Sunday, December 30, 2012

Should Old Acquaintance be Forgot

 As I mentioned before, I love making tiny things, but they aren't always easy to display on a six foot table. This little pile of mementos is one of my recent experiments in grouping tiny accessories into slightly larger vignettes.  I'm trying to make each little scene at least 1" by 1", and this one barely scrapes through!
Figuring out how to drape the letter was quite fun, but I have to confess, one of my favorite parts of making this scene was adding mildew to the book pages. I'm not sure what that says about my inner romantic! 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Time to Play

I've shown the playroom on this blog before, but it was a few years ago, and quite a bit messier then. When I did the big dollhouse cleaning, I took the oportunity to take out a few toys. Both Mom and I have a weakness for toys of all kinds, so the playroom was overflowing. When I straightened up, I decided that I would try to keep only handmade and special toys in the playroom.
I cheated a little with the furnishings in this room. The fireplace and corner cupboard are "child scale" (aka half scale) while the game table and chairs are 1/12th scale. My grandparents have a "half scale" fireplace in their real home, so I don't feel it's too much of a stretch.

This little rope bed is the third half scale piece of furniture in the room -but it's so covered with dolls I always think of it as a toy! The little baby boy in the red knit outfit is yet another doll from Lucy Coles.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

After the Dust Settles

Christmas is over, and there have been a few new additions in the dollhouses...
 The little dummy board I painted went in front of an upstairs fireplace in Mom's house.
 Mom gave me this sweet little framed needlepoint (from this Etsy shop). I thought at first I'd hang it in Pheobe's room, but now I'm thinking it may be better for the parlor.  I'll post more photos when I've made up my mind on the right spot.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Three's Company

Last Thursday, Mom finished a commission for a VERY patient customer who wanted three children for a special project. Mom made and sent the two girls off this past summer, but the little boy took a bit longer.
 I photographed him before his buttons went on, but I was racing the daylight! He went to the post office the next morning, so (fingers crossed) he should be spending Christmas in his new home!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Before the Ball

In a quiet window nook, there are signs of a party soon to come. A pretty fan with a painted silk scene and some long kid gloves have been abandoned here, along with household advice books (just in case anything goes wrong tonight...)
I made the fan a while ago. You can read that post here. These gloves are one of the most amazing miniatures I own. They aren't the typical flat piece of leather cut into a glove shape. If you look closely at the photo above, you can see tiny stitches along each finger. Someone actually a real pair of miniature gloves! I wish I knew who made these!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Holiday Tradition, and a Before and After

I've decided I'm keeping the smaller tree in the parlor this year, and the larger one will stay in storage.With that choice made, I really need to find/make a few more gifts for under the tree.
To fill some of the space around the tree, I started  pulling a few toys from around the dollhouse. This little cart is great for holding some of my favorite dolls from Lucy Coles. I have an unconscionable number of these little dolls- and I love every single one! My mother gave me a miniature doll as my Christmas gift every year for most of my childhood. Every year I'd have to hunt all over the (big) tree for the tiny little  hidden somewhere in its branches. The doll
The cart is a plastic toy which I repainted. Here's the before picture of the cart. It wasn't bad, actually, pretty good from a distance. I liked how delicate it was, but the sheen of the plastic bothered me.

Here's a better view of the cart after. I primed the piece with grey, and dry brushed over the top to look like flaking white paint over weathered wood.  I used metallic silver and rust highlights on the wheels. I think the handle still needs a sprig of greenery, and a big bow.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Itsy-Bitsy Baby

 Mom's toddler dolls are always among my favorites. This little one fits in the palm of my hand!

 I love her curious expression. Mom kept her outfit rather simple, but there are some pretty lace details if you look closely.
The lace at her hem is one of our favorites. The woman who sold us the lace said that it was a japenese lace, and that it generally sells out far quicker than she can reorder!

My favorite part of this doll is her little kid shoes and lacey socks!


