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Rally of the Dolls

Okay, so Thursday evening, Friday afternoon... it's all relative.

I didn't feel like posting yesterday evening because the day ended up badly, but it was rescued a bit by Chinese food before the migraine took over and I went to bed.  I grabbed one of the fortune cookies this morning, and it said "A friend asks only for your time not your money", so um... yesh.  Taking the time to post.

About the doll house!

It's well on the way to being done (insofar as anything like that is ever actually done); it's on its stand, the outside of the box is trimmed and waiting for an outside staircase, and the roof garden is done.

(I typed that as "rood garden".  I've been watching silly History Channel programs on religion and Halloween all morning, including interviews with a "Druid Princess" [orly?] talking about Samhain.  She may as well be describing Sam Spade for all the accuracy she's shown so far, but the History Channel does love showing kooky people performing "rites".)


Anyway, the overall house looks like this:

 

I trimmed out the box to match the main house, and added roses growing up both sides:

 
Those were quite fun to make; I found some scrapbook stickers that were paper flowers on three-dimensional stems, removed the paper flowers, and glued on roses from bridal picks.  The ones on the window side were foam, and already dyed, but the ones on the door side were white clay, so I painted them, as well as a smaller bundle I put in a pot for the rooftop garden:

 

I actually did quite a bit of painting - I painted/patina'ed the flowerpots in the garden, painted some plates in the Dedham Rabbit style, and painted the styrene ice box model kit I got in lieu of a modern refrigerator:

 

The icebox was quite cool - I got to play with drybrushing, which is always fun:



I also did some fabric work - a while ago, I got a bag of random lace scraps that I had put aside and forgotten about, and I was delighted when I looked at it and found a number of laces and edgings that were perfect for doll house size stuff.  I edged towels and a hat, I made a lace curtain for the bathroom, and completely re-did the linens and coverlet on the bed (since it was a cheap broken bed I got in a bag of random stuff at an antique booth).  The bed also had a matching vanity seat that I re-did to match, and it's now much nicer than the cheap gold rickrack braid it had before:

 

All the bits were sewn or glued together - the sheet and pillow are a old linen handkerchief (they have the best weight for miniature fabrics), and the blanket (cut from a larger acrylic throw) is edged with some of the old trim (I sewed it on using a modified blanket stitch).  I also glued on the trim as a bedskirt, and replaced the rickrack with a blue satin ribbon, also from the scrap bag.  And here it is in the bedroom:

 

Here's a slightly differently arranged view, where you can see the crocheted "blanket" I put in the cradle:

 

The trouble with modern doll house furniture is that it comes upholstered with the most dreadful fabrics, practically requiring re-working.  The fix is temporary until I decide how I want to do up the crib.  Technically, it should have a pillow, as Victorian cribs did have pillows.

Here are pictures of the other fabric bits:

   

The lace on the hat and the towels is adorable - I have it in pink and white.  For the towels, I used the kind of terry cloth that is used for baby clothes - I bought a couple of onesies from the thrift store and cut them up (I especially like the pink stripe!).  It's much thinner than real toweling, and hangs better.  I used the decorative woven edge from a hand towel for the bath mat (I'm still browsing for the perfect pink, and the blue will do in the meantime). 

You can't see it in these pictures, but I added a beadboard wainscotting to the bathroom, with a trim line at the top - it really makes the bathroom look good.  I still need to put baseboard trim in a couple of the rooms, but it's really fun playing with all the little details.

I found a couple of neat things very cheap for the vanity table - they were in a "$1 bargain bin" at the Emmittsburg Antique Mall, and initially, the "collectible box" looked pretty nondescript, but it was actually a set of dressing table items that are supposed to be glued together.  It was incomplete, but I ended up with a powder box and a hair catcher box (the one with a hole in the top), and in the drawer (I forgot to take a picture of it) of the vanity, there's a tiny tray with a nail file, a nail buffer, and a button hook.  How cool is that for a dollar?



The Neiman-Marcus box on the vanity stool also came from the same bargain bin, with a couple of other bags in the same little $1 Ziploc. 

