Monday, November 4, 2019


Sometimes perhaps it just isn't worth trying to salvage old dollhouse pieces. These pieces came from the Junk Man, and they are destined for the San Franciscan. We've seen this bedroom set and the fireplace in houses on Pinterest where they look nicely finished and authentic.

These kit pieces, though, were so poorly assembled and badly finished that I am wondering if it really  is worth the effort trying salvage them; however, that they are going in an abandoned row house seems to justify the efforts put them back together. The photos don't actually do justice showing the terrible stain and what must have been an attempt to give a fine, shiny finish. Instead the transparent coating is too thick and badly applied and cannot be sanded away.

The bed is worst; so bad that I am wondering why I spent the better part of last evening trying to put it back together.


The foot board is just leaning against the bed for show. I struggled to get it glued back on, but I couldn't clamp it, so I tried rubber bands, still the glue wouldn't hold--or I grew too impatient.

This photo show the excessive amount of glue used which in some joints I tried to scrape off. I decided to leave this clump on as a for my own glue, Alene's Tacky glue, but I couldn't get a tight enough bond. I'm now considering my options.

Next the dining set is in relative good shape, except it is missing a leg. I have this kit in my stash, so I'm going to carve a new leg, now realizing that with a new Circut I could cut a new leg.

The vanity is is fine shape, even with its smoky blurred mirror. 

Next, the fireplace. At first I was going to try to remove the Christmas wreath that is so solidly attached, but I'm leaving it.

The mantle precariously sits in place, but you can see the rest of the pieces below it.

Laying it flat, I pieced it together.

Then began to glue it together. I'm missing pieces, but that's okay.

One tiny post had broken off in place, so I dug in my stash to see if I had a bit of lumber that would replace the broken part.

Almost a perfect fit. I glued it in place and sanded it down. You can see where it is supposed to go at the end of the post, but I put it in place and glued the post to it.

Not perfect, but I'll add some brown paint and it will be okay.


And here it is. The fireplace has been reassembled, minus 3 pieces. The very top of the mantle should have 3 posts across the top, but two look okay.

One post is crooked on the right, but that's okay too.

Betsy Ross Project

 And I did a bit of work on the Betsy Ross room-box. I'll do a test-run out of foam board since I've never made anything from scratch.

I had put the project on hold because I didn't know the dimensions of the original house until I found a wonderful website yesterday that told the story of the house. A lot of mythology surrounds Betsy Ross and questions about the authenticity of the story that she made the colonial flag, but it seems, based on what her children wrote about her, she did make that flag for General Washington.

The house is another story, too. She did live there, maybe, and she did carry on her husband's upholstery business after he died. The question has always been where was the original house was actually located and is the museum house that claims to be her house really that house? Today, it seems to at least represent the house that she probably lived in.

In the beginning it was a simple three story colonial or Georgian band house. Each floor was one room, with the kitchen located in the basement. With such a simple design, I will could build build a four story house, eventually. The Real Good Toys house that I build for Lily might have been perfect.

The website that I found had all the details that I needed to help me decide how to build my room that will demonstrate the making of that flag, include a 360 panoramic video of the room. At one point an addition was built on the back of the house, enlarging it with as many as 8 families living there.

My first question was how big was the room? The exterior of the house was 16 feet wide and the the side walls were 25 feet long, so I measured 16 inches across; now my door, shelf, and window fit.

The house was renovated along the way, with one photo in 1907 showing the door on the opposite side with a very large shop window that spanned the entire front of the store,  while an 18th century sketch show the door on the other side with colonial pediments across the top of the door and a small multi-paned window. I returned the larger window that I had and bought this this smaller one that opens. I imaged that the window might have been able to be open to get fresh air, especially during the summer heat. Windows were also taxed then, so working houses had fewer, smaller windows.

The 360 view gave me a better sense of how the house is laid out. With so many unanswered questions about the house, I feel that I have more freedom to offer my interpretation of Betsy's work room, following what we hope is historically accurate.

Thanks for visiting. I always enjoy and appreciate your comments. Speaking of which, I am finding it increasingly harder to leave comments on Blogger blogs, including my own as I try to reply to the comments left here. In doing my research, I have realized that it is a Blogger issue. I found an article that I'll share with you, but honestly, I don't think it fixes the problem. Perhaps you have better answers. So, those of you who post on Instagram and Facebook, you will find my comments there.

I have also changed my comments to a pop-up window, hoping that will solve my problem on my site. Let me know what you think.


ann said...

I'm commenting here, last a test.

Jodi Hippler said...

That's a great bunch of furniture you've got there with some neat details and so worth the effort to rescue them! You're doing great, and if nothing else they are good to practice on because you see how things fit together, what glues work etc.
As for the lack of solid history on Betsy Ross and her house, I like the idea that you are allowing yourself to stick with the spirit of the project and not be a stickler. It will be much more fun to see how you interpret the "facts" and creatively fill in the blanks!

Sherrill said...

Sorry about your problem with comments. My blog is on Wordpress, so this message will be another test.

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