Friday, July 18, 2014


Welcome to Ann's Doll Dreams. Perhaps you have discovered this side of me through my blog Welcome to the Garden Spot, a blog I started in 2010 to share my gardening experiences. When I started that blog, I was a full time English professor at the University of Northern Colorado. I retired a year ago while I still had health and energy to do the things I enjoyed. One of my life long passions has been dolls, pretty, sweet dolls. I do not have a large collection of dolls, but the ones I do have are very dear to me with great sentimental value. You will be meeting them as time goes on.

Years ago when my daughter was little I built her a dollhouse from a kit. Not knowing what I was doing, it was a pretty rough toy and she never really embraced it as a play thing, so for years it sat in a storage unit then in our barn. I'd see the old ratty thing and swear that when the barn was cleaned the dollhouse was going to the dump along with other non essential junk. Then she had one request for the 39th birthday: Momma, all want for my birthday is for you to fix up my dollhouse. So I did. She loved it. She became obsessed with furnishing it and continuing the renovations. Then the bug bit me. And now I have a blog dedicated to my dolls and to my newly acquired dollhouse obsession.

Perhaps you have the same obsession. Here, as I discover great web sites and other resources, I will share them with you, hoping that you will do the same.

So this is my first project. I am learning a lot more about building houses; in fact I have a bargain sitting in the garage just waiting for me to begin building it.  But first, the little red house built in the '80s refurbished in '14.

The little red house wasn't in horrible shape; though it did have some broken pieces, but its bones were strong.

The doll house sat on my center island in the kitchen as I worked steadily on it for two weeks. With a bit of help from my husband, we transformed her childhood dollhouse into a nostalgic piece that she will enjoy for a very long time.

So I began work on the little house. It required several coats to cover the red paint. I purchased a quart of latex flat interior paint for the outside. For the white trim I used craft store acrylic paint. For the interior walls that I painted, I used paint that I had recently used in my kitchen.

There is still work for her to do on the house, but she loves it. While the original porch railing had come unglued and it was still sound. The flat, one dimensional porch posts were gone or broken, so I replaced them with turned porch posts that I purchased from Hobby Lobby. I also replaced the front door with a new door from Hobby Lobby. 

The white table and chairs were on loan to Heather, but the doll and the tea set went with the house.

The bathroom fixtures original to the house were actually a vintage set that her grandmother had as a child. 

The finding the dolls and the furniture were a stroke of really good luck.

The house looked a little plain after I got the roof shingled, so I added the gingerbread trim that I found at Hobby Lobby. Gluing it on was very difficult and in retrospect I should have glued it on before I put on the shingles.

I purchased the bedroom furniture at, you guessed it, Hobby Lobby. I have the door taped instead of permanently installed because I figured Heather would want to paint. I wallpapered only one room using scrapbook paper that turned out to be cloth with an adhesive backing, but I didn't know that at the time. So if she wants to remove the wall paper she can just peel the cloth off and have a foundation to glue the new wallpaper to. 

I also purchased new two new stair steps that I did not glue in either. They are supposed to face the other direction, but I felt that the stairs looked better facing the back of the house. Heather will have to decide what she likes.

Once you begin working on a dollhouse, you begin making up a story that goes with it and the dolls end up with names and histories. This is the nanny.

On the porch we have the lady of the house, Martha, named after Heather's great grandma who lived in a two story farmhouse not so different from this one. Uncle Charlie has been to the garden and brings in his harvest for the day.

Martha enjoys tea in the afternoon on the veranda. She was purchased at local garage sale, a lucky find.

Heather wanted it painted blue, and "This time, mamma, I want shingles."

I shopped Hobby Lobby for shingles, finding them coming in very small packages and requiring staining. I wasn't up for that expense or work, so I decided that if she wanted shingles she could shingle the house. 

I am also a thriftier. I love going to the Goodwill and ARC looking for cool stuff. On one excursion to ARC,  I hit the grand jackpot, a shoe box full of not just shingles, but dolls and furniture, and the little tea set. I was in business. The Nanny, grandpa and grandma seen in in the living room holding a naked baby that I had used for a baby shower game, an over stuffed sofa and chair, and white wrought iron baker's rack all for $6.00. Sometimes things are just meant to be.

The little house really wasn't in horrible shape, but it did a lot of work to clean it up, repaint it, and make it ready as a suitable birthday gift.

On Heather's birthday, March 27th, I gave her gift in a rather unusual way, but by a totally modern way. She lives more than an hour away and works, so I created a blog post of her house on the Garden Spot, called her through Face Time and asked her to take a look at the Garden Spot. Click here to see her big smile and tears as she sees her house for the first time in over 20 years. What a grand moment.

The little house now has a family and Heather will have a lot of fun decorating it. It will be her winter project. I didn't shingle the porch roof, but there were more than enough shingles left over for her to add to the roof. 

Now, I am ready to start my next project. I mentioned a kit in the garage. It is the Bellingham Farm House made in the 1980s by Dura Craft, now out of business. My other daughters found it on Craigslist and bought it for $25. I am very nervous about building it, so I have been scouring the Internet, including Goggle, Pinterest, and YouTube learning about building dollhouses and creating the miniatures to furnish it. Before I tackle the farm house which is MDF (manufactured wood and not plywood), I have ordered a little two room MDF house to practice on before taking on the big house. 

I have so much to share with you. I hope you join me as I discover the world of dollhouses and miniatures. Perhaps you will have ideas to share, too. Be sure to check out my Pinterest Board Dollhouse. 

Thanks so much for stopping by. Ann


  1. I shall follow this with great interest, as I love little dolls. I dont think I'd be any good at restoration. You have done it beautifully.
    It would be nice to make a little book for each house, telling the story of its renovation and introducing the occupants.

  2. I'm squealing with delight! What a fun blog. I should start one with dolls, shouldn't I? I've never found a doll house in all my shopping but I'm always on the lookout for one. This looks like such fun! I have another blog friend that just got one...I'll give her your new blog addy! HAVE FUN my friend! Sweet dollie hugs, Diane

  3. Diane, from ( Lavender Dreams ) directed me here, thank you so much Diane , I'm going to love visiting this blog. Yes, I recently purchased a vintage metal doll house from the 1940's to house my little Hitty doll and her friends. I just have a small mismatched assortment of furniture and accessories , but will be on a thrift adventure to find more things for the dolls to keep house with. Nothing fancy, keeping it fun and playful. I think what you did for your daughters birthday is wonderful, so glad that sweet little house did not meet its doom in the dump :) I have always been a fan of dolls. Raggedy Ann, baby dolls and most recently my Hitty. Do you know of the little Hitty dolls and the book, Hitty her first hundred years? If not I think you would fall in love with her, I know I did! They are very expensive hand craved dolls, but I was blessed to find a little wooden doll that I transformed into my very own Hitty. Looking forward to seeing more from your blog my new friend. Blessings

  4. Well momma. What am amazing new adventure. And I will take complete credit. I'm not sure where the hair came from, but came it did. That dollhouse was going to be finished. At first I thought about taking it home, then it hit me... My mom and dad should finish that. Sheesh. What did I start? Another fish tank? Not, but something that we can all do together. Mine will be a country farmhouse. 1950 era. And I am gathering ideas until fall. After fall planting and cleanups. Great blog momma. I know I am happy to have started this bug.

  5. And since I started reading at the newest and read backwards I have reached the beginning of your journey! How fun!!! I have a request though!!! You said your daughter caught the bug and has continued work on the dollhouse and added on. You need to do a 'guest blog spot' showing us what she has done!!!!