, some purchased, some made by me; Singing bird vase: a handmade gift from Kim, made to match the singing birds on the piano in MHC; Liquor bottles: a gift from Barbara; Platter hanging on the wall: from TwelveTimesMoreTeeny.

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Wicker chair: handmade by Casey of Casey’s Minis. I won it in a giveaway. She made the chair and the cushions. Footstool: also handmade by Casey.

Sources:

Miniatures.com
ItsyBitsyMini
Dollhouses and More
LDelaney (Etsy Shop)
TwelveTimesMoreTeeny (Etsy Shop)
A LavenderDilly (Etsy Shop)
Casey’s Minis

It’s important to me to get all of this source information down on paper. I have been blessed by friendships via this blog and many of those friends have sent me gifts for the dollhouse. I’ve also learned so much from bloggers who are miniaturists. Their generous sharing of information has been an absolute essential in the rehab of the dollhouse. And I’ve put in a lot of work, sourced materials, found Etsy shops. Putting together a dollhouse such as this one didn’t happen overnight. I found it on Craig’s List in 2009, five years ago. And I’ve been working on it ever since.

So, if you’re getting tired of all this dollhouse stuff, I understand. However, I know there are those who love reading this information and find it helpful and valuable.

In other words, I’m continuing until we’ve covered all 7 rooms!

Happy Thursday.

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The Lesson Continues

nov 18 scout

A grudging moment from a girl who usually turns her head away when she sees my camera.

Like Greta Garbo, she doesn’t want to be photographed. No paparazi. She just wants to be left alone.

We are adjusting, all of us, to this time in her life. When does she need help going up and down the steps, when is she strong enough to handle them on her own? How do we handle her sometimes insane pacing and frantic activity in the evenings? How do we know when its okay for her to run a little on her walks and when the better choice is to rein her in? How do we handle the hearing loss? And the little messes that sometimes occur?

With love. Without judgment. With compassion.

We learned that during Riley’s long illness.

We’re finding our way. I used to get very frustrated with that pacing I referred to; constantly jumping up and down the stairs, going into the kitchen, coming back down to the den, over and over and over again, an almost panicked look in her eyes. I’d let her out. She’d pace outside. I’d let her back in. She’d pace inside. I’d lose the thread of whatever I was watching on television. Up. Down. Pace.

I asked myself a thousand questions: is something wrong with her urinary tract? is she constipated? does she hear something outside? is she hungry? is she thirsty? what is she trying to tell me? Finally, just before Don returned home, I did a search online and I read several articles about just this thing. It’s not about any of those questions. It just is.

A fairly common occurrence with very senior dogs, it often happens during the night. With Scout, it seems to be happening in the evenings. I meditated, asked for answers, and got the message, “Just let her be.” Don said pretty much the same thing when he got home and, believe me, it’s much easier to handle all that frantic activity with him by my side. It doesn’t happen every night, but it does happen most nights. It’s part of who Scout is now.

Her hind end muscles are getting weaker – just like Riley’s did. I sometimes hold her up while she eats. I did the same thing with Riley. It depends on the day – often the time of day. But she is remarkably strong for her age. At times, she has the friskiness of a pup. She’ll lope. She’ll gallop. She’ll pounce. She’ll leap up both steps leading up from the den to the living room like a horse effortlessly clearing a jump.

She’ll be 16 in January. She’s the light of my life. She’s the girl who is magical, who is wondrous, who has enriched our lives beyond measure.

I have to work hard at being patient with her at times and it doesn’t always come easily to me. But if I stop and let go of all the other distractions, the things that supposedly are important but really aren’t, and focus on her needs, then it is suddenly quite easy. Because what could possibly be more important than this creature? Nothing.

That’s my goal. It’s a lesson I keep re-learning, one that started with Riley and continues with Scout.

She helps me grow, that girl. She helps me develop patience. She makes me a better person. Or at least, a person trying very hard to be a better person.

She is the great teacher. And I have many lessons to learn.

Happy Wednesday.

