Sunday, January 13, 2019

Good Finds

So. I wrote a lovely post this morning and posted it to my other blog by mistake. Not thinking, I deleted it and lost everything, so here I am trying to recreate what I wrote earlier, and it not going well, so I am going to upload my photos and go from there. Hang on a second.

My husband's grandfather in the early years farmed back in the day when he used a six hitch of draft horses to pull the thresher to harvest wheat. Later he turned the farming over to his son-in-law and worked construction building and remodeling everything from sheds to houses. He always said that it was easier to start over than it was to renovate. That pretty much sums up my make-over of the Storybook cottage. It would have been easier to buy a new kit and build from scratch, but here I am deep in the project.

Wallpapering over the current cute little bears is my first task. I decided not to try to strip it off down to the bare wood because I don't know what sort of glue was used, nor do I know where the tape wire is. Since the house is assembled, I have to make templates of the walls to cut wallpaper, so I use computer paper to shape the pattern. Sounds pretty easy, but the walls have angles and windows that make it difficult to make a good pattern. It takes several fittings to get the pattern accurate. This wall gave me problems because I had cut around the the window frame. I had a very hard time getting it the cuts accurate.

I have done a lot of cutting and recutting. Finally I decided to fold a 12x12 sheet of card stock in half and folded my crude computer paper template in half and cut the shape that way to get both sides the same--like when we were in elementary school and the art teacher taught us how to cut shapes, especially hearts for Valentine's Day on the fold to get a uniform heart or Christmas tree.

What a mess.

Here is bad photo of a bad template.

Out of desperation I took a photo of the wall so see if I could use  it to cut the notches for the window sill. Didn't work.  

I worked most of the morning trying to get that last wall covered. Finally I cut an accurate template. Now I wait for wallpaper from to arrive. I bought really pink scrapbook paper with cute little unicorns on it for the wallpaper, but it was too pink and too busy. I searched for hours looking for just the right color and pattern. I decided that I wanted a neutral color that with a vague pattern that would not compete with the toys. I chose a beige damask that will give the little store a nice Victorian feeling.

Now to find cool toys. Previously the store sold teddy bears. A lot of bears. So while the husband visited a sporting goods store, I went to Tuesday Morning, the kind of store that you don't go in with a list of things to look for--things that you need or want-- you just go in to see what you can find. Along with a stack of wash clothes and coffee syrup for my husband I found things for me.

How many of your mothers stood in line outside of Target in the '80s to get your first cabbage patch doll? This mom didn't. When I saw this little one with a cute little baby and dog, I knew that they had to go in the store and right next to the cabbage patch doll was American Girl doll. She is comes apart and the pieces are interchangeable. They are sort of like Legos.

I also found these little cacti that are perfect for the Bellingham Farmhouse that is a Texas farmhouse. They are a little out of scale, but Texas grows big things. 

Love these

I have been playing with the layout. I have a lot of things to put in the store and it is a small space. The little girls look cute and fit in nicely.

Instead of the arched wall, I am thinking that a nice railing will give the allusion of two rooms. Originally I wanted this bay window area to be a reading room. Maybe not.

I don't often get to go shopping with my daughters. The older one lives in Denver while the younger one is closer, both are busy moms, but Jennifer and I and two of the three girls, the 12 year old and the 6 year old spent Saturday shopping. We ended the day at our favorite antique flea market.

Flea markets often don't lend good results, but this time I had good luck.

I have thing for chairs, even in my real house. I could not resist these two. I found them at the end of our tour of the junk store. They were in cabinet with other very nice pieces. I also bought a dresser for Lily's house.


I also like pianos. Most of my houses have a piano. This one reminds me one that my mother had; it's out in barn now, but has been so badly neglected over the years, it will end up in the landfill one day. My mother played the piano and sang when I was little. I can still hear her voice filling the house with her opera music.


And a fairy god mother. Every toy store needs one.

My daughter found these pieces, a sink and stove along with the pots and pans and dishes and toaster.

These are nice pieces. I am not sure just where they will be used, but they will find a place.


The last item at the flea market was this little handmade Christmas tea kettle. I want to do a Christmas house one day, so I am collecting things. 

I've also been looking for miniature toys on eBay. This little girl arrived in the mail Saturday. She is just so cute--old but dear, and she needs a new dress. I've emailed Dragonfly to see if one of their little dresses will fit her.


