Deutschland Goodies (Part III)

Finally! I can write about the last item from my delivery last week. And I had to save the best for last.

In all honesty, I actually found this on Aparello.de – which I guess I can best describe as an online antiques/vintage store that’s based in Germany. I found it by accident during my search for German mid-century mod miniatures, and upon finding this item, explored the site some more….and found the two sets I mentioned in Part I and II. But seriously, even if the other sets didn’t exist…I still would have found a way to bring this home.

After talking with BK about this (he was totally game with it thank god), I initially tried to purchase them through the Aparello website – but for some reason, it wouldn’t allow me to complete the transaction. I was so close to giving up until BK suggested that perhaps the vendor is selling the same merchandise on eBay. That was such a brilliant idea – becuase it turned out the seller not only had listings on eBay…but he was also selling all three miniatures. And even better – I had the option to submit a best offer!

Not sure about you all, but apparently the mini gods decided to smile benevolently on this village idiot.  Because I did put my offer on each item, and they were accepted a few hours later. [imagines a huge yellow arrow pointing above her head going “AW YEAH!”]

Now if anyone (at least those in the United States) is thinking of hunting for miniatures in Germany for the first time, I’ll pass on the following advice:

  • Keep an eye on the currency exchange rates.  When I bought my items, the exchange rate was 1 USD = 0.901 EUR.  If it had been the other way around…I would have been forced to walk away from these goodies because it’d be just too darn pricey.
  • Be prepared to not just possibly pay alot for shipping but also expect to pay for the VAT (value added tax). And customs fees.
  • And be prepared to wait for a bit. Found out that my shipment arrived almost a week late because my shipment stayed in a warehouse in Frankfurt before it was shipped to New Jersey (as port of entry) and handed to the US Postal Service for delivery.
  • If you don’t know German…use a good translator. Or in my case, bribe my husband to read and translate German for you. And use Google translate on days he’s too busy/annoyed to help.  Now I owe him several dinners at his favorite Thai restaurant. 😀

Okay, I’ve rambled enough….let’s get to the finale yes?

So the last item was pretty big….well, it was large enough to begin with. But the vendor made it even bigger thanks to the…I dunno, several yards worth of bubble tape and shipping tape used to wrap this mysterious beauty. I tried to be careful but after 10 minutes for frustration, BK saved the day by procuring some scissors and cutting at some strategic locations.

Once the wrappings were removed, BK and I moved the item to our dining room table, where he left me alone to gape (and drool) at what’s to come. Prolly a good idea too – because once the wrappings were removed, I started coughing at the amount of dust that was disturbed. I ended up going upstairs to get a face mask before resuming.

After removing the bubble wraps...this is what I was presented with.

After removing the bubble wraps…this is what I was presented with.

After removing the papers, more of the mystery item was revealed. Wow, the vendor did a really AWESOME job packing it.

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Left side exterior. Check out the huge windows!

Left side exterior. Check out the huge windows!

Exterior right side view.

Exterior right side view.

Am sure you guessed what it is at this point. This is actually a handmade dollhouse that was made sometime in the 1970s. But the sweet part about this house? The vendor was selling not just the dollhouse, but all of its contents. And I mean EVERYTHING.

But before I could show you the contents, I pulled out the wrapped items because I wanted a closer look of the house. The vendor provided pics in the original eBay listing which were lovely and all. But it’s definitely different seeing it as the new owner…

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Overall view of the rooms.

We’ll start with the living room….I was surprised that the wallpaper was still intact. And the curtains were still in almost perfect condition.

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View of living room.

Moving onto the next room – the kitchen. I didn’t realize how small the doors were….and how they were framed with red electrical tape! Similar to the living room, it looks like the ceilings were covered with some kind of white vinyl contact paper….I might have to look at either trimming the loose edges or possibly stripping that off and replacing it. (still mulling)

The kitchen.

The kitchen.

As weird as this sounds…this room captivates me. Not sure if it’s the wooden stairs, of the flower pots glued on the window sill….or the yellow wall lamp and plug on the wall. I’m gonna have to figure out if these light fixtures are working! *crosses fingers*

The hallway/stairs leading to the second floor.

The hallway/stairs leading to the second floor.

The second floor was set to display two bedrooms. The first room is pretty huge. Sadly, I was bummed to find out that the wires for the wall lamp on the far right wall was cut. Hopefully I can figure out a way to rewire it.

The second bedroom’s ceiling light was in just as bad a shape. You can see whoever installed the lighting used strips of white contact paper to hide the wire leading to the wall….which was also torn in half along the wall. Looks like I got some seriously pondering to do in terms of fixing this…. 😦

Bedroom #1

Bedroom #1

Bedroom #2.

Bedroom #2.

With the rooms inspected, I started the long but ridiculously fun process of unwrapping the contents of the house and putting them inside my newly acquired property. Huh, guess there’s a color them going on here….

Das rote haus (I think that's right)...

Das rote haus (I think that’s right)…

The (furnished) living room

The (furnished) living room

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The kitchen.

The kitchen.

