It’s hard to fathom not shopping at Target once a week.
OK, maybe sometimes we end up going once a day, but only when I’m trying to plan something and am really scatterbrained. Like when I go to the grocery store to get milk,
come home with a Jeep load of groceries, but end up going BACK for milk.
It is unfathomable to think in Little House in the Big Woods Laura and Mary had never seen a town before. In Little House on the Prairie, Pa goes into town once.
The family stays home. I can’t imagine going a whole year without going to a store. I can’t imagine not replenishing your pantry when you need to.
But, my imagination could make a store for the Ingalls family. Just in case Pa forgot something and Ma needed to go, we put it next to their house.The pretend world I’m creating for her is much easier than her real world.
We started this project last year while playing and learning through “The Olden Days”
but couldn’t finish. Since we’re using The Prairie Primer this year, fun projects are easier to fit into school.
Although I didn’t have the Gramma and Grandpa growing up, they were a fun, inexpensive find on Etsy from the Chicken Coop Stamper. I spent less money to bring age and wisdom to my pretend world than I would to buy a new Barbie at Target.
They will have dual roles in the Ingalls lives, portraying the grandparents left behind in Wisconsin, and the store owners for whatever town the Ingalls currently live in.
Sara Jane Benson is trading eggs for yard goods today. She is another doll from the Sunshine Family mold that actually came dressed in prairie attire. She was found in the Etsy shop Days Gone By Treasures.
The store is actually an old wooden crate I had with a hinged lid that used to hold embalming fluid. EW gross, I know! Beka hasn’t noticed the lettering on the side, so I didn’t bring it to her attention.
We had a blast scouring the house for things that would work. I love miniatures, so had some from my childhood and some from a printer’s shelf display.
At the thrift store the other day, we found four more dolls from the Sunshine Family, so bought them for extras. We’ll have an adult Laura and Almonzo. I have NEVER found them at the thrift store, so to finding many in one day, was better than that dream where you’re picking up money off the street. Oh, you heard me squealing in excitement? I’ll try to keep it down next time.
We just needed an older gentleman sitting by the fire playing checkers. The game board was copied off from Jim’s Printable Minis, Mod Podged onto cardboard and set on a baby food jar.
Jim offers vintage maps, Christmas cards, important looking documents (we printed one up for Pa for homesteading since he had trouble with the government, we needed to make his next move official), labels for canned food, Confederate and American money, newspapers, and periodicals. I love that Jim offers a variety of sizes/scales depending on which dolls you’re playing and learning with.
My public library allows me 25 free colored copies a week, so I printed many things on my last trip to the library. It saves money and the quality is better.
We have a pile of little projects to work on now in those free moments when the rains are starting to look dreary.
The shop counter was a wooden box that candy came in years ago, of course I squirreled it away for the right day, and just added a shelf with balsa wood.
See the little peg shelf? Beka made it. When she found these candles in some stash I had, she immediately knew they needed to hang up in the store.
We decided with so many projects to create, we couldn’t wait on the menfolk in the house to come home and drill and cut for us. My Honey-Do list for the house is long enough without adding a bunch of craft work to it. I wouldn’t want my husband to come home at the end of the day and hand me a list of things I have to do for him, so I try to keep his list as short as possible. We took out the tools and started experimenting.
She cut a strip of balsa wood and cut four pegs from a skewer. She was NOT interested in measuring, so I let her eyeball it. I don’t have to cram a math lesson in everywhere, although my logic was saying, “This would be a perfect place to use a ruler and division!”
My heart knew too much “school” would take the fun out of it.
She found the correct size drill bit by trial and error on a scrap piece of wood. After drilling four holes, she put a dab of glue and a peg in each hole.
At this point she was a little bored, so asked me to stain it while she went to play. We hung it up with poster putty.
Thin strips of balsa wood were cut with an exacto knife and a metal ruler. I scratched the snot out of my cutting board. Not sure what real crafters do, but I think I need to buy a new one for the kitchen. My favorite vintage color is Minwax gunstock. Beka cut little strips of calico to wrap around the boards.
When Beka decided we needed to tie up packages with brown paper and string, we found a cap to a hair spray bottle, added a pretty blue button with two holes for the lid, wound some fine string around a piece of dowel to completely cover it, popped in it, and we had string on the counter.
We’re working on a wooden structure to hold a roll of brown paper.
As we add to our General Store, my goal is to teach Rebekah to be creative and use what we have. If she dreams of something she wants in the store, I want to see if we can make it first. Some day, we’ll make a trip to Hobby Lobby, but I want to start with homemade. I want her to have the thrill of learning to use the tools and materials on hand to create something she imagined in her mind.
Even though the world we’re making isn’t big enough to live in, someday she’ll have her own home. I want her to be like the previous generations of American women, including her own ancestors, who had the needed skills and pioneer spirit to make wherever she’s living a HOME.