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Naughty or Nice?

Today's post is going to be really short, because Christmas decorating is in full swing around here!
I made this little corset following this tutorial (I had to resize the pattern to dollhouse scale) I've tried a few different (mini) corset patterns over the years, and the nice thing about this one is that it really does have a very narrow, hourglass shape. However,  if you try this tutorial yourself, you should know that the hips of this particular pattern were huge. I took them in a bit, and they still look a bit large to me!

 I kept the front panels of the corset plain, but I just bought some silver thread, and am thinking I might be able to fake some little hook and eye clasps down the front with a few tiny stitches. I'll post again if my experiments are successful!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Cook for Every Kitchen

I thought I'd share another of Mom's dolls today. This cook is waiting for us to find the perfect tray or bowl for her to hold.
Though Mom has made several cooks, they always end up looking quite different. Though Mom used a similar dress and apron pattern for this cook, the choice of  red stripe or grey windowpane fabrics alone make a big difference in the look! The dolls take on even more life when Mom starts giving them props and activities, like this cook plucking a chicken.
Mom says that between the apron, cuffs, and other details of the cooks, she sometimes feels like she's dressing each one twice!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Little Things That Sparkle

Ever since we started selling at shows I've been wrestling with the problem of size. I love making tiny things. In fact, in most cases, the smaller an object is, the more fun I have making it. But most of those little things are simply lost on a 6 foot table. So I thought I would put together a few "dressed" pieces of furniture for the next show.
The paint job on this vanity needs to be reworked. There are a few places I'm satisfied with, and a few others that I can't wait to sand down and paint over! What was I thinking with those drawers?  The gloves and pink flower I stole out of my own pink dollhouse. The lace dresser scarf was a scrap of vintage lace which my grandmother gave to me. 
The little leather tray with the elaborate saphire and pearl brooch is one of my favorite pieces on the dressing table. I had planned to add a white silk pad to the tray, but then I found a bit of trim which perfectly matched my favorite silk, and thought it was even better choice.

On the right hand side, I added a number of perfume bottles, a jar of cold cream, and perfume box all from my stash. The figurine was one I've had for a few years, but I repainted her Barbie-pink dress and blonde hair. The little compact I made specifically for this dressing table. It still needs its mirror and powder puff.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Toying With Shelves

 This little bookshelf  started out as a plain white impulse buy. I thought it might be short enough to work in one of my attic rooms. But after trying it in multiple spaces, I just couldn't find a spot for it. So I went for plan B, which was a shelf full of slightly battered but still cheerful toys.
 I'm not sure where I got the idea for this color combination, but it worked well with a bunch of my vintage paper toys. The little boy doll in blue was one that I hand sculpted years ago. I'm glad he finally found a home! The toy car and rabbit were metal miniatures that I painted.

Friday, December 7, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

I love decorating for Christmas. I love the anticipation of it- fussing with a red bow here, piling Clementines there (though they're usually half gone an hour later!) So it's no surprise that my dollhouse gets a good dose of Christmas decorations too.
I made a bunch of little mistletoe sprigs this year, and have been having fun finding spots to put them.
They're quite tiny! I added a hook made of thicker wire to the top of each sprig to aid in hanging them. Usually I use sticky wax to hang items, but that can create dirty spots over time. So far the hooks alone seems to be working well
I really like this sprig hung over the door to the music room!