View of the kitchen units. Check out the pattern on the table!

View of the kitchen units. Check out the pattern on the table!

Once I started placing the furnishings for the bedrooms…I was wondering why the white parts were looking gray and dingy. Only to realize that all the furnishings were covered with a thin layer of dust. And my fat-ass sausage-like alien-shaped clumsy fingers were smearing them everywhere! 😦

(To do list #1: Clean the miniatures alongside the Modella and Crailsheimer sets)

The children's room.

The children’s room.

(To do list #2: make mattress and new bedding. The “bedding” the pieces came with….smelled really funky. Enough to make me not want to find out what it is)

The master bedroom. Need to figure out a better configuration.

The master bedroom. Need to figure out a better configuration.

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In my excitement, I forgot to take pics of the accessories that came with the furnishings. It was actually funny opening up drawers and doors and having mini cups, lamps, pots and pans, etc., spill out onto my dining table. Or in most cases, on my lap. And like the furnishings, they were all dusty.

(Update on to-do list #1: clean up LOTS of vintage minis)

And of course…what’s an apparently loved and cherished puppenhaus (or puppenstube) would be without its miniature occupants?

The dollies of das rote haus.

The dollies of das rote haus.

If I’m right, the mother and father (and the baby on the far right) are Caco dolls from Germany. The other dolls I’m sure of, but I did find them wrapped with the children’s bedroom set.

Close up of the kiddie dolls.

Close up of the kiddie dolls.

While the children dolls look like they’re in good condition (they’ll need a good dusting/washing I think), the Caco dolls were in not so good shape…

Uh-oh.

Uh-oh.

I’m gonna throw this out there to my dear readers: anyone interested in giving these dolls a home and possibly a makeover? The father and mother doll’s necks look like they’ll break at any second, and the father doll’s head/neck is completely seperated from the body.

I was tempted to borrow a soldering iron to maybe connect the head/neck to the body (since they have a wire skeleton inside). But I’m worried that even the slightest bend will cause them to seperate once again. So again, if anyone thinks they can fix these dolls, let me know and they’re all yours.

That’s it for now. I have to think of a name for this vintage beauty. And I got a pile of minis to clean in the next few days. And prolly cough my lungs out from all the dust.  But hey, totally worth it yo!

Deutschland Goodies (Part II)

High from the excitement of inspecting my vintage Modella sitting room set, I did go back and pulled the next item I could reach inside the large shipping box. Plus, I know the darn shipping box was occupying space in our living room. I’m sure BK is gonna be so relieved once I get the contents out and he can break down the boxes for recyling (laughs).

Speaking of BK…apparently he said I looked like this when I was rooting around the shipping box (see this link). Granted, I laughed….but I will exact vengeance later tonight at dinner time. Brussel sprouts are on the menu, and I know there will be wailing and lamentations when he sees his plate.

Since we covered the introductions from the last post, let’s cut to the chase and scope out item #2!

German miniature goodie #2 - aw yiss!

German miniature goodie #2 – aw yiss!

As you can see in the photo above, this set was manufactured by a German company named Crailsheimer. I actually found about this company by accident in December when I purchased (as a holiday gift) a vintage living room set by this same company. I’ll write about this set (and another Modella set) at another post, but it basically  reinforced my search to collect vintage German miniatures. So when I found this set online, I knew I had to have it.

(Yeah, I’ve pretty much kissed my tax refund goodbye from this purchase…along with other things. But that’ll be told later. Prolly much, much later *shifty eye action*)

Okay, rambling once again….let’s dive in shall we?

Contents of the Crailsheimer set.

Contents of the Crailsheimer set.

Given my grasp of German is pretty much a despondent zero, and BK admitted his command of the language is basic at best (hey, better than your crazy wife imho), the box didn’t exactly indicate what was inside of it. I’m hoping back then, you had a chance to open the package to see what’s inside before you buy it. Luckily, the seller described the contents so I knew what I was getting….and man, this is a really gorgeous bedroom set!

Close up of the twin beds.

Close up of the twin beds.

Like the Modella set, this bedroom set is also made of plastic with “wood” panels made of contact paper, and plexiglass “glass” tops. While the box was in better condition (as in it was held together by a rubber band….and sans prayers apparently), it did jack to protect the pieces from this weird layer of dust that caked everything. I had to do a quick wipe down of the pieces with some damp paper towels before taking pics.

(Itinerary for the weekend: clean these pieces apparently)

Another view of the beds.

Another view of the beds.

I took this photo because the first shot didn’t exactly show off the “glass” top of the nighstands. Man, is it possible to have this in real life size? This would look really awesome for a guest room or something.

Other pieces in the Crailsheimer bedroom set: 2 wardrobes and a dressing table..?

Other pieces in the Crailsheimer bedroom set: 2 wardrobes and a dressing table..?

