Friday, August 17, 2007

Play Along With Kathleen: Go Granny, Go Granny, Go Granny, Go!

What's it like to have a grandmother who hasn't quite grown up?

Ask my grandchildren. My toys probably outnumber theirs, and I'm talking Toy toys. I've taken my share of ribbing from one or two fellow riders about my rather large doll collection. Vintage Barbies are among my faves. I only had two when I was a kid--a ponytail and later a bubblecut--and a few outfits. Now I have more than 50, and a good share of the clothes, circa 1959-1971. Back in the day, you didn't get too many "storebought" fashions. You got a few "mommy-mades" and a pile of scarves for the purpose of stylin'.

It's that stylin' experience that comes in handy on hot summer afternoons when the the grandgirls are tired of the Bratz (What idiot came up with that lame excuse for a doll, anyway?) and depressed by another round of raking through the toybox for the latest recalls.

"Darlings, come to Grandma. Let me show you what we played with back in the old days. A scrap of cloth, a box safety pins, and knot here, a tuck there, and presto!"

Here's part of my stash of lacy stuff, shiny stuff, drapey stuff, lots of tulle--mostly from the remnant table at Joanne's. Hair clips and bobby pins, elastic, a plastic hairband, maybe a birthday princess crown. The girls love to see Nana's "dress-up bag" come out of the closet. Because look what you can do!

Oh, yes, even at 3 and 5 these two have a passion for fashion. Forget Bratz. We study Project Runway. The Knot wedding fashion features you can get On Demand. (We love Vera Wang.) Most of the fabric remnants we used here are about a yard's worth. And tulle is cheap and very useful.

We do princesses, movie stars, dancing girls, glam queens...

And brides, of course.

I'm always looking for creative ways to entertain the grandchildren. Imagination, thy name is woman! What's your favorite young-at-heart way to make magic?


Dara Edmondson said...

How fun! I often helped my daughter dress her Barbies when she was little until one day when my son said, "Why is Barbie wearing a sock?" And I thought I'd been so clever cutting arm and neck holes in an orphaned sock to make a dress!

Cindy Gerard said...

Oh Kathleen, your little ones are adorable!! Our six year old granddaughter is a diva to the max and she would Love to play dress up like this. She's been known to put on every 'play' dress she owns at the same time and then when the whim strikes here, ditch one for a different look. this instant fashion creation business would be right up her alley.
I'm heading for the fabric store and the remnant table today. thanks for the great idea.

Michele Hauf said...

I still have my Malibu Barbie tucked away in a box in the basement! And Cher and a few others.

When we were kids the coolest make-believe play involved three or four of those metal-framed folding lawn chairs and some blankets. Fold the chairs into house-shaped objects, with the folding end used to support the end of the lound chair utilized as an actual opening and closing door, and top with blankets. We'd spend hours sitting in our houses.

My kids were less into make-believe, but I do recall we had lots of fun coloring together. (I'm a coloring addict, don't you know.) But not in those dorky Sleeping Beauty or Transformers coloring books. Oh no, we had the fab Dover coloring books which were a little more detailed and featured an amazing range of subjects, from state birds, to muscle cars, to mandalas and geometrics, to historical costumes. THe kids love those, and felt a little more special to be using 'grown up' coloring books. (Though they are for all ages.)


Michele Hauf said...

lound chair? I think I need to put my glasses on! I meant lawn chair, of course.


Debra Dixon said...

Kathy-- This is the most fabulous make-believe magic! The girls see you create something from nothing. Brilliant!

I had an extensive Barbie collection but I sold it 30 years ago for $75. Yep. Didn't know any better. Thought I was really fleecing someone at the garage sale! My grandmother was a professional seamstress and my Barbie had a clothes closet to die for. Every wedding, formal, Easter dress, etc. that my grandmother ever sewed had remnants that made their way into Barbie's trip-the-light-fantastic closet.

Not to mention that my sister and I were fashion plates. LOL!

Anyway, back to magic...I always in favor of making things with kids. They get such a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. :)

Playground Monitor said...

I love your dress-up bag. I have a 14-month-old granddaughter and when she's a little older this will be perfect. Doesn't take up a lot of room but the possibilities are infinite. I remember playing dress-up with stuff from an old trunk in my grandma's storage room.

My boys were into adventure and we had woods behind our house, so as long as they had jeans and boots they were good to go. Later we got them a tent so they could camp in the back of the house. Then when they were old enough to go to the creek alone, they'd fish with a piece of string and a fishhook. Finally we bought them real fishing poles. #1 son, who is an architect now, could play for hours with blocks and Legos.

Thanks for sharing your instant fashion idea with us today.


Betina Krahn said...

Ok, gosh, Kathy-- I got tears in my eyes at the sight of your little girls in their make-believe finery! They're so cute-- you must be in heaven watching them play and playing with them. And fabric is such a WONDERFUL medium for creativity. And not just for girls. . .

My boys used to build all kinds of play places with blankets, sheets, and overturned dining chairs. Can't tell you how many "forts" and "caves" I had to tear down in order to get dinner on the table. Of course, outside in winter, such things were made of snow.