(New post with some interesting links up on Just Let Me Finish This Page.)

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Who, What, Where: Dollhouse Kitchen

As in the real-life decorating of Mockingbird Hill Cottage, decorating the dollhouse’s rooms has been about collecting things over time, about gifts given and/or inherited and proudly displayed, about re-imagining older pieces of furniture and making them ‘new.’ I looked at each room this week and wrote down the story/source of each item. I wanted to get it all down on real and virtual paper – partly for me, and also for you. I often get emails asking me about where I source things for the dollhouse. I will provide all of the information I can for you. Links will be at the end of the post.

Today we move to the kitchen. It’s rather long and tunnel-like, so getting a good photo can be a bit dicey. Here goes.

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First, the kitchen as a whole.
Floors: made by me from wooden popsicle sticks, which were painted white and aged with gray paint; Wallpaper: Itsy Bitsy Mini; Moldings, Trim and Beadboard: Hobby Builders Supply/miniatures.com.

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Sink unit and Shelf Unit: Made by JBM Miniatures, purchased from New England Miniatures.

In the Shelf Unit: Canisters: a gift from Barbara; Plates: a mix – some purchased from a craft store, some from A LavenderDilly (an Etsy Shop), some from Barbara; Pitcher: from a craft store; Birdhouse: a gift from Jayne.

In and on the Sink Unit: Green tiled backsplash: added by me, made from the same material I used for the brick wall in the bedroom, painted to match the kitchen, from miniatures.com; Tray: from AtelierdeLea, an Etsy Shop (Paris); Cake: a gift from Karen; Enamel baking sheet: from A LavenderDilly (Australia); Cake cutter: a gift from Barbara; Faucets and taps: miniatures.com; Dish soap: a gift from Barbara; Coffee canister: a gift from Barbara; Tea tin: a gift from Lee; Cutting board: from A LavenderDilly; Tea towel: a gift from Norma; Enamel baking tins, etc.: from A LavenderDilly; Granite Ware: a gift from Karen; Curtain under the sink: made by me; Flatware in the drawer (not seen): a gift from Karen.

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Refrigerator: made by me from a wooden box, painted green with a high gloss clear top coat, handle made from a picture hanger; Wooden bowl: Weston Miniature, an Etsy shop; Corner shelf: made by me from a kit purchased at Chautauqua Miniatures; Silver tea cup: a gift that was handmade by Debbie Greenlee; Pot and flowers: miniatures.com; Window Shade: made by me; Hanging pendant lamp: miniatures.com; Table: miniatures.com, painted by me; Chairs: miniatures.com, painted by me; Plate on table: a gift from Jayne; Flatware: A LavenderDilly; Cup and Saucer: from TwelveTimesMoreTeeny, an Etsy shop (Spain).

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Green cabinet: from my stash; Mixer: from IntotheWoodsVintage2, an Etsy shop; Rolling pin: from my stash; Tin: a gift from Barbara; Aga stove: a gift from Don, from New England Miniatures; Copper Pots: from miniatures.com; Tea Towel: from A LavenderDilly; Shelf unit on wall: made by me, it’s a bash from another piece; Architectural salvage type brackets: from my stash; Brass Rod: miniatures.com; Plates: TwelveTimesMoreTeeny; Pottery Jug: a gift from Barbara.

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Little bird plate on wall: TwelveTimesMoreTeeny.

Sources:

Hobby Builders Supply/miniatures.com
ItsyBitsyMini
New England Miniatures
A LavenderDilly
TwelveTimesMoreTeeny
AtelierdeLea
WestonMiniature
IntoTheWoodsVintage2
Chautauqua Miniatures

It’s rather fun documenting all of this. I hope you’re enjoying it, too!

Happy Tuesday.

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In Need of Color

It’s a cold, damp and rainy day here in the Northeast. Don’s in the living room reading. I’m in my blogging chair in the den. Scout, after shuttling between us for a bit, has finally settled down near her dad.

