Doll house stories – all moved in

In this final part 5 in the Doll House Stories series, you will see the completed rooms in my newly refurbished doll house, along with its wee folk inhabitants. The house, which I built in 1975 while in art school, is on view in the exhibition “Bedtime Stitches” at the Cahoon Museum in Cotuit, MA through Dec. 19, 2020.

In addition to showing the original illustrations for my new picture book MY BED, the Cahoon Museum is displaying many rarely seen creations from my art school days to the present, including this doll house. These extra items are only included in the Cahoon Museum show and will not travel in the touring exhibition.

Since “Bedtime Stitches” opened in mid-September, I’ve heard from many people who’ve gone to see the exhibition with their children, grandchildren, parents and friends. One woman said, “After our visit, my husband said it was the best day of 2020.” Another wrote to say, “It feels like your art is the antidote to, I don’t know, maybe most of the rest of the world.”

I’m so glad the show will be up for another 6 weeks (through Dec 19), so that more folks can make the trip to see it. Not only has the Cahoon Museum done a beautiful job presenting my work in the gallery, they have protocols in place to ensure a safe and welcoming experience for their visitors, with timed entry in 1 hour intervals and required face coverings. Click here for hours, registration and Covid safely information.

For the past few weeks, you’ve seen several posts about the doll house. Here’s a list if you’d like to review them:
How the house was used over the past 45 years – part 1 (history)
Before and after shots of wallpapering – part 2 (wall-papering)
The process of making wee folk characters – part 3 (kitchen)
How I re-upholstered a 1930’s era sofa – part 4 (re-upholstery).

After arranging the furniture and figuring out who would live in the house, I moved the whole setup into the basement so that Rob could photograph it. He also made a little film, which pans from room to room throughout the house.

For the soundtrack, Rob recorded crickets and other night sounds outside. In the middle of summer, he sat on our patio with a microphone and headphones, listening in the dark, with the moon above.

I hope you enjoy this little house tour.

It was so much fun working on the house over the summer! I probably wouldn’t have taken the time to indulge in something so seemingly unimportant, if not for the deadline to get it fixed up for the “Bedtime Stitches” exhibition. But, after allowing myself the luxury of “playing house” again, I feel connected to my younger self – The child who spent blissful hours engrossed in creative play, the 13 year old who kept her love of dolls a secret and the self-conscious art student who lay in bed thinking about decorating her new doll house. Throughout my life, I’ve been on the same search – to find ways to make what I imagine into something real to share. And it makes me happy to share it with you!

What are they making in the kitchen? Cheese Straws! This cozy scene is printed on a card with my family recipe for cheese straws on the back. Cards are available in my shop.

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12 thoughts on “Doll house stories – all moved in

  1. I am enchanted by your doll house. My grandfather built me a very simple one, and I enjoyed playing with it when I was a little girl in the 50’s, but…. I had plastic furniture and plain walls – not nearly as grand as yours.

  2. Hi Salley,

    Was sooo good to catch up a bit with you yesterday! And right after we saw your glorious exhibit at Cahoon’s! I LOVE the little video Rob made of the dollhouse; please let him know (and thank him for me for the glass of wine, please 🙂 !) Good luck with your new endeavors – you’re making so many people happy with your work! Many, many thanks! Big safe hug,


  3. I had the excellent fortune to see the dollhouse and the rest of the amazing exhibit at the Cahoon museum! I have loved your work through your books for many years, but seeing it in person gave me an even greater appreciation of your artistry. Your husband did a wonderful job with the sound effects in the dollhouse video; they really bring the house to life! Question: what kind of cookies are the dolls making? Maybe you could share a recipe?

  4. Hi Salley!
    I always like to see your updates in my social folder which I only check about once per month. The sound effects in the doll house video are great! I especially enjoyed the squeaky faucet valve and running water pouring over what I imagined to be dirty little hands. You always have some nice Celtic music in your videos. Who is playing at the end of the video?

    All things going along here in the PNW. I see Anne or Denny almost every day. Annie is forging ahead in her latest endeavor of making inks from plants. The two of you are an inspiration in creativity. I hope to get to a sewing project during our long dark winter. It will be a remake of the skirt I made for my sister to wear at my wedding 32yrs ago! The fabric looks like new. I have some ideas on designs…

    Stay healthy and happy turkey day! We’ll be zooming with Keith, Terry and the gang.

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