The next pieces in the set are a pair of wardrobes and what I’m guessing to be a dressing table. BK and I are currently in disagreement about what it is. My dear husband thinks it’s a desk. However I’m adamant it’s a dressing table since the set has what looks like a stool (which I didn’t take a pic – sorry, laziness took over I guess). Either, way, they all look gorgeous. Sadly, you can see the wardrobe on the left is missing a handle on the right side door. The seller indicated that this was missing, and sadly, he was right since I checked the box to see if perhaps it’s still in the box.

Extras in the set.

Extras in the set.

Alongside the main pieces, the box did have some extras to it. In the photo above, you can see there’s two sets of bedding which I’m assuming was supposed to be part of the set. Am not gonna lie….I didn’t like them one bit. Mostly because instead of fabric, the bedding has this weird plasticky feel to it. To be honest, it reminds me of the crib mats. Or those plastic sheeting you use to cover a child’s bed to prevent nightly accidents. Kinda creeped the bejesus out of me for some reason. I won’t toss them away mind you. I’ll store them lest someone wants them (just lemme know).

The remaining pieces look like whoever owned the set tossed them in for good measure. One appears to be a green “glass” table lap – the plug is in great condition, but when I peeked inside the shade, there’s no bulb. (insert long sigh here) And lastly, the plastic baby doll….kinda freaked me out as well. But not to the same extent as the more bizarre plastic bedding sets.  Seriously, if someone wants these do let me know. So long as I don’t think about them, maybe I won’t shudder as much huh?

Huh….am now down to one item in the shipping box. Is it bad that I’m starting to feel sad that I’m reaching the end of my goodie box? But hopefully, once I pull this last item out, it’ll be worth the wait for you all. 🙂

 

Deutschland Goodies (Part I)

Yes, I’ve been an absolutely terrible blog writer. I was hoping 2016 would give me a break after enduring the various fiascos that peppered 2015. But apparently, that wasn’t in the cards at all. Work was demanding more of my time, which meant whatever free time I had, I really had to choose between spending quality time with BK, family and friends.

In short, adulting just freaking sucks. Granted, being an adult has its perks. But man, what does it take to win the lotto so we can do what really makes happy right?

Anyhoo, I refuse to stay in the ranting/venting/gnashing of teeth. This is a miniature blog, and I know you (my dear reader), want to peruse the goodies. And in the case of the title, I DO want to share my victorious finds in the most unlikely of places.

While I love dabbling with modern miniatures, around October 2015 I started to look into the more vintage mid-century miniatures. I started checking out the site Dolls’ Houses Past & Present to get an idea of what was in the market during the 1950s-70s. I had heard of companies like Bodo Hennig (which I recalled took alot of begging to my parents to purchase a metal cook stove for my first house. I still have that stove under lock and key). But soon, I found that there were manufacturers like Crailsheimer, Qualitats, and Modella that produced mid-century style dollhouse furniture.

Curious as hell, I started doing random online searches. And lucky me, BK took German in high school and college, so he gave me some terms to use like “puppenhaus” or what I found out later, “puppenstube”.  And yes, I will confess, I used Google translate ALOT.

Eventually, I found (and after much negotiation with BK) and bought a couple of miniatures from eBay. And after almost three weeks of waiting…the package arrived. And holy crap, was it a huge box!

Uh, this was unexpected...

Uh, this was unexpected…

Apparently it required BK and our local postal delivery dude (thanks Mr. B!) to bring it inside the house. The freaking box was almost up to my neck when I saw it after coming home from the office.

Later that night, BK helped me open the top of the box….and quickly stepped back as I almost pounced inside to start pulling out contents. All of these items I got from the same seller, and the descriptions did warn me that the packages were gonna be in poor/crappy condition. But hey, that’s a fair trade so long as the contents inside are in great condition.

First item!

First item!

The first item – yeah, the seller wasn’t kidding about the package. I think the box was being held together by a single rubber band (and probably a bunch of prayers).

However, once I removed the band and lifted the lid, I gave the first (of many) happy squeals.

Woot! Crappy condition of box + awesome contents inside = totally worth it.

Woot! Crappy condition of box + awesome contents inside = totally worth it.

The first box (by Modella) contained what the listing described as a “sitting room set” – a credenza with sliding doors, a pair of side tables, a coffee table, a sideboard with a yellow “glass” sliding upper cabinet, and four arm chairs.

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The pieces I was most concerned about were the armchairs. Given that all the pieces in the set are made of plastic, I was worried if the chair frames had snapped during shipment. To my relief, each one was perfectly intact. Sadly, the “seating” components were long since gone or intentionally removed. But I guess this just means I have to work on putting new cushions and fabric right? 🙂

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Because the box contents weren’t exactly in place, I seriously got surprised to find accessories hidden under the tables when I pulled them out of the box. The radio and alarm clock were in perfect (albeit dusty) condition. BK and I however got a good giggle when we saw the rotary phone….and mused how we probably would be clueless on how to use them.

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The storage pieces of the living room set. And yeap, that’s ARC III in the back!

The final two pieces (the credenza and the sideboard/upper cabinet set) are gorgeous. Despite being dusty inside and out, everything was intact and working. The handles were a little loose, but hopefully a pair of tweezers and some glue might help reinforce things.

