Monday, April 17, 2017

A Little Boy's Fantasy

Progress on the Bellingham farmhouse continues slowly. Sometimes I get overwhelmed at the amount of work that I have to do, but I keep telling myself to take my time and be patient. I also had another project that I had been working on. I finished Nathan's birthday gift that I shared with you last time. Would you like to see the finished room?  I thought you would.

I began with wallpapering the walls, installing the floor and the baseboards. I used flooring purchased from Hobby Lobby. It comes in a sheet; all it needs is staining. Using a light that I had ruined--shorted it out--, I rebuilt it by adding a  battery operated LED chip light that casts a very yellow, shadowy type light. 

I wanted art work, so I found posters on the web, printed them out 1:12 on photographic paper for a nice glossy look. Nathan loves Star Wars, so I chose a poster of the original cast, one that his mother could relate to. The other poster has the character from How to Train A Dragon since the main character in the room would be the dragon who comes to visit  from the little boy's fantasies. 

I purchased the StarWars space ship and dug through my stash for the other pieces. The glove came from the jewelry making aisle at Hobby Lobby. The TV is handmade by some one that I purchased on one of my thrifting excursions. I never really knew what I would do with it, but I think I found a good home for it.

I wanted the room to reflect Nathan's young life as a seven year old by trying to include things that he likes. 

He always has his iPad. I found an image online that I sized and printed on glossy photograph paper. I had wanted to find an image of his favorite game, but couldn't. His mother bought the doll. Little boy dolls are so hard to find. This is a Mattel doll in the Barbie collection. He was perfect. Sitting next to him is his teddy bear, armed with his base ball bat. You can see that the little boy has been reading King Arthur. 

The Wizard came from a castle that I have for the kids to play with here; he was a duplicate. Batman came from a thrift store; he is wielding a sword that I found in Hobby Lobby in the jewelry department. The detail in this photo is hard to see because I took it with the ceiling light turned on.

He loved it, but I think his mother liked it more.

Like many miniaturists and dollhouse builders, when I hear that there is a dollhouse for sale in some store, I have to go check it out, so when someone told me about this house in a consignment store, I drug my husband to go see it. I promised him that I would not buy it. Sight unseen.

It is a nineteenth century dollhouse, priced at $10, 114.97, according to an appraisal.  It was, of course, out of my budget. Even the store clerk was doubtful that it would sell and that it would probably be donated to the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Bears.

The house comes fully furnished. Indeed this is an unusual piece, museum quality and out of my reach.

I have more to share with you, so give me some time and I'll be back.  Thanks for visiting. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Making The Bed

Hello Again. Christmas is well behind us with Easter just around the corner, so I am back to work on the Bellingham dollhouse. I took a long break to work on sewing 5 little prairie girl dresses for the 18 inch doll. Here is one. I adore this little doll. She is Target's Our  Generation doll. I found her at a local thrift store for $3.00. The 5 dresses are finished, but I have bonnets yet to make. My sewing machine  needed some repair, so while I wait for it to come, I am working on the dollhouse. Soon--not soon enough--it will be time to get out in the garden and get the spring gardening started.

Secret Project

Before I begin showing you the dollhouse, I want to share a secret project with you still in progress. I am a creating a room box for my seven year old grandson's birthday inspired by a jig saw puzzle that we have worked on together. I will show you the entire project when I have it finished. 

I needed a bed. I bought one, a cute little white twin-sized bed with '70s inspired pink floral bedding that was glued and and could not be removed, so I decided to make a bed.

Using bass wood that I had on hand and using a bed that I already had as my guide, I made this one. 

The next problem: How to find a mattress? The kits come with a foam mattress, but since this bed is homemade, I needed fabricate a mattress. I tend to save all sorts of things that I can convert to dollhouse minis, so this mattress is made from packing material. The image in college shows the packing material before and after I trimmed it down to fit the bed. It is stuffed with pulverized paper, making it fairly soft. 

