Thursday, July 23, 2015

Junkin' OCD

Work on the Blue Farm House has tapered off. I just needed a break, but more so I have run into barrier, a road block--I don't know what to do next; nor do I know how to continue on with the bathroom. Then a vacation. Now a new job to plan for.

I have not yet made the announcement to my friends let alone my blog friends at both this blog and Welcome to the Garden Spot, nor on Face Book; I guess I have just been waiting for the right moment. Now seems as good any.

My long time followers know that I retired from my teaching job at the University of Northern Colorado at the end of Spring semester 2013. I was ready. I was tired and old. I didn't really feel well then. After some weight loss and rest, I am feeling stronger--still old, but stronger. Last week I received an email from the university's English department's executive secretary asking if I would like to teach a "few" sections of English 122. Well, for a variety of reasons, I agreed to teaching two sections on Tuesday and Thursday for fall semester. I am excited to get back to the classroom.

As miniaturists, we all have own ideas about how to furnish a house. We have our style. I feel that with the Blue Farm House I don't really have a plan. I am beginning to see that a plan for the entire house has to be in place before the project begins. I am know that I have a certain style--country farm, country shabby, junk treasures resurrected kind of style.

I have become OCD with collecting miniature furniture and accessories.

I received a phone call from a person who had worked at the antique stores in town. She left a message saying that her friend Mike had a large collection of dollhouse furniture.

Hubby drove me north to one of the last towns in Colorado near the Wyoming border. Mike buys the contents of abandoned storage units and stores all of his treasures in a large shed at the edge of a very small town, Nunn, CO. Nunn's only distinction is the water tower that someone decades ago graffitied"Weeds" underneath the big black, square letters on the tower: "Watch Nunn." I didn't take notice to see if the sign was still there, for I was too focused on the treasures I was about to find.

I wanted to deal with Mike. His deal was simple as he presented me with several boxes of odds and ends of very rough, very dusty dollhouse furniture, and other stuff,  not what I had expected. His deal was "take all for $175. I paid 150," he says, "I have to make some money." I wandered about pondering what to do,  while he worked a deal with another old guy. As I poked through the boxes, I spied some must-have pieces but I didn't want to take all of the junk home.

Me: "How about if I pick what I want and pay by the piece or we can decide on a price for one flat of furniture. And you know that I will pick the best stuff."

Mike:  "Nope. All or none."

So much for tough negotiation. Ha. Hubby thought his deal was okay. Men. Put what you don't want Ebay, the men said. Yeah, right.

I took the boxes home and began to sort. There was some pretty cool stuff.


A variety of pieces that have promise.


A vintage family that I believe to be Shackman.


Miniature shadow boxes--remember when those little minis were the rage oh back in the '80s with some cool stuff glued in? I have already scavenged little bits and pieces that will work in the dollhouse.



A room box. At first I was going to disassemble it, but I didn't. I found bits and pieces to add. I'll show you later.


This box after I went through all the stuff will go to friend's little granddaughter for her dollhouse. Cool stuff for a kid. Mostly items that will not work in a 1:12 house.


Then the granddaughters arrived and they picked through stuff for the house that their mom is going to build. They really have good taste for they picked the best stuff. Grandpa remarked that it was worth the 175 if the little girls had fun gathering stuff. I guess.


Stuff to donate.


The back tub is the trash, so really I salvaged nearly everything. The second tub has cool vintage stuff. eBay maybe.


There were several cute babies. We had seen these same babies at Norm's Dollhouse store in Denver.


These pieces are larger than 1:12. I think I will practice my shabby chic painting on them. Still cute, these might be nice for a Barbie house.


Daughter Heather wanted some pieces for her dollhouse and I was able to fill her wish lists: a book case, a sewing mannequin, a rocking chair, and a sewing machine. I eventually took the cats out of her box to put in the box room.


Cute little table. I tore it apart to see how it was made: 








A frozen orange juice can. How clever.



I will remake it.






There are some nice pieces of furniture. These chairs, for example, are great. I am trying to figure out how to make slip covers for them. They are hand made probably from kits. The blue ones are a bit rough.



This sofa is usable, but needs a slip cover, too.  There is also a matching wing back. Any ideas out there as how to make a slip cover. 


This is one of those mini shelves that had stuff on it, I collected all of the mini pots and pans to store them. I removed the original minis. Some might be usable. The hutch is too big for a dollhouse, maybe a Barbie size.


The Blue Farm House will have a sewing room. Looks like I have a good start. I already had the mannequin.


I like this piece. It had Christmas decor on it which I have already removed. I was lucky to find all of the little pieces to put it back together. The finish is rough, so I strip it or sand it and refinish it.


There are some pretty cool pieces. As I sorted, I realized that I did hit the jack pot with some pieces on eBay and Etsy priced pretty high. Some of these pieces are made from the vintage kits that I have been working with, nicely built and finished.


Nursery pieces. The rocking chair is minus its arms, so I won't feel badly when I spray paint it white to match the rest of the furniture.




More cool pieces. Look at the little oak table with the four chairs. There were 3 complete sets, two still in their original boxes.


I looked up this Victorian bathroom set. It was a kit that sold several years ago. I am trying to decide if I should use it. It will have to be refinished. I am wondering just how to refinish it. I may get a furniture stripper and strip it down to the bare wood. It is pretty rough and poorly finished.


Here is one last piece, a fireplace that I lamented that had stuff glued on it.


This piece is stuccoed with the library of books glued inside. I am getting better at imagining the possibilities, so I decided to dismantle the fireplace.


 Then I began re-invision the piece and started removing pieces. You can see how the picture was adhered with a tacky type substance. The out of proportion cat was glued on, as was the toy canon. The other items on the mantle were harder to remove because of the glue that was used. I used rubbing alcohol to dissolve the glue just enough to force each piece free without damaging the wood. There are still some stubborn pieces on the mantle, so I will probably us my heat gun to help loosen the glue. I left the little lamp in place and discovered that the frame is a Shackman piece. The mirror was loose in the box, so that is now an in tact piece that can be used in a bathroom or bedroom. 

The books will stay in place because they would have been too hard to remove and besides I liked the idea of an old fireplace turned library. I have already placed it in the Blue Farm House downstairs hallway to create a nice reading area. 

Now the items in the next photo are a special find.

Just before we went on vacation, this wonderful dollhouse appeared on Craig's List in Ft. Collins. I knew the antique store. Priced at $200 with furniture, the house was great. It was a light blue with white trim. I looked it up on to see what it was: Real Good Toys' Newport.

I decided that once I returned from our trip, I would go see the house. I had already decided not to buy it. I just wanted to see it. I had decided that for $200 I could buy lots of really sweet mini accessories.

It had sold the day before, the store owner said almost apologetically. I laughed and said Good because I really did not need another house. But wait. She did have some furniture that the buyer did not want:


Really nice stuff. I have already added the nic-nacs to the hutch.  I am thinking that it will go in the Blue Farm House living room.


My basement is beginning to look like a salvage yard for dollhouses. Now that I am returning to the classroom before school begins I must get some order in the craft area.  I may offer some pieces for sale. I'll give you first choice.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you find good stuff: new, used, broken or bent, or perfect and shiny.