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A girl and her doll, the perfect partnership

By Staff | Jan 14, 2011

The Greek philosopher Plato said that you can discover more about a person in an hour of play than you can in a year of conversation.

We have been blessed with a daughter who loves to visitI wonder where that comes fromand also a girl who takes to playing with her dolls just like ribbons take to gifts.

It is an entertaining nightly duo of imagination and chatter that usually has a non-stop rhythm in our living room. The sway of one of her Christmas gifts is in total agreement with these nightly actions. It is her pink wooden doll cradle. A more perfect union cannot be found.

Just last night her umbrella was resting over her cradle and she informed us that due to recent technology, umbrellas are now being used to shower down medicine. You see, Sarah, her doll, has been very sick and as she rests the medicine gently comes down on her to make her better. Who knows, she just may have something here!

I certainly do not claim to have all the answers to raising children, but I do know this: time spent with your child during play is worth its weight in gold. Many a day Miss Lydia can be in the living room with only her dolls and for hours she can entertain herself. In a world that is so pregnant with modern-day video games, and Nintendo DSIs, it is refreshing to see the birth of the doll cradle in her toy world. This is not to say that she has not been exposed to these modern-day toys, and in fact loves to play with her cousins’ DSIs. However, her interactions with these items do not bring about the wonderful playful imagination and certainly lively conversations that her dolls and cradle provide.

The story of Lydia’s doll cradle begins here in Rugby. As a true and faithful rummage sale hound, I discovered this cradle at Alice Hersey’s rummage sale. It is truly the Norman Rockwell-style cradle with the sides that step down like a vintage sleigh and with ends that are arched. Each contains an oval opening for easy transport. As she visits and sings to her dolls, she is in a world that is hers. Sometimes we are even allowed to participate, like to babysit for Sarah as Lydia goes to school.

Its blonde 1950s finish had been assisted in attraction by baby ducky decals probably purchased at the local hardware store. Its transformation brings forth a lively shade of pink, “Spanish fuchsia”, and the inside is a soothing “barely turquoise.” After all, Sara will feel like she is up in the clouds when she lies down by this blue. The joyful runners of the cradle have been adorned in a deep magenta. A mosaic of cutout wooden blossoms cascade down the sides with creamy pesto leaves which rest on a bed of soft shadow leaves. Last year for her birthday, we recycled a nightstand into a mini play cupboard. It has the same colors and decorations. Imagine her surprise when she realized the two matched!

The recycling of this cradle has been a joy to complete. One cannot refinish an item like this without thinking about the children that must have once played with it in yesteryear. The proof is in the knicks and bumps as well as the well-traveled rocker/runners. After a bit of sanding, priming, painting, and adding decorations, a new cradle comes to life. Jan stitched a colorful set of flannel bed sheets and pillow cases as well as a mini quilt that contains many hues of pink, rose, orange, blue and purple. This was the finishing touch that added great enthusiasm. What a joy to see Lydia spot it under the tree and respond with eyes of delight.

This is now the second piece in a series of four which we plan to complete for Miss Lydia. Next to come for her birthday will be a mini china cupboard for her doll dishes (Don’t tell her, please!) It is also a recycled item which was purchased at Pretzer’s rummage sale a few years ago. It is a tall thin wooden unfinished gun cabinet which will be transformed with shades of pink, blue, magenta-complete with tulips blooming on its sides. Joining this trio will be a little high chair. This surge of creativity proves once again that when children and parents connect, it is a win-win-especially when it brings to fact both are enjoying a bit of green recycling as well.

The bottom of the cradle has been untouched-left as I purchased it from the rummage sale. The name on the bottom of the cradle is “R. Marshall, Rugby ND.” I would assume probably the maker of this fine cradle. We did take the time to add our names. Who knows-down the road another set of little hands might enjoy the cradle, and its history.

These two very easy dessert treats are simple to make and allow of plenty of time to rock the doll cradle.

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