Oh man…one set down, two more to unopen. Stay tuned for Part II – I need to go back to the big box o’ mystery goodies and pull out the next vintage miniature goodie from Germany!

The Neville’s Done! Woot!

Today was a bit busy. With my brother and sister-in-law coming to visit us in a few weeks, I spent most of Saturday cleaning the house. Mostly packing up more things to put in storage, and begin the long process of scouring things from top to bottom. Figured it’s best to break up the tasks into manageable chunks versus trying to do everything at the last minute.

Luckily, I finished what I wanted to do around lunchtime. ..which was perfect because (a) I need to take pics of the Neville because (b)….I was officially done in its modification. Well, from a technical sense I was complete. Whether or not I’m satisfied with the outcome is a subject of debate.

For starters, I finally completed the “glass rail”.

The Neville House with its new "glass" rail.

The Neville House with its new “glass” rail.

If you look carefully at the above pic…yeah, you can see some fudge ups on my end. The big one are the rails….if you look closely, the top rail looks bowed in the center. And on the bottom rail….you can make out where the glue seeped out. Ugh, the more I look at the railing, the more I’m mad at myself. It just seems….sloppy.

Side view with the "lopsided" railing. Urgh!

Side view with the “lopsided” railing. Urgh!

The second photo above….(sigh). You can see How phow the railing not only appears bow-legged (for lack of a better term), but also the entire thing is tilting towards the front. I might need to step away from this and rethink the process….and just redo it. Otherwise, that’s going to bug the crap out of me. 😦

BK thinks I’m being too hard on myself. Perhaps I am…but I guess I’m more disappointed in myself not thinking it through.

Tilting railing aside…at least the rest of the Neville is done. And I can safely start putting the pieces in place.

Putting the cabinet in place.

Putting the cabinet in place.

Have to say…it’s challenging positioning one hand to help put the miniatures in place, while the other hand tries to focus and take the shot with one’s smartphone.

Securing the statue in place.

Securing the statue in place.

After the cabinet was moved in, I had to contort my wrists a bit to install the wall decorations on the foreground (more on them later). Then the chairs were moved in.

Steady...steady...

Steady…steady…

Soon…the first set of furniture are in place. I wanted to take a pic of this set before moving the next ones in. The minute I got notification from eBay that I won the Neville House, I quickly made a beeline for the  MultiforMiniatures shop at Etsy. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the items in Monsieur Orloff’s shop were sold.  And I had just marked them as favorites less than 48 hours prior!

Was sweating bullets when I contacted Monsieur Orloff to see if I may be added in his queue for custom order requests. Once again, Monsieur Orloff not only added me in the request queue, but cranked out the items I was hoping to buy before they got sold. I picked the green fabric because I loved the white and mustard “dots” against the green. It really worked out well against the Orla Kiely wrapping paper that I used as wallpaper. 🙂

So Monsieur Orloff, thank you so much! And you’re right — the brass legs look WAY better in the chairs.

CompletedNeville-9
Credits: The cabinet was created by Monsieur Orloff of MultiforMiniatures. The green chairs were also a custom order made by Monsieur Orloff (thank you!). The dark pink and reddish wooden bowls were purchased from Oppi’s Store Miniatures & More. The Buddha statue, books, and book end were random eBay purchases.

Just another angle shot of the chairs and cabinet.

Just another angle shot of the chairs and cabinet.

Given I was relying heavily on the sunlight coming from the dining room (where I was taking the photos), I was snapping as many pics as possible.

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After I took enough pictures, I started to move the next set of furniture in…

Yeah....please ignore the fat claw known as my hand. Thank you.

Yeah….please ignore the fat claw known as my hand. Thank you.

A few minutes later, everything was officially in place.

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Tadah!

Close up of the dining set.

Close up of the dining set.

The table and chars were also from MultiforMiniatures – I actually saw this still available at the shop (along with the cabinet in the back) and immediately asked Monsieur Orloff if I could reserve them for purchase. Looks like I’ll need to act quick next time I visit his shop — his stuff’s flying off the shelves! :O

On the table, I found some aqua blue dinnerware pieces on eBay. But given the pieces were being used in a 1:16 scale setting, I had to nitpick through the selections. I ended up getting plates that were about 20mm, and the bowls were about 11 mm in size.

The platter and tureen were the smallest serving items I could find in the store’s collection — though it looks like they worked well enough on the table. The drinking glasses and pitcher were also purchased from eBay — but they’re actually 1:24 scale. As for the place mats, I cut them out of cardstock.

For the next hour, I was trying to shove my smartphone in every spot I could imagine around the Neville House to get as many interior shots as possible. The following were the best ones I could get out of at least 4 dozen shots. At this point…I wonder if it’s worth sucking it up and getting a good camera. If anyone has any recommendations…am all ears.

Angle shot of the dining area.  Wooden artwork on wall is actually a walnut laser bead from 3StarStudioArts

Angle shot of the dining area.
Wooden artwork on wall is actually a walnut laser bead from 3StarStudioArts

Another angle of the same area.

Another angle of the same area.