Hobby Lobby is adding new minis, too. At first I thought I found some cute little Jello molds. Do people still mold Jello? Anyway they are fancy cake pans along with the pink rolling pin and storage container. I'll do a pink kitchen someday. 


 Lily has a family for her house now. It is a large family. Mom and dad are relaxing, deciding if they should put away the Christmas decorations.

 The five kids are up stairs listening to sister play the piano. It is little one that might be Renwal or a cheap imitation of the 1950s metal dollhouse furnishings. I picked it out of a grab bag and didn't notice that it is warped, but it will be fine for Lily. She's taking piano lessons along with her sisters.

The bunk beds arrived from Miniatures. com last week, too. I was so excited to get them. The crib set came from Hobby Lobby. The toy box was in my stash.

Here is the dresser that I bought for the grandparents. I hope Lily takes good care of it. It is very nice.  Um. It looks like Grandpa and Grandpa might have an issue. Maybe it's the noisy kids next door.

I'll be wallpapering the upstairs this week then Lily can take it home. I'll miss the family. 

I've been playing in the store. I purchased crayons, colored pencils, and a coloring book and an Easy Back from Miniatures. com along with a type of Play Dough.

I had a brilliant brainstorm to put a mural on the wall instead of wallpaper. I will print it on card stock and paint the chair rail shelf to match other surfaces that I paint.

I like this arrangement.

With the flash on, things look bright. I've decided to use the tile floor instead of wood to keep it bright and I will paint the wood that isn't covered with wallpaper, white? maybe. I will leave the dark wood dark. 

I am finally beginning to feel like I can make the renovation look nice. I just have to take my time and not get in a hurry.

Thanks so much for stopping by. 

Oh. I have finally taken the big leap over to Instagram. You can find me by searching for annrasmussen72. Join me there, too. 

Monday, January 7, 2019

Sweet Sixteen

Happy New Year, Friends. I don't often do this, but this week I am combing my two blogs, Welcome to the Garden Spot and Ann's Dollhouse Dreams simply because I have more to write about on the dollhouse blog than I do about the garden right now. For my miniaturist friends, I join Angie at Letting Go the Bay Leaf for Mosaic Monday from the Garden Spot with three requirements: posts must contain a collage or mosaic, they must provide a link to Mosaic Monday,  and we visit other Monday Mosaic participants. For the Garden Spot friends, you will get glimpse of what I do when I'm not in the garden.

Here at the Garden Spot, life has finally slowed to a dull roar. The last of the holiday birthdays is here--the Head Gardener's is today and then we have a break until late March.

We celebrated the "milestone" birthday Saturday as our grandson Jacob turned sixteen. He is growing into such cool kid and fine young man, too. We are, naturally, very proud of him while left wondering how did he get this old so fast?

When I look outside to the yard, I shutter, realizing that we will have so much to do when Spring comes bouncing in. Brody has had the yard to himself and has learned to entertain himself. Once a shy boy, he seems to be gaining enough confidence in himself to play outside alone. The HG finally got the electronic fence installed, so he wears a collar that warns him when gets to the invisible barrier with a more than gentle buzz to his neck. As a timid dog, he may not wonder too far anyway, but he is also a short hair pointer and they do love to run. He has done quite well at entertaining himself, most notably by destroying the drip system in both the vegetable garden and the flower beds around the house.

We are short on moisture, so the landscape wears its winter brown. While we enjoy our days of sunlight and mild weather while we worry that we are in the midst of a drought.

 Inside, all of the Christmas decorations are finally secured in the basement, not totally stored--I'll work on that later. Today I have been catching up putting the house back in order upstairs and catching up laundry.The family room downstairs is still a disaster. Each time I go down with good intentions of putting it back in order, I get side tracked with a dollhouse project. Here's what I have been working on:

One of my Christmas gifts was a 1:12 hutch with lots of Easter goodies to assemble.

Next to Christmas, Easter holds special memories and moments. More that just the chocolate bunnies, colored eggs, and sweets, Easter morning service is always special. My mother often treated herself to attending sunrise service at Red Rocks amphitheater west of Denver, truly one of the most spectacular places to worship on Easter. (For images of the famous music venue you search for images of the outdoor theatre, a truly spectacular natural theatre). 
So, of course, I have lots of memories that float around in my mind as I work on these tiny little creations.

So far the bunny pull toy is my favorite.

With Lily's house finished, I am wondering what my next project will be. I do have to finish the San Franciscan, but I will have to move it in from the garage, but other than that, I don't see any new builds in my near future. I have work to finish on the Bellingham, too, but I have started to play with the Storybook, the little toy store that I bought a few weeks ago. 