I also decorated a little lycopodium tree. I made the tree a year (two?) ago following Casey's tutorial, but I never posted it because I hadn't decorated it. I figured if I didn't start to decorate it this year, I'd never do it, so I finally bit the bullet. I was running low on appropriate beads for ornaments, so I had to get creative. I added lots of Victorian paper ornaments, and some repainted plastic charms like the snowflake (bottom left of the tree). I wanted a few smaller ornaments, so I dipped glue covered wire in glitter to make some gold icicles. I also dipped a few gluey wires in no-hole beads to make small irregular ornaments. You can just see one at the bottom center of the tree. I think they're rather effective from a distance. I still need to make a topper, and when I can get to the bead store I'll add a few more ornaments, but I'm happy with it for now.
I actually have a much larger tree that usually goes in the parlor, but the bigger size makes it look a little modern. I haven't quite decided whether historical accuracy or holiday spirits should carry the day. I may move this tabletop tree to the music room, and put the larger tree in parlor. Either way, I need to make new fake gifts. These red and gold packages are beautiful, but they're a little too perfect for realism!
 Last of all is this little Christmas candle I made last summer. You won't see this in my dollhouse. I only made one, and it sold to a lovely customer at Philadelphia. I liked so much I couldn't help sharing it here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


I'm making an effort to add houseplants to my dollhouse. My dollhouse isn't a very historically accurate Victorian home, but I like to make it a little more realistic/period where I can. I've collected a number of gorgeous empty vases over the years, and I'm slowly putting together plant kits to fill them.
The philodendron kit is one of my favorites because it's because it doesn't have to be permanent. I don't need to commit to filling the vase up with dirt. I can just arrange the loose wire stems in the vase, letting the bushy leaves hide the lack of dirt!

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Gift For Mom

Every year, I try to make one or two miniature gifts for Mom. This one is a project I've had in mind for several years. Mom loves dummy boards in both real life and miniature. We also have a really sweet English Cocker Spaniel who loves to sleep in front of a fire. Sometimes she curls up so close to the fireplace that she's nearly lying in the coals! For a few months, I toyed with the idea of commissioning a dummy board from Pastmastery, but just as I was ready to commit, they announced they would no longer be making miniature dummy boards.
The other day, I finally decided to try painting one myself. Since I couldn't get the dog to remain in the correct position for long (she's getting old, and kept putting her head down to sleep) I had to do the initial sketch from a photograph. I painted her with acrylic paints on thin birch plywood.

There are still a few touch ups I need to do, but most of the painting is done. I added a toothpick to the photo above for scale.

Here's the back, showing the triangular support piece. I still need to sign and date it, something I always forget to do. It doesn't matter too much when things we make are just staying in our own collections, but we have to double check that everything is signed before each show!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A New Room

Alright, so this is a bit embarrassing to admit, but after three years of blogging, there are still rooms in my dollhouse I've never shown on this blog. One of those rooms is the nursery. This room is a tiny little space that was originally the bathroom in my house. It was also one of the hardest spaces to redo. When my uncle built my dollhouse, he built it to withstand a lot of playing. He  used some sort of industrial strength glue to stick plastic tile sheets to the walls in this room. When the house was redone, the only way we could get those tiles off the wall was with strong solvents which literally melted the plastic.
This room has always been a challenge because it's so narrow. Believe it or not, I had a bespaq highchair stuffed in here as well, up until the Great House Cleaning of two weeks ago. The room is still far from finished, but it will get there eventually!

I love the little girl in the crib. I call her Patience (because she clearly needs to learn it!) The only trouble with her is that she is completely naked, and sculpted in a way that makes her impossible to temporarily dress.  I've given her a bit of silk ribbon for modesty at the moment, but she should really be sitting in a little bath tub!
The petite point carpet in this room was stolen from the bedroom next door. Normally, I have a gorgeous round rug in here, but I prefer the way the rectangular one fits the room. The pink chest at the front left holds a few pairs of tiny baby shoes. My little sterling porridger and baby cup are piled on top until I decide what to do with them now that the highchair is out.
The (crooked, oops) pictures on the right wall are Godey prints. I had a bit of an obsession with them when I was 11 or 12, and collected a few for my real bedroom. The corner shelf on the back wall holds a few little painted charms, including the Owl and Pussycat in their 'pea-green boat' and a little Punch and Judy that hit each other when you press a lever on the back.