Maia’s Dollhouse of Cards & a Question


Dollhouse of Cards

My kids surprise me all the time with the things they do and the things they know. I love it.

I’m far from the only influence in their lives, especially Maia’s. She has her friends and their families as well as her classmates and teachers at school, among others. She also has her own growing well of experiences and ideas to draw on. Add in her creative mind to put a spin on an artwork, project, or play idea and she can come up with some pretty amazing things.

Dollhouse of Cards 08

Maia has been building up a storm this summer. Building with blocks, building with legos, and building with cards.

Dollhouse of Cards 01

I think her card houses are pretty amazing. Daphne does, too.

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I didn’t realize until she was on her third pyramid of cards that tape was involved.

Dollhouse of Cards 05

Apparently she had taped each pair of cards together along one edge. 

At first I thought, “Well, that explains how she was able to create such big card houses!” (I remember making card houses as a kid—they didn’t usually stay up too well.) 

And then I thought, “Wow, that’s pretty smart!”

Rather than thinking of the tape as cheating at card houses somehow, I realized that she was being very resourceful and creative in solving the problem of card houses collapsing while she was trying to build the biggest and best structures. (They were still somewhat unstable, by the way, as each pair of cards were only taped in one spot.)

I don’t know where she learned about building card houses—not from me, anyway. And I don’t know if someone suggested the tape idea or if she came up with it on her own.

Dollhouse of Cards 09

Adding the dolls and animal friends was all her idea, though. She turned her house of cards into a dollhouse!

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The cards are obviously not your run-of-the-mill deck of playing cards. In case you’re curious, they are a set of SARK cards bought when I was depressed and needed her color-soaked art and words of inspiration. They helped me then and are apparently more widely useful than I thought.

You know what I just realized?

It’s been a while since I just shared a moment in our lives like this. Somehow I’ve gotten more and more focused on art activities so that most of what I post is kids’ art. I know that’s always been my overall focus, but I used to write about other things more, too—our lives, cooking together, children’s books we loved, creative play, my own sewing, etc. I miss that. Maybe it’s time I brought more of that back into the blog. We still cook together quite a bit, read books all the time, play, live (obviously). 

What do you think? Do you prefer the current focus of my blog which seems to be pretty much All Art All the Time. Or would you still be interested in reading if I wrote about some of that other stuff, too? (No hurt feelings either way!)

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  • Reply
    August 23, 2012 at 6:47 am

    I miss the other stuff… I always enjoyed a little insight into what you and your kids were doing together and how you were being creative.

  • Reply
    Alicia G
    August 23, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Both please!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2012 at 9:56 am

    I love seeing your whole creative world. I think that is why I was initially so drawn to your blog, you inspired lots of activities – art related and otherwise. Obviously you should only share what you are comfortable with but it is always exciting and reassuring to see what you guys have going on.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2012 at 10:08 am

    I was very excited to find your blog for the art content, but I love all your posts! I think we may have to try building some card houses today…

  • Reply
    August 23, 2012 at 10:37 am

    I love seeing how life and art intersect with kids — in the kitchen, the backyard, the living room floor. Keep it coming!

  • Reply
    Tracy R.
    August 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    I really liked this post (and of course, I really like your art-centric ones, too). Ryan has been building block houses for his toy bugs, so I think he and Maia are somewhat on the same page. :)

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    August 23, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    I love this kind of post. It reminds me that sometimes our children show the most creativity and problem solving skills when left to their own devices. Sometimes we think that to foster creativity we need to organize an elaborate project. It’s nice to remember how beautiful a childhood of entertaining one’s self can be! :)

  • Reply
    Amy Fields
    August 23, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    I would love to see you post on other things as well, but only what you’re comfortable sharing. I feel like I “get” what people are trying to do when I see more than one side of them. Love the card house!! I used to build those all of the time when I was a kid!!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    I love your blog and all your art ideas ! Both would be great !

  • Reply
    August 23, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    I miss the more personal posts! You have a unique perspective.
    And we have been loving Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb. I don’t think we would have heard about it if not for you.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    I love SARK. Inspiring and girly.
    I like the little peeks into other parts of your life. And you don’t overdue it and definitely comes across as real and makes you a more dynamic person! At the same time, you are also showing us how to be creative in different ways such as baking- I have baked 2 pies with Naomi so far because of you! And, that sometimes, you just don’t feel up to doing an art project with your kids, or maybe anything else for that matter.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    plus, I love to hear about the blocks! Got Naomi vintage tinker toys for her birthday to build on her block collection……

  • Reply
    August 23, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    I love the “other stuff” too. :)

  • Reply
    August 23, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Love seeing a blend. It’s refreshing :)

  • Reply
    August 23, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    I like a good smattering of personal stories and insight! Share away! :)

  • Reply
    August 23, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    I’m interested about the other stuff too but would prefer if you kept it in a separate blog so that it would be easy for me to navigate what info i am looking for.
    Thanks again for all your sharing. Its much appreciated.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    I love the personal stories mixed in! I love your blog and find it an amazing source for ideas, instructions, and so much more. I read regularly and am grateful for your inspiring blog!

  • Reply
    August 24, 2012 at 12:54 am

    Love the mix! I find you blog fairly searchable so I don’t mind it all in one. And really what isn’t art? I see this post as art.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    August 23, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Thanks, everyone!! I’ll see about adding some more of the personal and everyday back into The Artful Parent.
    And, Nancy, I’ve been considering a second blog. We’ll see…
    For now, hopefully you can use the search form or the arts and crafts directory to find what you are looking for. If not, let me know!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    August 23, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Tinker toys are fun!
    We have a bunch of mismatched blocks — but the girls make good use of them. I’d love a wonderful big set of wooden blocks (like I had as a kid), but they are awfully expensive.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    August 23, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    So glad you’ve been baking with Naomi! And pies! My favorite. :)

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    August 23, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    That’s still one of our faves!

  • Reply
    Kathleen Avins
    August 24, 2012 at 10:09 am

    My own definition of art tends to be quite broad. Certainly, I see Maia’s house of cards as a work of art — it never even occurred to me not to think of it that way! Cooking can be art, sewing can be art, reading aloud can be art — and ideally, just crafting the life you want can be a work of art! I would love to read about all the creative expressions in your home and family. Thanks for asking!

  • Reply
    August 24, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    I love the posts that give me art project ideas. But I also love all the posts that come from the heart and share a little something about your life. I don’t like the increasing focus on giveaways and sponsors, although I understand that’s how blogging is these days.

  • Reply
    August 25, 2012 at 2:30 am

    I love the personal stories showing creativity in everyday life. Those stories make me feel like I’m reading a blog of a friend :). I have been reading your blog since you were mentioned in Mothering Magazine, and am grateful to you for sharing your artful parenting world.

  • Reply
    August 26, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    I love the step by step instructions with pictures. That is the only way I can repeat the fun activities. Thank You.

  • Reply
    August 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    I like reading about your life!

  • Reply
    Andrea Mummert
    September 2, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Yes, I really like the mix of the personal, day -to-day with the projects. I don’t think you need two separate blogs (sounds stressful)… Artful Parent seems well organized for searching by category if folks just want projects.
    I heard something on NPR that made me think of your question here – the whole interview was interesting (about how to use the internet wisely & in enriching ways)…but in particular, the author offers a few brief thoughts about how when authors/ content providers let us into to know them a bit as people, it makesreaders more interested in, more trusting of the information they provide. The interview is at
    Looking forward to whatever you are moved to share

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