I like to put in vintage pieces when I find them, and two of my favourites are the bedside table and lamp - I got them in different booths at the same antique mall, and I love them, in part because they are so odd looking:



Such a crazy lamp - I've never seen one like it!  The fabric is a little detached from the shade frame, and the paper lining is a little shredded, but I'm not going to try and restore it yet for fear of messing it up.  I need to get to know it thoroughly before I can think of how the shade can best be stabilized so it doesn't get damaged further.

Here are pictures of the other rooms - I've shown the dining room and kitchen before, but y'all have not seen the sitting room fully furnished.

Dining room, with table laid for tea.  Grandpa is not properly dressed, but he's a modern DH doll I picked up at the thrift.  He'll be getting a new outfit (with a silk waistcoat!) soon:

 

I have way too many female dolls, and only one male (I'm hoping Christmas might rectify this a bit).  The detail photo is of the sideboard, because I love making pots of flowers, and I particularly like this bowl of white roses.  The front door is completely impassable, but I don't care.

The kitchen, where the cook is ironing a towel - a scrap left over from making the bed linens. The detail photo is the top of the dresser, where I painted canisters for stuff, and temporarily put one of my new "Dedham pottery" plates:

 
(We're only a teeny bit crowded here, but what the heck.  It makes things more interesting.)

And finally, the sitting room, in all its glory: 

 

Bob originally made this room - so he put in the window, the trim, the wallpapers, the fireplace, and some of the furniture.  He is very good with his hands, and if I ever get the really awesome Georgian house kit I want, I will be relying utterly on his skill with building models to get it right.  Notice the plates taking up double duty on the mantel - I found they kept falling off the kitchen dresser, so I moved them.  The little owl picture in the second photo is actually a picture of a greeting card, glued to paper, then glued to a scrapbooking widget that looked like a frame.  I finished it off with a little Liquid Laminate, which is like a very clear varnish that dries very fast.  Catalogues (of which we get millions) often have great small reproductions of pictures they have for sale, and I keep a clippings envelope with all the ones I really like.

Speaking of model building, I have a really neat Victorian cast iron stove kit (Chrysonbon makes great furniture kits in styrene, and they're amazingly detailed - they made the icebox kit I put together) that I want to put in the kitchen to replace the stove (it's modeled on a 1920s stove, and a little bit too big for the tiny kitchen), but it terrifies me every time I open the kit and see the 40+ teeny tiny bits.  I think I'll ease Bob into the whole model thing with that, since I feel faint when I look at it.  The icebox I could handle, but I'm not a miniaturist or a model builder. 

Strange, I know.  I guess it depends on the kind of thing I'm fiddling with.  If I can hot-glue or sew it, I'm good.  Maybe the airplane glue makes my brain go fuzzy and I panic.

And finally, the roof top garden!  Bob suggested this when I was fiddling with adding the box to the house, and trying to work out what to do to the top so that the bathroom window wasn't blocked.  I bought brick patterned paper (the leftovers went on the stove wall of the kitchen) and a set of fence pieces (actually, I had to buy two sets, since I needed a set and a half to completely edge the box), and after adding the roof trim, I worked out where to put the fencing in, and glued it into place.

(This required a little bit of measuring, since the eaves of the house overlap the box, and the fence can't fit under it.  Since I'm normally an "eyeball it and call it good" kind of girl, this demanded a bit of thought on my part.  I am actually quite proud to say that I only needed one small adjustment to make it fit perfectly.)

 
I love the fence.  I love the furniture, too - another cheap find in a bag.  The hanging plant you can barely see hanging from the gingerbread came from England, and all the other plants I made myself.

I love making little potted plants - from choosing the flowers, painting the pots (and the flowers, sometimes!) making leaves or utilizing different leaves from other silk flowers - I have way too many plants.  If any of my friends happen to want a miniature plant or two, let me know, and I'll make some, since I already have almost too many, and I can't see myself stopping.  :)

I found a great plant stand in the same place I found the bedroom lamp, and it fit little wooden pots almost perfectly, so I filled it:

 
...and I loved the weird tiny purple grape-like bits so much, I filled another pot with them. 

I also did up the front door of the house for the season:


The potted flowers are permanently glued, since they're generic enough to be whatever I need for the season (I'll cover them with cotton wool for the winter as "snow"), but all the other bits, including the leaves on the steps, are removable.  The pumpkins are miniature tree ornaments, and the wreath, window ornaments, leaves, and trick or treat bag (with candy!) are all scrapbooking stickers.