Next I needed bedding, so I made a pair of sheets. I tend to want my miniatures to be just that, miniatures of the real thing, so these are sheets that I made. To make a fitted sheet, I followed these steps:

  • Cut a piece of fabric 6x8 for a 5x7 mattress (use cotton or cotton polyester)
  • Stitch 1/8-1/4 hem around
  • Place the fabric on the mattress to form corner pockets. Pin
  • Sew the pocket on the wrong side. Trim away excess fabric
  • Press the seam open
  • The fitted sheet will not have elastic as the real thing, but it it be on the bottom the mattress anyway.
Note: Don't sew? Use fabric glue

The top sheet is easier:

  • Cut a piece of fabric 10 1/2 to 11x 9 inches--shorter if you don't want the wide hem/cuff at the top 
  • Sew 1/4 inch around for hem
  • Fold the top hem and stitch. Use a decorative stitch if you want
Please note that these sizes are approximate, depending on the size of mattress and how much over hang you want. I arrived at my size by going on line to look up the standard sizes for mattress Sleep Train. A standard full sized bed measures 60x80 or 5 ftx6.6ft. Convert that to the 1:12 scale and you come up with roughly a 5in.x7in. mattress (that's what my foam mattress measures). Decide how much hem and overhang/fullness you want and cut your material.

I like to make the kit furniture so that I can paint or finish it the way I want it. I hate taking the vintage dollhouse furniture that has such nice finishes, especially if it is in good condition and painting over it, so I make the kits. You can find them on

Finally, I fitted the sheet to the mattress, but since it is paper and the edges were irregular, I had to glue the sheet in place. That's okay because it is going to be sealed up in a room box and not played with.

I surprised myself with this little bed. I have made other beds and I may eventually get good at it. Since it goes into a boy's room, it didn't have to have any fancy stuff.

The bed on left is made from a kit. Easy to make. The bed on the right, mine

I like to make the kit furniture so that I can paint or finish it the way I want it. I hate taking the vintage dollhouse furniture that has such nice finishes, especially if it is in good condition and painting over it, so I make the kits. You can find them on I also made the pillow and pillow cases with some hand embroidery.  The lace is a piece of lace that I have had for ages. Making these little beds and dressing them can be a lot of fun.

The spread for the bed here is an old handkerchief. I have dozens of them, too, but then I don't want to cut them, but they are perfect and cut folded and glued in place. 

So here is the finished bed. I stained it with MinWax Wood Finish Early American 220. I wanted a Star Wars themed bed, but who can find miniature Star Wars bedding? So I used a fat quarter that I purchased at JoAnn in the quilting material department. It looks a little Star Wars, don't you think?

Intrigued yet? It is going to be very cute. Not all grandsons are open to dollhouse boxes are they?  But his little guy will love it. I will glue the bedding in place--which I do not do in the dollhouses. Everything will be glued in place because Mamma doesn't want him to play with it. She will, I know, save if for herself until he grows up and wants it for his college dorm room. Really, Grandma!

Oh and dig that old fashioned TV. I came in a box of stuff that bought from the Junk Man. I wondered what I would ever do with it. It has a very special place now.

The Bellingham

I found these little bottles on a wonderful website DBJ Miniatures, but when I went there the other day to order more, the site has closed down. I am so disappointed because it was a great website.

The kit came with eight bottles, the tops, and the labels. 

I used a glue stick to adhere the label and Locktite glue to glue the lid on. 

I would love to do more. I have found them on Etsy, but they are made and shipped from overseas. I'll keep looking to find some state side.

Sometimes I wonder if I am in over my head with this house. While I do like the MFD wood, it is heavy and hard to hold in place, so I have struggles. The blue painter's tape works fair at holding it in place. Right now I have the front and this part glued in place.

I have not yet glued the back roof in place because it has taken me a long while to figure how the pieces go together. Right now I am waiting on wallpaper and glue to be shipped to me. I have not yet decided exactly how I want to do the attic. I also have to decide if I want to light it.

My directions are an older version because I can't find the ones that came with the kit and there are slight variations. By looking a pictures of other Bellingham houses that I have found on Pinterest, I was able to figure out how the back roof goes together. 

I am also trying to figure out wallpaper. I know that many dollhouse builders use scrapbook paper, so I decided that since I want a more modern looking bathroom, I cut a test piece from my paper stash. This paper stack has a variety of embossed papers, all pearly white. I like the look very much, though this not the pattern that I will use. It is easy to cut and heavy.

So I think you are now caught up. I do need to take time to show you what I purchased from Norm's Dollhouse located in Denver. Today is their last day open, a very sad day for them I am sure. Norm and his wife opened the store 39 years ago. It has run its course and a mighty fine it run it was. Son David now builds the houses and will continue to do so and has a new website:Dave and Wendy Dollhouse where they will continue to sell miniatures on line and they have a Face Book page. 

I will return when I have more to share. Right now I need to get on with my day. 