View of the dining area from the left side. Artwork on the walls are actually beads from 3StarStudioArts.

View of the dining area from the left side. Artwork on the walls are actually beads from 3StarStudioArts.

For the outside, I placed some plants on the outside porch. Might end up swapping them with something else. But for now, they’ll do nicely in providing color for the Neville House.

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I was originally going to have inhabitants for the Neville, but BK thinks I should leave this unoccupied. Mostly because he asked to have this displayed in our living room’s bookcase. Then again…I got the following delivered by the USPS dude. My dolls for the Djeco furniture playsets have arrived!

Family Milo and Lila dolls by Djeco.

Family Milo and Lila dolls by Djeco.

I purchased these dolls from French Blossom a couple of weeks ago. Which makes sense, given most of my receipt appears to be in French. Huh, maybe it was good my parents made me take French all through high school and college! I could still read the language and get away understanding the verbal basics. But conversing in it….that might be a different story….

Back view of the package. For 4-10 years old? Hah!

Back view of the package. For 4-10 years old? Hah!

Based on the photos on the back of the box, it looks like the dolls are super poseable. Time to find out!

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Wow, they look so cute!

Once I pulled them out of the box, I was immediately impressed at how well made they are. The painted features look really crisp, and the clothing’s much more intense in color compared to what the package displayed. Again, it totally puzzles me why toys like like aren’t easily available here! If someone from Djeco comes across this….might you please consider having this available in North America? Even Amazon? I’d totally buy more from your miniature series…

But enough rants crazy blogger girl! Time to test them against the Neville!

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The kids are checking out the front porch….

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…while Mom and Dad check out the interior. Looks like the mother’s enjoying the chairs immensely!

Well, they’re definitely poseable. The knees bend very well, and the leg joints move smoothly when I moved the dolls into a sitting position. Though it’s a bit of a bummer than their arms don’t bend at the elbows.

Nevertheless, that was the only con against the list of good points the dolls provided — and seriously, I can live with that. Definitely happy that I got these dolls to go with my Djeco sets — now I just need their future home to arrive.

What is it you ask? Well…I’m not sure either. It’s definitely experimental that’s for sure!

(yeah I know that was mean of me. I’ll make it up to you all soon. For now…please don’t hurt me)

Holy Crap, Where’s the Off Switch??

Okay…I’m seriously glad I’m recovering from the flu. Because I’m realizing a couple of things in my inboxes.

For starters…apparently I DID CAVE IN and bought this. And it’s en route to me from the Netherlands. <facepalm #1>
Good lord, what was I thinking???

Actually no…I KNEW what I was thinking. I couldn’t pass this up. Especially with all the ideas I have in mind for this beauty.

Half scale dollhouse made of cardboard.
From Melissasminiwereld shop on Etsy.

And second….I paid a pretty hefty amount to win the following on eBay. <facepalm #2….and 3….and 4….>

Djeco dollhouse miniature furniture set. Used with permission by eBay seller.

Djeco dollhouse miniature furniture set.
Used with permission by eBay seller.

The above set is created by a French toy company called Djeco. Apparently these pieces are part of their “Petit Home” series. These are set in 1:18 scale – similar to Lundby sizes (and can fit in the ARC III) – and are made of plastic and wood. I got more intrigued by the designs of the pieces – especially the dining and living room sets. Definitely has a bit of that modern vintage vibe in the shapes. Plus, the yellows and blues and reds just screamed fun to me. 🙂

Djeco dollhouse miniature furniture set.  Used with permission by eBay seller.

Djeco dollhouse miniature furniture set.
Used with permission by eBay seller.

I was curious why this hasn’t been heard of here in the US — apparently it’s because we can’t get it anywhere in the US (at least from what I could find online). If you wanted to buy these — you’d have to order them either from the EU (like in France or Spain) or Australia. Talk about getting sucker punched, given how $$$ shipping can be from these locations. At the moment, I found one online site that has the series in stock.

Granted, I put a hefty amount to win the bid on eBay. But in the grand scheme of things…the price I paid ended up being comparable had I decided to suck it up and buy the pieces from the EU.

I’m so looking forward to when these pieces arrived. I haven’t figured out how to display them. Djeco does offer the following two to house the pieces – a traditional home style dollhouse. Or a modern style home for those enfants with modern tastes. They even have different selections of what doll families you want to occupy your dollhouse!

Djeco Cubic House.
Photo from the Bilboquet website.

We all know I’m leaning towards the Cubist style, but I have to admit, the home style version is just as adorable….and a bit of a spacesaver, at 40 cm x 40cm x 36.5 cm (about 16″x16″x about 14″)

Djeco Color House.
Photo from the Bilboquet website.

Or…now that I have the jigsaw and a source for Gatorboard….do I risk attempting a scratchbuild? I found someone who posted instructions (and schematics) on how to build a vintage A-Frame dollhouse that’s collapsible. And it’s in 1:16 scale. But then again….I should see how I turn out scratch building the retreat. I think I’m set with the interior layout. The exterior part I seem to be fluctuate a bit from my original concept. Not a good sign methinks.