It is so cute and so old. 

I finally plugged in the electrical to see if it worked.

And it does!

The attic lighting is hidden underneath the bit of roofing, but the lights shine brightly.

And so do the lights downstairs.

I played around with the idea of adding a wall to add more interest to the interior since the little house will be loaded with toys, but then I came upon another idea that I will share with you later. The renovations pose certain problems with the main one being the wallpaper and how to redo the wallpaper. I'm working that, too. I am thinking that I use scrapbook paper instead of actual wallpaper.  I just have find the right paper. I am thinking of green or maybe baby blue. I am a pink person. I love pink, and I always think pink, now I am thinking blue.

I do like the wall and I think I can get it cut on the scroll saw, but I kept playing and came up with a better idea. I want to create a little reading nook in the toy store, thus I want some sort of division. 

Lastly, here is the find of the week. I had to pass because the house is probably over priced at $400, but what a a nicely built, solid house that would be a great project. The furniture includes 2 great pieces, an up right piano in very good condition and that canopy bed that is so unusual and certainly vintage. The house is lighted with beautiful stained glass chandeliers, one of which is missing its shade. I am guessing that it was not a kit house because the workmanship is wonderful. I believe that the original owner is selling it. It is located in Eaton, Colorado in an antique store called Back Alley Arts if anyone is interested. The house has so much potential, but my village has reached its limit--for now at least.

Thanks so much for visiting. If you have come here for the first time, say hi. I'll be back in the garden soon. 

Thursday, December 27, 2018


The Christmas rush is finally over. I can't say that I was bah humbug this year, but I sure didn't have much enthusiasm for the holiday season. For nearly twenty years Santa has paid a special visit to our house the Sunday before Christmas. Over the years, I've invited neighbor children, relatives, and friends; the party has always been a big deal and so stressful because there were gifts to buy for the children and invitations to send out--real mail letters, baking the Christmas goodies, and making sure that everything was perfect for the children, Now, the most of the children have grown up. The oldest of my grandchildren is 16 and not into Santa, but he has a little brother who is. The party fell on Dec 23 this year--poor planning on my part, so I was doubly stressed. In the end Santa's visit went off without a hitch, well, almost. My sweet little grandson, Nathan, was not able to come. He was very sick at home, so it was just the three girls, and I think the older two know the secret, but Little Lily does not, so we invite Santa for the youngest children and the young at heart (me). 

Once the Santa party was over, I felt like I could finally relax, even though I had a Christmas dinner to prepare on the 24th. And then my daughter and I both have birthdays. Mine on the 20th and hers on the 24th. 

I fell behind on all of holiday preparations because I was trying to get a dollhouse finished. I was really nervous, worried that Lily wouldn't like it, but she did. So here is the Grand Reveal. 

I have a bird cage about the size of this  package and I kept wanting to uncover the birds! I put the house on a little child's tea table; it belonged to Lily's great grandmother (my husband's mother). Lily was just a tiny baby when we lost Great Grandma, but she is always here in spirit.

Today I called Lily and asked her if she had people to live in her house, and she does--an entire family, including grandparents, so I will finish the third floor for the children and grandparents. I told her the house needs another bedroom. 

Second floor bedroom: bed: pre-made, purchased from my favorite miniature retail store in Denver that is now closed­čś×. Dresser: junk dealer, curtains store bought, chandelier--I made, and Pop the pony's portrait. She loved that.  Bathroom all stash--things that I have collect for various junk dealers. 

Fire place came with another house, but can be purchased at Hobby Lobby. Coffee table stash. The Crash on the mantle is an old Hobby Lobby decoration. I don't know if you even buy them anymore. I didn't put out all of the pieces because they took up too much room. Same for the little nut crackers that came in a package of six. I bought them last year and couldn't find them this year. The train came from Hobby Lobby mini section, the other toys are hot glue on a tree skirt that was attached to another tree that came from the junk dealer. The white furniture and care are another Hobby Lobby buy. I had bought the furniture for the Bellingham to go with a brown leather for the more rustic look.

Everything from my stash in the kitchen. The light in the kitchen came from Hobby Lobby that has a new line of white fixtures. I ruined the chandelier that I had placed in the living room, or else it was a bum one, but the light bulb blew out. I was just as glad because it put out way too much white light, washing out the other muted soft lights. I think I can replace the bulb and use it anyway. I didn't want expensive chandeliers because little hands are not always careful.