Thanks so much for stopping by. If you visit, please do leave a comment. I love reading them. The blog is growing too, up to 13 now. Wow. Thanks so much for signing on. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Welcome to the Neighborhood

Well, hello there. I have been gone far too long, taking a Christmas break for the dollhouse has gone on way longer than I have planned. I still have not returned to working on the Bellingham Farmhouse. Instead I have been sewing doll clothes of the 18 inch dolls that I have been collecting. I will get the sewing bug out of my system and get back to work on it. I have a lot of very tedious painting of windows, doors, and lots of trim for both inside and outside.

I have also been on a countdown to my last trip to Norm's Dollhouse store in Denver. We were there after Thanksgiving and then an email came out announcing that they will be closing in March. I am so sad. The store has been in business for 39 years. According to a newspaper article, most of the store's clientele have given up their mini hobby because they are either gone, in assisted living, or in nursing homes. How sad is that? I'd say that 39 years is a a very good run. I should have gone sooner because an email this week said that their shelves are emptying out and now items are 40% off. I'll let you know what I come home with.

My daughters and I are great thrifters. I have slowed down a lot because I am trying to unload my house rather than fill it up. I have allowed myself my dollhouse indulgence, however. So when Jen texted me that there was a dollhouse at the Goodwill  in Ft. Collins (20 minute drive) with 5 bags of furniture for $89, I made up my mind to pass.

Then I slept on it.

Then I woke up and announced to my husband that I wanted to drive over to the Goodwill to see if it was still there. And it was. And yes I bought it with the furniture sight unseen because it was all bagged up and stuffed in the house which was taped up so that the bags could not be brought out to examine.

After doing some research, I identified the house as the the Brookwood by Green Leaf. Originally manufactured in early 1990s, it was discontinued, and reintroduced. Click here: Green Leaf to read more about the kit. Search Pinterest to see a variety of photos.

It is a very interesting house that would be a lot of fun to assemble and design because it has such interesting lines. Because it is a mid-century modern, it has all sorts of possibilities such as a beach house where mermaids (or merpeople) live, a mountain cabin, or a suburban contemporary re-model, or a mid-century accurately decorated.

Would you like to take a tour? I know you can't wait to see it. Get a cup of tea or coffee and some cookies and enjoy the Brookwood.

As it sat on the dining room table, I dusted and cleaned it up. I shined up the hard wood floors with a bit Pledge sprayed on a napkin to avoid over pray getting on the wall paper.

The windows are my favorite feature, such as this two story cathedral style window. Once I got it home, I realized that it needed porch rails, but when I saw the pictures on Pinterest, the patio does not have a railing.

Off the living room is the solarium. I always wanted a solarium or garden room. I'd fill it with African violets and orchids. I think I might replace the acetate widow because it has a nasty scratch on it and is not glued in. Love those skylights. I had a skylight in my bathroom in our old house that we had installed when we had the roof replaced that provided lots of natural light during the day and stars at night.

More skylights on the other side of the house. A balcony that even has a door entry. It'll be nice place to enjoy morning coffee.

Some of the furniture comes with the house, the sofa and chair, for example that have to be assembled, along with kitchen cabinets that are missing and I think the stove and sink come with he kit.

This is an odd arrangement because the green room where a kitchen should be located isn't large enough to be a kitchen, so the kitchen is in the next area, but there isn't enough room to place the refrigerator.

I haven't go a clue if this art work is a reproduction of an original, but it certainly is unusual. I had to put the iPhone inside the room to take a photo to see what the picture actually looked like.

A very interesting stair way

A very comfortable living room

The house comes with a hot tub that photos show in the solarium, but I will place it on the patio outside. I may buy some plants at Norm's for the patio, Plants are very expensive.

The bathroom on the second level is very interesting. I love the black fixtures and the triangle shaped bathtub. 

For a mid century bedroom this fancy furniture is very unusual, but I can see it in such a house. Love the bed. Very unusual. 

The third level has this modern bed that was part of the kit. Not my colors, but it is very interesting.

The Brookwood really is a very cute house. I don't plan on doing anything to it. I like it the way it is. I can't imagine anyone donating such a cute house. Yes, there are things that I might do to it, but I am going to honor the original builder and not make any changes. I may add some plants. I mean the solarium must have plants. 

I hope you enjoyed your tour. What would you do with the Brookwood? The kit, still available, has so many possibilities and would be a very fun build. 

Thanks so much for visiting. I'll be back with an update. Perhaps I ought to show you my 18 inch dolls, all three rescued from ARC, or charity thrift store.