Our secondhand 1900’s solid wood cradle [and an announcement]

Trigger warning: this blog post mentions a previous miscarriage.

Today we collected quite possibly the most exciting secondhand find I’ve found in a long time. Our newest secondhand addition is for our upcoming newest addition …

We’ve been keeping a little secret this past while. Though, a not so little secret if you saw my midriff right now.

At the end of March we had a miscarriage when I was 12 weeks pregnant. When we found out in August that we were pregnant again, we kept it to ourselves for a long time. Entirely out of nerves and fear. We didn’t tell anyone, especially our families, until two weeks ago after my 20-week scan.

Way back in the beginning of 2020 when we were pregnant the first time, I was on the lookout for a crib / cradle for the downstairs of our house. I checked out my usual online secondhand sites and bookmarked loads of pieces, but never ended up contacting anyone because of our miscarriage. It was only this week that I started nervously looking for cribs and cradles again.

I returned to Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace to look for secondhand cribs when I noticed on Facebook Marketplace that one of the cribs I saved from earlier this year was still available. I contacted the owner this morning to see if it was still available and if so, we could collect it today. It amazingly was still available so we drove to view it*. Trust me when I say the photos of this crib do not do it justice. I feel I need to take more pictures of it in the morning in better lighting. It is huge and solid and gorgeous. The owner explained that they used it with their kids, that he was in it when he was a baby [he was in his mid-60’s] and previous to that, his mother was in it when she was a baby. It’s easily an Edwardian piece, possibly Victorian, but I think that would be a bit of a stretch. It is so gorgeous and huge and I am so happy it will now be part of our home.

The cradle was online for a year before I contacted the owner. A year! It was originally priced at $150, but was reduced to $75 earlier this year. I took a chance and offered $50 and the owner accepted [side note: they were the nicest most genuine couple, which just adds to how amazing this cradle is. They offered to bring us snowmobiling once it’s safe to do so – insert hormonal ugly crying face here].

For anyone wondering, no I will not be painting it. I’ve been thinking about adding a small monogram to each end of the cradle base, but that’s as far as I’d go with ‘updating’ it. I think it would be an absolute insult to paint just for the sake of it as it’s way too beautiful.

p.s. I’ve been so nervous to buy anything in preparation of baby’s arrival that I’ve only bought one tiny hat and a onesie so far, and now this cradle. I know this is common with couples who have previously suffered a miscarriage, but I never realized how much of a mental minefield it is. I’m scared to buy baby clothes and I’m scared every time I go to the bathroom. I almost don’t want to talk about it as I feel I’m jinxing something. But I’m also excited and so happy I could cry. Oh, and let’s not forget the hormonal guilt; by keeping it quiet I’m not celebrating this baby as much as I did with Cora [hormones should be illegal]. I want to be excited and I want to get carried away preparing for our baby. As I’m writing this I can feel her kicking away, reminding me to go to the bathroom. We have 4 months until her arrival [we’re due May 2nd!], so I’m choosing to let myself get carried away with baby stuff now đź–¤

*We’re in a lock down here in Ontario and therefore took all the necessary precautions when viewing the cradle. We all met outside, all wore masks and kept very far apart from one another. As soon as we got home with the cradle I disinfected it entirely and we washed our hands thoroughly. We didn’t travel far to view the cradle either so were not visiting a city.

Lately

Trigger warning: this blog post is about a very recent miscarriage.

Today we would have been 13 weeks pregnant. At 11 weeks and 5 days we miscarried unexpectedly. Over the past few days I’ve focused on the idea that my body knew something wasn’t right with the pregnancy and did what was best.

The past few months have been rough to begin with; morning sickness, vomiting and blase hormones meant I didn’t want to do anything. I was on the couch for weeks before this self isolation began.

The horrible truth is I feel better now. I have energy. I want to do things. I want to play with Cora. I want to cook and I want to eat things other than instant noodles. I’m trying to be kind to myself [easier said than done] by not feeling guilty about wanting to work on projects again.

I don’t think anyone will disagree when I say 2020 has fucking sucked so far. Here’s to the rest of the year looking a whole hell of a lot better đź–¤

Lower Town Dollhouse – stairs

When I found our Lower Town Dollhouse online secondhand, it was a great price for a reason – because it had no front door and no staircases. This didn’t deter me at all so I bought it knowing I’d one day be able to make some proper little dollhouse stairs for it.

I started by measuring the ceiling height and dividing it by however many steps I wanted [20.3cm Ă· 15 steps = 1.35cm high per riser], and then I measured the depth of the space for the stairs [ie – the hole in the floor] to find the depth of each tread [14cm Ă· 14steps = 1cm deep per step]. I ended up with 1.35cm high steps that were 1cm deep and after a few sketches it looked just right. I tested the measurements using a cardboard template before committing to the real thing, and luckily my second template worked out perfect.

Having to assemble the stairs was one of those things that got more difficult in my head the longer I left it when in reality, as soon as I started, it didn’t take long to make. I used the template to cut 4 copies of the stair silhouette on corrugated cardboard; gluing two sets together to form sturdy supports for each side of the stairs. I wish I took a photo of the assembly stage, but I either forgot or was distracted by a something small yelling at me.

I first glued the risers in place with superglue, followed by gluing each step on top with two layers of cardboard sandwiched with superglue to really toughen them [see: to withstand a sweet and thoughtful yet unrelenting toddler]. I also used masking tape on the back side of the steps to further secure them in place and reinforce the sturdiness.

Again, I didn’t take a photo, but I next used filler to fill in the gaps and toughen the edges. Once that was dry I painted the stairs white and using superglue along the entire right side, along the top step and under the bottom step, I glued the entire staircase in place and I have to say, it is so sturdy that I think Cora could actually stand on it with her real feet and the stairs would survive.

Using wooden coffee stirrers and an existing tiny chair rail, I created [or, attempted to create] a bead board look. I carried the bead board look around the rest of the hallway. It at first looked awful as I was adding it but as soon as I painted it, it looked like a real little room.

Above; the hallway as a work in progress. When I first bought the dollhouse, there wasn’t even a window here. It was just a giant hole. It really was tore up from the floor up [you can get an idea from these photos]. I know it doesn’t look perfect as it is now, but I think it’s an improvement and TBH, because the stairs are glued in place, you can’t get a proper look down the hallway.

It’s quite difficult to see from the only ‘before’ type photo I have below, but you’ll see that the stairs that once were here used to face the other way. For Cora’s sake, I thought it made the most sense for the stairs to be facing toward the back of the dollhouse so Cora could actually use them. Yes, they break several health and safety standards this way, but I don’t think any of the little creatures are part of a union, so I think we’re safe. And let’s not mention the lack of a banister either [purposefully left out until toddler is a bit less smashy].

I have to do an entire second set of stairs for the next floor, so I’ll be following my own set of instructions again soon. But this time around it won’t take nearly as long now that I know what to expect. It’s tiny work but I really do love it so much. To the point where if dollhousing was a career, I’d be trying my best to get into doing that.

Click here to see the rest of my Lower Town Dollhouse updates!