Once I found about seven different kinds of "camo" fabric at a fabric outlet and brought some of each home. The boys made bandanas, do-rags, vests, bivouacs, "sniper blinds," and desert tracks and terrain for their hot wheels and GI Joe vehicles. Finally, my mom took pieces of it home and made my eldest a quilt out of it-- which he has to this day and lets HIS boys play with.

Imagination is so cool. I have another story or two, but I'll spare you. Just, if you have kids or grands-- get them some neat fabric and watch them create!

Anonymous said...

Your girls are so cute! My youngest niece is the dress-up queen. Neither of her older sisters really got into playing dress-up. They both loved Barbies at her age. I found 3 of my barbies at my dad's house not too long ago. Added them to my nieces toybox at my house. She loves them(she is only 3) and even tried to take them home. I remember playing paperdolls that were cut out from all the catalogs. Even when I played with my barbies we would take washrags and hand towels and make beds and chairs(until I finally got the Barbie camper).

My brother and sister and I also would turn our bedroom or livingroom into the biggest tent using all our sheets and blankets. We would set up flashlights and play and read for hours in our tent/caves.


Helen Brenna said...

Hey, all, Kathy had to go out of town today, so I think she'll be back tonight to see everyone's ideas.

Dara, what a cute idea to cut a sock into Barbie clothes. I did all kinds of stuff like that when I was a kid.

My daughter loved to play dress up too, but I'd never thought of using just fabric. Brilliant, Kathy. We went to garage sales and used old dance costumes.

Something I did when my kids were little was take BIG boxes and turn them into houses. Appliance boxes work the best, refrid, dishwashers, TVs.

We had several of them. I painted the outside, cut windows and doors, wallpapered the inside and laid down carpet scraps. The kids can help too, which makes it even more fun.

I even connected 2 boxes for "rooms." I had them in our "dining room" for years. Talk about cheap, fun entertainment!

lois greiman said...

Kathy. Wow, I am so jealous. Your girls are perfect. What an honor to play make-believe again.

We're weren't much into glam when my kids were growing up. In fact, at one point I bought them each a dozen eggs and sent them out in the woods to pretend they were granades. It's a game they've never forgotten.

Christie Ridgway said...

The grandgirls are so cute! Since I have only the two boys, all my wonderful dolls (including all the clothes my mom sewed for them) are still in her attic, awaiting my own grandgirls some day.

My mom did make clothes for my boys Beanie Babies when they were little. She loved that. And the boys' Grandy has a wonderful dress-up box (my husband's brother has girls) that includes this wonderful cardigan sweater with real fur collar and cuffs that I keep swearing I'm going to steal. Yeah, I know, it's fur. But it's =old= fur. (And probably more than a little moth-eaten!)

MsHellion said...

This is absolutely adorable! I wish you were, at best, you might be my mother...

Favorite kid things I like to do:

Color. (I have lots of coloring books in my room and a box of crayons. They have Harry Potter & Captain Jack theme books now. Huzzah!)

Make tents with sheets. My favorite thing to do as a kid was make my "own room" with bed sheets draped over chairs and pinned to walls, creating a retreat room...and usually ruining about a weeks worth of laundry.

Run through the sprinklers. Hey, it's HOT in Missouri. Any reason to get sprayed with cold water holds universal appeal. One year we went one better and made an adult version of a slip & slide, using plastic tarp, soaker hoses, a water raft, and an old bed mattress (for us to crash into when we got to the end of the slide.) Particularly fun after a couple beers.

kaitlin said...

Can I just say that this entry made me feel much better about myself? I'm 30, so no kids or grandchildren, but in a lot of ways I'm still a kid at heart. :)

When I was a little girl my mom had a bunch of paper dolls I could play with. These were from the '50's, so I had a lot of character dolls from that time period. I could play for HOURS, just making up stories for the dolls while I dressed them up (must be why I'm a writer now).

With a 17 month old nephew & another baby on the way, I'm finding my childhood again. It's so much fun to see the world thru a child's eyes. It's so cool. :)

Kathleen Eagle said...

I'm back! Long day in the car, and what great ideas to come home to. And memories. Those refrigerator boxes were great houses. I remember getting in serious hot water for using one of the"good" knives to cut out the windows.

Paper dolls! I was such a fan. Rock Hudson and Doris Day. The Lennon Sisters. Roy and Dale. I had to cut out all the clothes before starting tot play. Did you know that paper dolls were a major inspiration for Ruth Handler, Barbie's creator? Very popular in the 50's. Our dolls were babies or little girls. Ruth watched her daughters play with paper dolls and realized that there was a need for a doll that was an age level beyond that we could dress in grown up clothes. She was fussy about the way the clothes fit and wanted them to look like something a young woman would actually wear, so Barbie's waist had to be unnaturally small so that the bulk of the cloth didn't make her look like she had no waist.

Thanks for the ideas. Tomorrow, lawn chairs and tents. And my next 40% off coupon from the Sunday Joann's ad is going for cammo fabric. I have a grandson, too.