Friday, December 30, 2011

A Spot of Tea

Plushpussycat and Tomcat are out for a spot of tea. 

Dessert is served--one big piece for two. 

Who will win?

Hope your new year is bright and full of blessings! xoxo Jennifer

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Solution to a Dollhouse Problem

I had a big problem. You may remember that Dad's Dollhouse was built from a 1970s Sunset magazine plan. It was designed for a child (which I was!), not for an adult miniature enthusiast. The front door and windows were not in 1/12 scale. Dad and I never got around to putting a front door on the place (too busy with other dollhouse projects!), and the open doorway was 7 1/2 inches (19 cm) tall (equivalent to 7 1/2 feet or 2.3 meters in real life)! If you look at the second photo in this post about Dad's Dollhouse, you'll see that open doorway.

When I came back to the dollhouse a few months ago, I started looking for a solution to this decorating dilemma. There were no manufactured doors, including screen doors, that would fit the doorway, so I figured that my only choice would be to make my own door. Then one day it just struck me in a flash of inspiration that once I made the door, it would look too big in comparison to the 1/12 scale miniature furnishings.

That's when it hit me: I could treat the doorway like a window, put curtains on it, and build a piece of furniture to mostly cover the window opening. And I knew which piece of furniture I wanted: the Chrysnbon parlor pump organ kit. Why the organ? Because we had one in my childhood home in the room we called the parlor, which was wallpapered in the same paper you see in the two above photos.

So I ordered the kit and put together the organ (which took several days to complete!), and then it was time to make curtains. I had been gathering small-scale lace, most of it vintage, just for this purpose. I was on a deadline, too, because I wanted to take some photos of the parlor for my most recent post, Christmas at Dad's Dollhouse. But it all came together in the nick of time, and I'm happy with the results.

Have any of you had a dollhouse or miniatures decorating or other problem that you needed to solve? If so, what was the problem, and how did you solve it? I'd love to hear about it. Until next time.... xoxo Jennifer

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas at Dad's Dollhouse

You may remember that I collected dollhouse miniatures as a child, after my father built me a dollhouse, and then I mostly left miniatures behind for several decades. Since February or March, I've been refurbishing and decorating Dad's Dollhouse. I left the original wallpaper, since it was wallpaper from my childhood home, which coincidentally was also a country Victorian house just like the dollhouse.

Miniature Christmas tree from earlier days.

So for several months, I've been ripping out old carpet, purchasing furniture and accessories, and making minis from kits. I've also received several beautiful gifts and giveaway prizes to help complete the dollhouse. Several dollhouse miniatures that I kept from all of those years ago included a Christmas tree and a few other decorations, such as wrapped presents for under the tree, made by my younger self.

Kitty stealing cookies--one is already missing!

Then recently I built a key piece of furniture from a kit (more about that in a future post!) and FINALLY made curtains for the parlor and the kitchen. Then I found this sweet Mama Mouse (Mavis Mouse) at a thrift store!

Mavis Mouse working her paws to the bone baking Christmas goodies!

Look what Mavis Mouse baked--yummy Christmas cookies and cakes!

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it! Happy Holidays! Until next time.... xoxo Jennifer

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Prizes From Santa

I received two more blog giveaway prizes in the mail, and they are so sweet! First, I won Lugart petit's giveaway. LugArt petit is two sisters, Maria-Jose and Monica, from Barcelona, Spain. They make adorable miniature things. I won this cute little needle-felted bear, a sweet shabby chic canister set (with lids that open!), and a pile of teeny tiny cookies:

The tiny bear is only 7/8 inch (less than 2 1/2 cm) tall! I show it here with a half-scale vintage Japanese brass bed. Can you believe how tiny and cute these things are?! Lugart Petit has a lovely Etsy shop you might want to check out too. :-) Thank you Maria-Jose and Monica!

The second prize I won is this adorable Moses basket with rose patterned fabric (also quite petite) from Anna of  Littlethings blog in Athens, Greece. I show the Moses basket here with a half-scale vintage Japanese ironing board. Isn't Anna's prize pretty and sweet? She also sent a couple of lovely handmade extras: a Santa magnet and a heart-shaped tree ornament. How thoughtful! Thank you Anna! Here is Anna's shop.