It's funny - about seven years ago, miniatures were all the rage, and making little diorama scenes was the thing to do.  I hear scrapbooking has become less popular, but the stores are still crammed with stuff, so I always browse the stickers to see what's there.  It seems the love of miniatures hasn't really gone away, since I find great stuff all the time, but it's definitely gotten, um... flatter.

There's still lots to do, but it's definitely looking good!

Comments

( 21 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
wortschmiedin
Oct. 30th, 2009 07:36 pm (UTC)
A-mazing
tradarcher
Oct. 30th, 2009 07:41 pm (UTC)
Very nice. And very amazing.
gwacie
Oct. 30th, 2009 07:41 pm (UTC)
Whee! Fun! Thank you for sharing this and all the little details :)

If you ever get to Chicago, the Art Institute there has a whole collection of miniature rooms that are amazing and might give you some ideas for future houses ;)
snobahr
Oct. 30th, 2009 07:47 pm (UTC)
The 7 year old girl inside of me in squealing with delight, while the adult is horrified over what sort of mess that would be, if it were a real house, and an earthquake hit.

What a gorgeous job you've done!

Oh, and Grandpa there is Uncle Boris, who's always been a bit ahead of his time, fashion-wise.

brickhousewench
Oct. 30th, 2009 07:48 pm (UTC)
OMG, your little blue and white bunny plates are so adorable! I'm so impressed that you painted all those teeny tiny little bunnies! *gawks*
aliskye
Oct. 30th, 2009 07:53 pm (UTC)
That is so amazingly detailed. I'm awed!
kitlizzy
Oct. 30th, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
*dies*

omfg squee

WANT :)

And the rabbit plates you *painted* are just killing me. !!!
shadowsong
Oct. 30th, 2009 08:23 pm (UTC)
the purple grape-y flowers look like lilacs - you just need to figure out how to make busy stems for them! :D
pinkleader
Oct. 30th, 2009 08:23 pm (UTC)
When I saw the painted bunneh plates on Saturday I had to repress a squee so loud it would have shook your farm neighbors homes. Very cute, I died.

I also liked the dentures on the sink, but you had me at miniature bunny plates.
firehauke
Oct. 30th, 2009 09:16 pm (UTC)
wow, what talent on putting this together! Such a labor of love.
elasait
Oct. 30th, 2009 09:36 pm (UTC)
This is me doing a fangirl squee--dollhouses!!!!
my_stitching
Oct. 30th, 2009 09:41 pm (UTC)
Very cool!
cbellfleur
Oct. 30th, 2009 10:19 pm (UTC)
That is just awesome. I found the mouse in the kitchen - someone needs to wake up that lazy cat in the parlor!
attack_laurel
Oct. 30th, 2009 11:12 pm (UTC)
Hee - there are actually two on the kitchen dresser. :)
cbellfleur
Oct. 30th, 2009 11:33 pm (UTC)
Found the other one!
msmcknittington
Oct. 31st, 2009 02:16 am (UTC)
Squee! Miniature stuffs! It makes me sad that I no longer have the dollhouse I had growing up. It does, however, make me want to dig out the 18" porcelain doll I made Elizabethan undies for, though. She never complained when I stuck pins in her while draping patterns . . .

I only had one male doll for my dollhouse, too, because most of the male dolls were kind of strange looking. And their clothes were usually glued on! That always made me so angry, because even if he had a stupid, creepy face at least I could dress him nicely, but nooooo, his felt pants wouldn't come off. Hmmph.
not_justagirl
Oct. 31st, 2009 02:20 am (UTC)
*mentally rumages through years old scrapbooking stuff* I'm pretty sure I have some miniature 'charms' from when I scrapbooked still... as well as some of those frames. I'll keep you in mind when I sort that case if you'd like. I'd rather see stuff used than stored.
theodorad
Oct. 31st, 2009 01:18 pm (UTC)
I want to be this cool when I grow up.
magnacarta13
Oct. 31st, 2009 07:34 pm (UTC)
Stunningly beautiful work!
victory_raven
Nov. 1st, 2009 11:17 pm (UTC)
Please excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the floor here...
gianetta
Nov. 2nd, 2009 03:04 am (UTC)
I love the roses on the house!
( 21 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )

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