Either way….I’m going to be super busy. A super busy idiot that is. <facepalm moment>

Until then…and until the Gatorboard arrives….I need to move to another quick project. Maybe something involving Copeland the Wonder Piano perhaps?

Copeland + Corner Roombox = Next Project on Queue

Copeland + Corner Roombox = Next Project on Queue

Well, given that as of tonight (2/16/15), most of Washington DC will be getting between 5 to 12 inches of snow….am going to guess alot of the offices will be closed. I sure hope so — it’ll be nice to work on this while watching the snow pile up outside. And if the federal offices are closed…that means I’ll get more snuggle time with BK! Win!

With my implements of war...

With my implements of war…

Sunday Readings

Woohoo! Finally…not feeling too sick compared to the last couple of days. I mostly spent Friday resting after getting hit with another fever. By Saturday morning…I was feeling a little bit tired at first, but started to feel like I had a little more stamina. And for once, an appetite to actually eat something beyond water, crackers, and ginger ale. So that was good at least. Because I wanted to work on some miniatures.

But in my case…it was a different kind. As in a different scale altogether. That’s right folks….along with working on 1/12, 1/16 (or 1/18), and half scale…..I’ve made the plunge and added 1:6 scale in my madness.

For those who aren’t familiar with this scale…it’s essentially the scale used for 11-12″ fashion dolls. This scale had intrigued me since college, but at that time, I couldn’t exactly afford anything. Let alone the fashion dolls outside the ones available for little girls. I figured, when I get to a point in life where I can invest more into my hobby…then I’d explore the 1:6 scale realm in more detail.

Which brings us to…I dunno, November 2014. I decided from there, I’d make 2015 the year I really took the plunge and dive into this scale.  And the fact I have to wait for the materials for The Retreat to arrive…figured maybe this weekend, I’m going to complete my first 1:6 diorama.

I will admit here folks, I did kinda cheat by getting things over the holidays. And that’s partly why, if you recall in a previous entry, why I had a HUGE pile of packages awaiting BK and I when we came back. I can now admit to you all that of that pile….maybe 40% of the loot consisted of things I had acquired relating to this new scale.

For starters….instead of doing dollhouses, I opted for roomboxes for flexibility (and for not taking up too much space). I ultimately purchased three over the holidays, and of the three, decided to work on this one.

What...what is this????

What…what is this????

I purchased this roombox from Mlle Yogi of RoomLotus over at Etsy. She specializes in creating roomboxes meant for 1:6 scale, but she does accept custom work if you want a roombox of different scales and styles. I ended up picking this roombox because I loved how it has a corner window…much like what you’d see in condos or urban lofts. For some weird reason, I got an image of the afternoon sunlight streaming through that huge window, while curled up with a good book. Suffice to say, I took that image and ran with it.

I began this project around lunchtime this past Saturday….my goal was to see how quickly could I complete this diorama. I figured, hey, it’s a bigger scale — I should finish this quicker right? Figured so long as I maximize use of all my available resources, this should be a relatively fast build.

For starters, I started with the hardest task. Namely removing the already installed baseboard trim and window casings. When I bought the roombox, it already had the trim installed. I was fine with the trim (sorry Mlle Yogi), but because I was planning to install flooring and wallpaper…I knew it will be easier to install those with the trim out of the way.

So with my utility knife, a screwdriver, and sandpaper…I pried off the trim. Once the walls were sanded smooth, I used remnants of the sapele wood veneer edge banding (that made up the floors of the ARC III) and applied them to the roombox as its new hardwood floors. Then of course, I sanded the flooring and buffed it with my beeswax wood polish.

New flooring installed.

New flooring installed.

While the wood polish was being absorbed, I covered the floor using some wax paper and painters tape before flipping the roombox on its sides to paint the side walls. I ended up using a whole container of my FolkArt Clay Bisque acrylic paint because I ended up doing two coats on each side wall, and sanding it twice to get the smooth finish I wanted.

For the rear wall, I used the Multi-Stem Flower wrapping paper from Paper Source. The design is based on a popular pattern from Orla Kiely (you can get this as wallpaper in real life — if you can afford the cost that is). I love that the paper has the pattern in a larger scale on one side, but if you flip it over, the other side has a smaller scale version of the same pattern. I opted for the latter to decorate the wall — now I wish I had gotten more of this paper. It’s pretty thick (given it’s gift wrap), and when I applied my Yes! Adhesive paste on it….it absorbed the paper like a champ. And it hung like a dream when I applied it to the wall.

Installing the Multi-Stem Flower paper. Pretty!

Installing the Multi-Stem Flower paper. Pretty!

Wallpaper installed.

Wallpaper installed.

At this point, it was about 3:30 pm in the afternoon. BK and I were due to leave to have dinner with my parents that evening, and I only had about an hour left to work on the roombox before I had get ready. I ended up cutting and prepping the new trim for that remaining hour before I had to reluctantly leave everything to get ready. While we had a blast having dinner with my family, we managed to get home early. Mostly for BK to return to finish up work he brought from the office, and for me to at least install the trim.