Next time I will show Dad's Dollhouse dressed in its Christmas finest. That's in two days, on Christmas eve. Also, I haven't mentioned it in a while, but my Big Miniatures Giveaway is still going on. Check out the giveaway post to enter. There's still time! You can enter through January 1, 2012, and I will announce the winner on January 2, 2012. Until next time.... xoxo Jennifer

Monday, December 19, 2011

Lovers Cottage

I finally decided on a theme for my miniature shabby chic cottage: it will be a lovers cottage. Once I decided to leave the walls white, I kept getting a romantic retreat in my mind. Then I won this miniature framed 1920s wedding photo in an ebay auction, and my ideas started to solidify:

Caroline of Cinderella Moments suggested that I use things in the house that I find irresistible. I want it to be  romantic, with flowers, a fireplace, a luxurious bed, perfume bottles, sexy lingerie, and so on. I love all of that romantic stuff!

So now I'm trying things out:

The room is so tiny that I'm limited as far as how much I can put in it, but that will help me to tell the story well with just a few key miniature items. I've been trying out existing pieces of furniture in different floor layouts. Eventually I'll paint everything white and shabby "chic-ify" it. For now, I'm still experimenting. Until next time.... xoxo Jennifer

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cute Things #3

I found this little beauty at a thrift store in a box full of wires and Christmas lights. The red string was intertwined with the wires, and it took some work to free it. I'm so happy I did, though. It's a wind-up toy! When you wind up the mama hen, she starts walking, and her baby chicks follow behind! I don't know if you can see how cute this is, but if you can, you must be oohing and ahhing right now. :-)

Mama is 2 1/2 inches (7 cm) tall, and her babies are 1 inch (2 1/2 cm) tall. Made in China and of plastic, this toy is not old, but it has a vintage look to it. I adore it! I have two more wind-up toys, a hopping lavender plush bunny and a spinning seal pup, and that is the extent of my collection (which is fine with me). ;-)

Do you have any toys or toy collections? Tell me--I'd love to hear about them! Until next time.... xoxo Jennifer

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Visit to The Knittn' Kitten Vintage Craft Supply Store

Yesterday I visited one of my favorite places, The Knittn' Kitten: Portland's Vintage Fabric and Craft Store. Whenever I go there, I come home loaded with vintage fabric, buttons, beads, embroidery floss, and yarn--and I don't have to pay an arm and a leg for it either--yay!

Ethel and Rome, mother and daughter, are the proprietors of The Kitten. If they don't have what I'm looking for in the shop, often they can get it for me. The best is when they go into their storage room and dig a little. Usually they return with craft supply treasures! ;-)

Ethel greeting me at the door

Yesterday I bought beads and felt. Last time I was there I bought gingham fabric, lace, and ribbon. It's just a fantastic way to recycle, get the craft supplies I need, and save money over buying from the big box-type craft stores. Maybe that's why my fabric and craft supply stash is so big! :-)

Let me give you a little tour of the place:

Ribbons and lace, Rome in the background helping a customer

Vintage notions and fabrics

Vintage buttons and beads

Miniature bear rug for your dollhouse, anyone?

If you're in the Portland area, The Knittn' Kitten is a no-brainer--definitely stop in for a visit. They're located at 7530 NE Glisan Street. The phone number is (503) 255-3022. If you can't make it to Portland, Ethel and Rome have an Etsy shop too--woohoo! I hope you enjoyed my little tour of one of my favorite places. Until next time.... xoxo Jennifer

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Beautiful Mini Blessings Prizes Plus Shabby Chic Cottage Update

I received Kathi's Beautiful Mini Blessings giveaway prizes late Monday afternoon, and boy, did she spoil me rotten! Not only did she send these amazing beauties (all made by her!),

but she also sent all of these extras! Fabrics, ribbons, lace, a shelf, a hutch, and a bunch of cute dollhouse miniatures! There's a tiny pink flamingo leaning against the hutch--so cute!