Lily who asked who the little guy in red by the stairs was. I have a package of little cake toppers that my had way back when--a long time ago. I am pretty frugal with them, but dole them out for very special occasions to a wee bit of my mom.  She would have adored these grandchildren and loved the dollhouses.

Lily does love all of the bits and pieces that finish the rooms, but I want her to use her own imagination to make the little things and perhaps her sisters will help. Ellie, the 12 year old is very good at using sculpting clay. Perhaps she will help Lily.

The wall paper came from Hobby Lobby except for the living room, which I ordered from

I made the chandelier from stash beads and findings. It's the second one that I've made and is inspired from a pair of chandelier earrings that my mom used to wear. Now looking at it the, the bottom beads could be smaller.

Lily loves to go fishing with her dad, so from my stash I added a pail with fish and a fishing pool. She loved that and walked around showing off her fish, saying that she was a good fisher.

The Christmas tree inside adds the warmth of the holidays.

I have a bit more work to do to finish up, but I think it turned out so nice. I made the planter boxes from balsa wood. I started out with wide craft sticks, but they were hard to cut, had knots, and some were crooked, so I bought tow nice pieces of balsa strips and made the boxes. I filled them moss and lots of Hobby Lobby silk flowers. 

 Lily loves her house, but left it here so that I finish it. I have some painting touch up and two bedrooms to wall paper.

Children are so smart; they are logical thinkers by nature and look at life literally, so I should not have been surprised when she asked me  why there were flowers in the flower boxes when it is winter with  Christmas decorations. I didn't have much of an answer. 

With the Cranberry Cove finished, I still have plenty to do in the workshop. I have to shingle the Bellingham--that will be a big job and finish Jen's San Franciscan and, of course, Lily's house final touches. I want to work on the little toy store, too. So I'll have plenty to keep me busy.

And here is my newest project. You may recognize a Robin Betterly kit, a Christmas gift from my husband. I stayed up until after 11 last night making tiny things. Really tiny. things I know for myself some of the things that I add to my houses aren't true 1:12 scale, but they work and sometimes I like the wee bit larger items because they show up better; now I am working with this lovely kit that is true to scale. I have to be thankful that my eyes are still good, even tough I have implants for cataracts and wear bifocal glasses. My, hands, too, not strong enough to screw off a sealed lid from a jar, they can still handle the tiny things and I count my blessings because I don't have arthritis in them.

The entire collection is packed with such cute Easter things, all that have to be assembled and painted. I stayed up last night painting tiny little chocolate rabbits and assembling the bunny pull toy. It was so relaxing and peaceful to just play.

The kit comes nicely packaged with the laser wood pieces marked. 

The photographs are very helpful along with nicely written assembly instructions.

I love the bunny. Instructions said to use a craft knife to removed the excess product from molding, but I used a small emery board to sand the lumps and bumps from the ears. Worked nicely.

I don't like the hinges for the doors since they are cardboard, so I dug in my stash for metal hinges and of course I have three of four. I'll have to order what I need.

This little pull toy originally caught my eye and I could have just ordered it alone, but I sent out a text to my family suggesting the entire pricey kit.

Sadly the hutch doesn't fit in the toy store--unless I move a light on the wall behind the hutch.

I've made own pull toy from scratch and now I have good idea as to how to make more. 

Several coats of acrylic craft ivory paint.

Those beads are so tiny. The glue will dry clear, thankfully.

               Mine is almost as nice as the professional one. I did okay.

Next, I decided to do the chocolate bunnies:

I thought it would be impossible to paint these tiny Easter bunnies, but I did it.

Next I decided to do the chocolate bunnies.

Close. I need to do some touch up since I painted them on the card before I punched them out, so I have to paint the edges.

More touch up work and then on the cupcakes and the cake plate, though I might use my glass one instead. 

Thanks for stopping by. I know that you have some great projects, so I'll be visiting to see what magic you all are working. 

As the new year begins, I send my good wishes for a Happy New Year, for a year of good fortune, good health, and good mini projects. I know--or at least hope--that there those who visit but don't leave a comment and that is okay, but in the last year I have made some new friends and I am so appreciative of the interest that you have shown, along with the kind, encouraging, and sweet words that you leave after your visit. Thank you, thank you.

Good Finds

So. I wrote a lovely post this morning and posted it to my other blog by mistake. Not thinking, I deleted it and lost everything, so here I...