In terms of the trim, I actually got mine from Manchester Dollhouse and Woodworks. The eBay shop has a section specifically for Barbie-sized (1:8 or Playscale) projects. Am not going to lie…the prices for the trim is a little bit more steep compared to 1:12 scale. When I was purchasing the stuff back in December, I took a gamble and really stockpiled the parts from 1/24 all the way to 1/8 scale. Mostly to make the shipping cost worthwhile. Plus, the last thing I want is to find myself short on a particular piece of trim. 😦

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of the actual work done on the trim. But I’ll at least share the following things I’ve learned.

  1. Get a deeper mitre box. The baseboard I used for the roombox was a couple of millimeters taller than my mitre box. I had to jerry-rig a pseudo mitre tool using scrap mdf pieces to make sure I was making accurate 45 degree cuts. Not fun at all.
  2. Use a 1 1/2″ tall saw when cutting 1:6 to 1:8 scale trim. When I was sawing, and I was about 75% through the height of the trim….my saw couldn’t go further. Again, had to jerry-rig a bit to complete the cut — all while cursing up a storm.
  3. When installing window casing….don’t use water based adhesives like Tacky glue. Especially if said trim is kinda on the thin side. The minute I tried to install the new casing around the window….the trim kinda buckled a bit from the moisture. I had to either lie the roombox on its back or sides, and weigh the casing trim down with whatever heavy books I could fit to make sure the trim dried in position — and level. Again, not fun. But at least I wasn’t cursing. At least not too much.

At this point, it was already close to 11:00 pm, and I was already exhausted. So I took my antibiotics and got ready to bed. Figured once I get up on Sunday, the trim will have dried nicely — and I can resume working on the roombox and finish it up. You can imagine how relieved I was when I checked the roombox — the glue dried up nicely, and the trim was level around the windows. Capital!

At the advice of my sister, she suggested that I try taking pics of my work in the living room since I can get as much natural light as possible. That was actually a good idea — not only did my pics appear a bit better, but I could safely take pics in probably the most tidy room in the house! 😀

Sunday morning: the trims are all installed and secured.

Sunday morning: the trims are all installed and secured.

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Another view. The prints in the back were purchased from a local artisan BK and I admired for years. The print behind the roombox represents the town hall in Old Town Alexandria, VA — where BK and I lived before we got married….

 

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…while the print on the right is a painting of George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate. BK and I got married just outside the estate. 🙂

Now that the trims are all secured….it was time to setup the pieces and decor.

The finished roombox.

The finished roombox.

The furniture I used is actually a doll furniture playset from IKEA called Huset. If it looks familiar to some of you…it’s the same pieces I used to furnish the CC. I actually bought 4 sets of this during an IKEA run last year. For $13/set…I couldn’t pass it up. I used one whole set to furnish the room, but hijacked the green table from another set.

Close up of the completed room.

Close up of the completed room.

What do you think? Does it look cozy? I really had to scrunged around my remaining bins (most are now in storage) to see what I could use to decorate the room. Again, I wanted to create a cozy setting where one could curl up on the couch to read a book. Or maybe have company over for coffee and some homemade pastries.

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Another view of the IKEA Huset doll furniture set.

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SundayReading-12

Above contents: pink couch, yellow chair, rug, green tables, and bookcase are part of IKEA Huset doll furniture set. Pillows from MiniaturesfromAvalon. Tall lime green plant and wooden bowl from ItsPerfectlyPetite. Coffee pot, mugs, and pastries were random eBay purchases.

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I didn’t realize I was taking a pic of my 1:6 living room….that had views to my actual living room. Trippy!

For the walls, because the accent wallpaper provided such a strong background…I wanted the wall art to be just as strong. Given that BK and I are still grieving the loss of his beloved Grandma Ellie….I found myself doing a search on vintage travel posters of Martha’s Vineyard. I ended up settling on these two designs. I resized them in Adobe Fireworks, and increased the dpi to 300 to make sure the design and colors remain crisp. I then printed them on some matte photo paper, trimmed to size, and then attached to matboard. The frames are actually wood ACEO frames I purchased from D’s Miniatures and Collectibles shop on eBay, which I stained a dark walnut and waxes.

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Martha’s Vineyard travel posters.

For the left sidewall, I resized and printed some movie posters. King Kong (the 1933 version) is one of BK’s favorite movies so I wanted to put it here as a nod to him. The other print is actually a nod to the movie Pacific Rim, which is one of my favorite films.

Guess this is another sign of BK’s and my compatibility. When it comes to terrorizing cities, he’s for giant apes; I’m all for giant robots.

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For the right side wall, I found this travel poster for Nantucket, which is someplace BK and I haven’t visited yet.

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For the bookcase…because I had the Vineyard prints, I guess I ended up gravitating towards something nautical.

 

Close up of the bookcase.

Close up of the bookcase.

