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Late March 136

It’s out of print. If you have a child who enjoys making little things and imagination play, find it anyway. I made every project in this book as a child, some many times over. The stone fireplace was always a favorite. Fitting the pebbles into place was like a 3D puzzle.  

The projects in Dollhouse Magic use household objects – small boxes, spools of thread, beads, glue, etc. – and are easy for elementary school kids to do with a little help here and there from an adult. There are even ideas for “found” dollhouses. Budget friendly and imagination friendly and environmentally friendly… what more could you ask?

 
Miss R. takes loves to pick up small rocks wherever she goes. Her pockets are usually stuffed with pebbles and we keep the more interesting ones in jars. We’re starting to have a rock overflow around here, though, so we put some of the smaller stones to good use and made a fireplace for her Calico Critters. 
 
The fireplace directions are in Dollhouse Magic, but here’s a quick tutorial on what I did:
 
Find a medium size cardboard jewelry box or make one out of cardboard scrap. (I really recommend just using a pre-made box, though. Much easier.) Cut the fireplace opening out of the box for your child; they can do the rest with a little guidance on how long to let the glue dry. 
 
Grab a bottle of Elmer’s glue. Sort out your rocks and discard anything too big or lumpy. You want small pebbles, really. R. chose hers based on color and little sparkly bits of mica. 
 
Start gluing. Only do one small area at a time, but be generous with the glue. It dries clear, so don’t worry that it will look all messy afterwards.
 
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When you’ve covered the front of the fireplace with pebbles, add a bit more glue between the stones to make sure they stay put. Put the fireplace somewhere to dry for an hour or so. 
 
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When the front is completely dry (see? the glue disappears) put the fireplace on its side and add more stones. It will be front-heavy. We propped ours up with a small pickle jar that R stores her pebbles in. 
 
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Dry. Repeat on the other side. You don’t have to do the back. 
 
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The next step is optional. For a “fire,” cut small twigs to fit in the fireplace opening and glue them together into a pile. Cut a few jagged pieces of colored paper for flames and insert them into the twigs and wet glue.
 
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Ta da! Now go play.