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Living life in miniature

Staff writer

It is not uncommon for people to keep a diary of their lives, but a diary of a dollhouse?

That’s what Teeny Williams of Marion has written. Consisting of 18 typewritten pages, the document records the origin of every piece of a dollhouse created by Teeny and her husband, Pete, beginning in 1979.

“I spent many years making dolls and dollhouses for others,” Williams wrote. “It is time to have one for myself.”

Over the course of the next 20 years, with Pete’s help, she built and furnished a two-story, farm-style house, complete with a yard and wrought-iron lawn furniture.

The yard includes a climbing rosebush on a trellis on one side of the house, a picnic table, and an outdoor grill — all in miniature, of course.

The dollhouse includes a kitchen, bathroom, sewing room, toy room, living room, and two bedrooms. The house is wired throughout for electricity.

Each room is fully furnished, down to the last intricate detail, including wallpaper and pictures, light fixtures, and working drawers and cabinets filled with tiny items.

Some items were painstakingly made out of scrap materials, some were purchased, and some were received as gifts from friends.

Williams included figures of family members and others to provide a human touch. They are reminders of relatives, such as a granddaughter, Terri, or friends, such as a neighbor down the road.

Williams delights in showing the dollhouse to visitors, and is especially pleased when someone takes an interest in it. Sometimes she spends hours sitting on the floor with visitors, studying the many details.

Along with “Diary of a Dollhouse,” the dollhouse itself has been promised to Williams’ granddaughter, Traci, who was born the year the project began.

Although the diary was finished in October 2000, Williams has compiled some notes for Traci to refer to when she acquires the dollhouse.

Kitchen entries include:

“The pheasant feather in Daddy’s hat came from a pheasant your Grandpa Pete shot.”

“Momma’s blouse was made from my nightgown.”

“The letter in the box is addressed to Cleo Osgood because that was a Xmas gift from her.”

“A piece of the cherry pie comes out, and there is corn-on-the-cob in the pot. Look in all the drawers.”

The dollhouse project gave Williams a lot of pleasure through the years. In 1983, she wrote, “I look at the dollhouse every day and sometimes I turn on the lights and play a while.”

In 1992, she wrote, “The good Lord has certainly blessed me. He has given me the time and ability to play even though I’m in my early 60s. I’m never bored and I almost always have a smile on my face.”

Now 81, Williams has survived heart surgery and cancer, but she continues to have a positive outlook on life.

Her final entry in the diary sums up that spirit.

“As I bid farewell to the diary, I will continue to play, cherish, and be mesmerized by the magic of the little miniatures of life in the dollhouse. Enjoy it, Traci, and pass it on someday to someone like us who has the ability to get lost in it. My spirit will live on in it forever.”

Last modified June 29, 2011

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