Put a big red bow on Lindsay Wiseman's new dollhouse and it would make a terrific Valentine's Day present.
Lucky for Lindsay, though, her fifth birthday rolled around a couple of weeks ago, so she didn't have to wait for today's holiday to get the gift her grandparents, Caroll and Lowell Eye of Topeka, had worked more than 10 months to complete.
The Eyes said they'd hoped to have the dollhouse ready by Christmas, but couldn't get it done despite some 12-hour work days. Lindsay's birthday, Jan. 26, became their next gift-giving opportunity.
"When we saw her face the first time she saw it (the house)," Mrs. Eye said, "it was worth it."
Lindsay showed off a whole community of about 20 Barbie and Ken dolls who will make good use of the house including Birthday Barbie, who came on her birthday cake this year and some of her mother's old Barbies from when the doll was first on the market.
Lorrie Wiseman said she and her husband, Tom, have to move their kitchen stove to maneuver their daughter's giant dollhouse around a china cabinet and down the hall to her bedroom. Luckily, the bedroom is on the first floor and not downstairs like Lindsay's sister Kari's.
The blue (Lindsay's favorite color) and white house was built, Mr. Eye said, to accommodate its elaborate furnishings all of which were handmade by Mrs. Eye.
"I think I have as much fun making this stuff as they (the children) do playing with it," Mrs. Eye said, noting she never had a dollhouse as a child.
Lindsay pointed out the tub and other bathroom fixtures, a bed complete with mattress springs, dressing screen, a tiny birthday cake with the birthday girl's slice cut out, tiny books that open, a piano, coffee table, lamps, clock, couch and chair all made of yarn.
Atop the house, she showed off her dolls' new patio, complete with such furnishings as a gas grill, sun umbrella and spa. There's even a tennis court, complete with rackets and net.
Her grandfather said Lindsay always had taken good care of her toys and her grandmother predicted, "It will be just like this (`mint condition') when she's done with it."
Mrs. Eye said she used 78 10 x13 -inch sheets of plastic canvas and more than 3,968 yards of yarn, as well as buttons, dowel sticks, beads, threads, chenille sticks, Velcro, wire and fabric to make all the pieces.
She orders pattern books that include the pieces by mail from Texas.
The most difficult to make, she said, were the legs on the living room couch and chair, which required five "very small pieces" of plastic canvas each.
"Trying to hold them and sewing them on one piece at a time was rather difficult," she said.
To figure out the house's design, Mrs. Eye said she and her husband set the furniture up on their basement floor and masking-tapped the rooms off around it.
Mr. Eye then made the house in one evening, and Mrs. Eye painted it and added curtains and pictures.
Next, she said, she's planning to make Lindsay a nursery, soda shop and three-car garage for which Mr. Eye will have to build an addition onto the present house.
In about three years, she added, their grandson will be getting a complete farm that she and her husband are making, and in five years, another granddaughter, recently born, probably will be in line for a house like Lindsay's.
"I call it my labor of love," she said.