SundayReading-19Bookcase contents: Plant is from Minimagine. Leather books were an eBay purchase. Green vase purchased from Manor House Miniatures. Aged deep diver’s helmet and red lantern from Diane Paone Miniatures. Paper box on lower shelf, file folders , and books on upper left cubicle from Paper Doll Productions. Captain figurine from private collection. Yellow chair and heart shaped pillow from IKEA Huset doll furniture set. Red/blue pillowcase from Paper Doll Productions.

Now that the decoration is complete….I can move in two (of my slowly growing) collection of 1:6 scale dolls. For this roombox, I figured I wanted to have best friends Anya and Lia to be the official occupants.

Close up of Anya (left) and Lia (right).

Close up of Anya (left) and Lia (right).Anya is a customized Volks head attached to a 25cm Obitsu body. Her dress, stockings, and red shoes were eBay purchases from random vendors. Lia is actually a “Who’s That Girl MAMI” head attached to a 27 cm Obitsu body. Dress was purchased from SquishTish. Shoes were also an eBay purchase.

I’m still relatively new to the dolls….I don’t have a clear criteria per se in terms of what I’m looking for. I definitely wanted ball jointed dolls (BJDs) for maximum movement and articulation. And I definitely wasn’t too interested in Barbies…or the very popular Fashion Integrity dolls. Don’t get wrong…am sure others find them appealing. But I guess since I had grown up watching Japanese animation/anime….I leaned towards the somewhat cartoony. And I wanted my (female dolls) to dress in clothes I’d love to wear everyday if I could. Hopefully I’ll get a better bearing as I delve deeper into this.

For now…I’m just going to let the girls enjoy their Sunday afternoon. While I sit on my couch nearby and enjoy my book and tea.

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Lia savoring her mug of tea while she listens to Anya's stories

Lia savoring her mug of tea while she listens to Anya’s stories

Going back and forth if I'm liking Anya's glasses....

Going back and forth if I’m liking Anya’s glasses….

 

Victorious Dilemmas – Oh Noes!

Given the last entry was on the cathartic note…hopefully this one will give you all a chuckle at how inept I can be sometimes.

A few weeks back, someone posted a listing on eBay on the CB2 Miniature Neville House. I was pretty excited when I saw it because I had meant to get one when Crate & Barrel’s more mod sibling store released it around 2011. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a CB2 anywhere near me so it was definitely a no go.

Anyways, so once I saw the listing, I put a max bid and left it at that. Next thing I knew, a bidding war erupted. I gave up in the end because the price just got too high for me to justify it. So the listing ended, and off it went to its new owner. Until a new listing showed up. The start price was a bit high at $75, but I put a low bid thinking that I’ll probably get outbid yet again. That is until a few minutes ago — and I got the notification from eBay saying I won it.

Finally! Ye miniature gods, thou hath answered my call!

Picture of CB2's Neville House. Photo found on Houzz.com

Picture of CB2’s Neville House. Photo found on Houzz.com

I saw blog entries about this house from Call of the Small and MiniModern (which inspired me to keep an eye for it). Granted, it looks like it can accommodate stuff from 1:16 down, but given BK and I are moving things into storage….I’m only allowed to keep smaller scale minis to display around the house. Yes, the ARC III is safe — that’s permanently taken residence on my dining room table as part of the decor. That’s partly why I’m trying out other scales to circumvent the whole space issue going on at home. Yeah, sneaky on my end. But hey, it’s an obsession — and sometimes, ones does desperate things. 🙂

[Update: Modern Mini Houses shared her entries about the Neville House since she owns one too! Thanks for sharing the pics with us!]

Sorry, digressing here. Back to the post!

So while I’m shaking off my stunned surprise that I won the Neville House (really, really thought I’d be outbid at the last second)….I also came across this beauty on Etsy.

Half scale (1:24) DIY cardboard dollhouse.
From Melissasminiwereld.

During my hunt for half scale items on Etsy (just to see what’s out there), I found this shop called Mellisasminiwerld where Mme. Sipma creates 1:24 and 1:48 scale minis out of cardboard. Talk about intriguing! I love the details around the windows and door. And the fact it’s cardboard….it almost screams a delicious challenge to find ways to decorate the exterior.

I contacted Mme. Sipma on the dimensions for the half scale version, and the lovely shopkeeper told me that it’s about 30cm high x 18 cm deepx 23 cm wide (about 11.8 x 7 x 9 inches).  Hmm…I can definitely fit that atop the bookcase….

Egads! I want this house too! But now I have the Neville being shipped here soon….and I need to flesh out The Retreat! What am I gonna do??? Even more, how am I gonna explain to BK why there are more kits coming home when I’m putting a good bunch of my currents ones into storage?

Curse this obsession! No…wait – yay for obsessions!

But I guess there’s only way to settle things. And that’s playing rock paper scissors lizard Spock!

Schematic of the game.
Image from The Recidivist.

Though Sheldon definitely explains it way better (sorry, my love for the Big Bang Theory knows no bounds).

What do you guys think? Should I go for the cardboard house? Maybe use that as the Retreat? Or as a counter to it? Ack, this and the flu’s making me loopy again!