And this photo is a close-up on a darling dollhouse book and a bunch of lovely mini magazines. Wow--I'm thrilled! Thank you again, Kathi! I love everything! :-) You all might want to be following Kathi's blog now so you can enter Kathi's next giveaway! ;-) Besides, her blog is really fun!

I'd been doing some work on my new shabby chic cottage in anticipation of receiving Kathi's prizes. I wasn't sure the flocked white Christmas tree would fit in Dad's Dollhouse with its Victorian decor, but I figured the tree would look really nice in a shabby chic environment. So I've done a little bit to the house, which as you may remember, arrived in pieces from Greece.

First, I removed two small areas of wallpaper in the attic:

Wallpaper before

I did some research online and found the suggestion to lay a hot steamy wrung-out cloth on the wallpapered walls before scraping off the loosened wallpaper. It worked, although it took several tries to get the wallpaper and ALL of the glue off. Patience was the key word! :-)

Wallpaper after (no wallpaper--yay!)

After I removed the wallpaper, I gave most of the pieces a first coat of gesso. So that's how I got the pictures of Kathi's prizes above. I removed the wallpaper, I painted the inside walls of the house with gesso, and then I leaned the house walls together long enough to take some photos (!). Next steps will be more painting and then wallpapering--yikes! If anyone has wallpapering tips for me, please do share! Until next time.... xoxo Jennifer

Monday, December 5, 2011

Where Have All the Dollhouses Gone?

I've gotten rid of some of my dollhouses. Bought with hopes for future fun, several of them looked different once I came out of my buyer's fog. ;-) I'd mentioned in a previous post that I was having second thoughts about the first house I bought, the one I called My 1970s Dollhouse:

It was made of old particle board, was heavy, and wasn't to scale. It was more of a child's dollhouse and needed redecorating. I decided to donate it to a charitable organization, along with this one:

It was also a child's play dollhouse. I found it in pieces at a thrift store for $5. Once I got it home, I realized it wasn't the antique dollhouse I had imagined, so I cleaned it and put it together, and took a couple of photos of it in the back of my truck before I hauled it away for donation along with the 1970s dollhouse.

The third dollhouse I want to mention is the one that also was a 1970s dollhouse, but I called it My Shabby Chic Cottage. Again, I had high hopes for this one. It had "good bones." It was a to-scale dollhouse miniature collector's house with siding, hardwood floors, and a beautiful staircase. The problems for me were that it was heavy, it took up a lot of space, and it needed a lot of work (mostly wallpaper removal). I also didn't care for the fact that the rooms were really deep from front to back of the house.

Finally, after hemming and hawing about what to do with it, I decided to sell it. I sold it last weekend to a mom who wanted to work on it with her daughter. I sold it for what I paid for it, but I kept all the furniture and family (also kept all of that from the 1970s dollhouse too!). So, I feel I've come out ahead. The furniture and families are worth more than what I spent on all of the houses, and I know I'll use more of the furniture (besides what I've already used in Dad's Dollhouse) in future projects.

Now I have two dollhouses left. There's Dad's Dollhouse (did you notice the new link at the top of my blog that takes you to a page with ALL of the Dad's Dollhouse posts?), and there's also my new Shabby Chic Cottage, the one I won from Tam toum's giveaway. I like that this house is compact and lightweight. Next post I'll show you some work I've been doing on it. Until next time.... xoxo Jennifer

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cute Things #2

I am heartbroken. I was acting as a surrogate mother to Elliot, a precious tabby cat, for the last six or seven weeks. Today he got on a plane to go live with his real mom again in Colorado. I only had a couple of days' notice. I've been crying off and on for the last three days.

Innocent one

You see, his mom left him with her ex-boyfriend a couple of months ago, and Elliot adopted me. He showed up at my back door howling pitifully. Soon he was sleeping on my sofa with his head resting on my lap. He came every morning at 6 or 7 am. He was always on my back step, waiting for me. He stayed all day every day until my husband put him outside for the night.

Sending me a kitty kiss

We both fell for him. He had food, water, and shelter at the other house, but at our house he had attention and love. When his mom was ready to be responsible for him again, she sent for him. That was it. Now he's gone. Will he be happy there? Will I ever get over him?

Cat and mouse

Until next time.... xoxo Jennifer