It’s the kind of day that makes you want to stay inside. No errands. Not even a walk to the mailbox. This is the time of year where the landscape looks rather bleak, all shades of brown and gray, with a bit of green grass thrown in. Though there is beauty in everything, I must admit that I find this particular view to be a bit depressing.

Thank goodness for our cozy cottage which provides the warmth and color that is sadly lacking outside our window.

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A splash of color on a gray day: the aqua of the McCoy pot, the green of the pothos, the amber/orange of the bakelite napkin ring, the red on the books.

I had to cut back this pothos plant. It had grown so long that it was snaking behind the sideboard and was fast becoming out of control. I have one in the bathroom, and it needs some judicious pruning, as well.

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Hamlet closed yesterday. It was a truly wonderful production and I am so proud to have worked on it. Hard to believe that the set is being taken down, all those sumptuous costumes are heading for storage, that world we created no longer exists. It’s always that way when a show ends. We felt the same thing last week when Our Town closed. It leaves me feeling a bit sad. (The two volumes of Shakespeare were a gift last year from my dear friend, Judy Clark of 20NorthOra. We had a lovely phone conversation yesterday.)

I’ve brought all the potted impatiens in for the winter. Dare I hope that they will survive another season to re-bloom in the spring? We’ll see.

Look who was outside my kitchen window:

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Another splash of color on a gray day.

I’m off to write a quick post for Just Let Me Finish This Page and then I’m going to curl up with The Burning Room by Michael Connelly.

Happy Monday.

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Who, What, Where: Dollhouse Living Room

As in the real-life decorating of Mockingbird Hill Cottage, decorating the dollhouse’s rooms has been about collecting things over time, about gifts given and/or inherited and proudly displayed, about re-imagining older pieces of furniture and making them ‘new.’ I looked at each room this week and wrote down the story/source of each item. I wanted to get it all down on real and virtual paper – partly for me, and also for you. I often get emails asking me about where I source things for the dollhouse. I will provide all of the information I can for you. Links will be at the end of the post.

Today? The living room.

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Wallpaper: ItsyBitsyMini; Moldings and trim: Hobby Builder’s Supply/Miniatures.com. Flooring: Made by me from popsicle/craft sticks.

Sofa: Made-to-order by Etsy shop FloraDollhouse (Italy); Shutter: from my stash, originally ordered from miniatures.com; Throw pillows: gifts from Marsha, Casey and Flora; Blue table: from a bag of dollhouse items given to me by my friend Heidi – I painted and aged it; Tea cup: from a set purchased at a craft store; Plate and fork: from Etsy shop, A LavenderDilly (Australia); Blue flowered chair: from Dollhouses and More; Aubusson rug: from A LavenderDilly.

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Fireplace and andirons: a gift from Don, I painted the fireplace white and the brass andirons black; Logs: from miniatures.com; Flowers and pot: a gift from Jayne (who sent me all sorts of wonderful things when I first started on this dollhouse.) I painted the pot aqua; Blue bowl: also from Jayne; Armillary: a gift from fellow blogger Lady Hawthorne of Canterbury Cottage; Painting over the fireplace: purchased at a dollhouse shop, frame was ‘aged’ by me; Architectural salvage window: a bash from another piece (given to me by blogging friend Rizzi), I painted and ‘aged’ it; Little painting on the wall: purchased at Chautauqua Miniatures.

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Chest: from the Ideal Petite Princess Line which was made in the sixties. I have two of these – one I found in a local shop, one was found on eBay; Package and mail: a gift from Barbara; Mirror: a gift from Linda; Tote bag: a handmade gift from Jill.

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Botanical Chart: from Etsy shop of L. Delaney.

Sources

Hobby Builders Supply/miniatures.com
Itsy Bitsy Mini
Flora Dollhouse (an Etsy shop)
A LavenderDilly (an Etsy shop)
Dollhouses and More
Chautauqua Miniatures
LDelaney (an Etsy shop)

I hope this helps those of you who are working on your very own dollhouses. Of course, I already have plans to add some things, so the list will change over time. But the basic information will stay the same.

Stealing a little: It takes a village to make a dollhouse come to life. That’s for sure.

More tomorrow.

Happy Sunday.

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An Upside-Down Kind of Day

Yesterday was one of those days where I felt mildly irritable and slightly ‘off’ all day. The simplest tasks went awry. You know what I mean? And through it all, I was completely aware that my reaction to everything was totally up to me, that I could change it all with an attitude adjustment. But I didn’t.

As the day went on, things got better. Don was having the same sort of day, so I guess we sort of wallowed in the whole thing. It was cold. Wintery weather is most definitely here – too early for our taste. An upside-down kind of day.

But I managed to noodle around with some things for the dollhouse. By the way, on an upside-down day, trying to maneuver fully adult human hands and fingers around the miniatures in a dollhouse makes for a lot of cursing.

Oh yes. Quite colorful, I might add.

I bought a little kit when I was in Chautauqua (now I wish I’d purchased two) and finally put it together.

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It’s a little Victorian corner shelf with wonderful scroll work that was laser cut. Once I got out the glue, it was very easy to put together. I was going to paint it, but I decided I liked it better ‘au naturel.’

Gosh, it’s hard getting good photos way back in the depths of the kitchen!

A while back, Linda, a generous reader of this blog, sent me a box full of kits from The House of Miniatures. One of them was for a cupboard that would function as the top of a secretary. But I had a different idea. I put it together yesterday. Then I stained, painted, and sanded it.

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I wanted it to look vintage and salvaged. (I’d like one of these for our real-sized cottage!) I never liked the free-standing bookcase I had in here. It was really just a marker of sorts until I figured out something else to do here.  I stained the piece first with some antiquing gel, then I painted it and sanded it to show wear and tear. I deliberately left some parts of the doors unstained.

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Then I put some of the books I’ve made on the shelves. There will be more added eventually.

(I took these photos late in the day.)

So, in spite of an upside-down day, I managed to create a couple of additions to the dollhouse. That makes me happy.

Happy Saturday.

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Not Already!

first snow

What’s that I see on the roof of the shed?

That dreaded four letter word.

Though there isn’t very much on the ground and I’m sure it will melt away during the morning hours.

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A view of the back forty. I’m sure the higher elevations around us got more snow. That’s fine. This is quite enough for me, thank you very much.

Good news. The repairman came out and looked at the washer yesterday afternoon and immediately figured out what the problem was. The lid to the washer wasn’t fully closing, therefore the switch that signaled the washer to start wasn’t working. I’m not sure which of these things started the problem, the switch or the lid, but the switch had to be replaced. I had warned Don that, even if we could repair the washer, we might have to wait for parts. But lo and behold, that particular part was on the truck. Within about a half hour, all was fixed. The whole thing cost us a little over $200, which is a good sight better than the $1200 it would cost us to replace the unit.

I don’t have to go to the laundromat today.

To celebrate, we piled into the car and took Scout for a walk on the library grounds. Then we took a little walk through town (it doesn’t take long) and headed home. She was happy. We were happy.

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The limelight hydrangeas with their faded autumn beauty.

Don wants to know what I want for my birthday. I never know. I need clothes desperately but he insists that new clothes should be a matter of course and not a birthday present. Likewise a winter jacket and snow boots. All of which I need. My boots have been too small for me for 3 years. My winter jackets are looking pretty ragged.

I’m a wee bit jealous, to be honest, because Don got to buy his wardrobe for Our Town (which was in modern dress) for $300. It was worth about $1000. Hand picked, hand tailored (he’s over 6′4″ remember) – he got it all, including shoes. I’m thrilled for him, because he needs all of it and some pieces will be very good to wear on auditions.

But voice coaches don’t get costumes, do they?

Maybe I’ll tell him I need new flannel pajamas – which I do. And maybe some of my favorite perfume.

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Or maybe something for the dollhouse.

A new post up at Just Let Me Finish This Page: something from my local library and some interesting links.

Happy Friday.

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