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!

New Project to Add to the Queue….and That’s Okay

Sorry folks – this was meant to be posted on Monday. But sadly, some serious doody hit the fan at work. Metaphorically speaking of course.

While the dust hasn’t cleared yet (and my veins on my forehead are still bulging out, according to a very wary BK)…some very happy news cropped out. Which I want to share to you guys. ‘Cause again, I’m all for sharing the wealth.

What’s the great news you ask? Well…the folks at 3StarStudioArts released the following kit. And I’m so &%@!@* excited!

The Tiki Bird House
Photo used with permission by 3StarStudioArts

Mme KP sent an email out announcing its release this past Sunday, but I didn’t get a chance to sit down and read the fanfare until later that evening. Which was perfect timing in retrospect – especially since I made the mistake of checking my work emails and seeing what has essentially become a meltdown of sorts. But I’m not gonna go that route — let’s just say I looked at my work email, gave them the mental flying birdie, then went back to Mme KP’s email so I can wrap myself with happy/giddy thoughts.

So back to the kit. For starters, the 3StarStudios teamed named the kit “The Tiki Bird House”. The official description of the kit says that the kit was “….inspired by majestic thunderbirds, Native American tipis, A-frame cabins, surfboards and the flair of glorious polynesian buildings.”

I can definitely see the polynesian features, while the middle component definitely screams A-frame (*swoon*). I was initially puzzled by the majestic thunderbird reference until I saw the photo showing the upper part of the house. Then it made total sense (and many apologies for the dim bulb moment on my end, that’s for sure).

Top view of the Tiki Bird House
Photo used with permission by 3StarStudioArts

Don’t laugh folks, but when I saw the word thunderbird, I immediately thought of that puppet action show from the 1960s “Thunderbirds are Go!”. Granted, I wasn’t even in existence when this came out….but I recalled seeing this on weekday afternoons and being fascinated by it to no end. Though the way the eyes move kinda creeps me out…

(sigh) Alrighty, time to get off the time warp and chair, and onward to the review!

What I loved the most about this kit is the interior. The rooms look generous in size, and the rooms within the A-Frame section call for an interesting challenge in decoration. BK and I had a good time deciding on the photos whether it’s really 4 rooms or two rooms with two roof terraces. The ladder’s a nice touch too (but you all know me — that’ll go in my pile of spare parts). 😀

The Tiki Bird House
Photo used with permission by 3StarStudioArts

But here’s the best part — you’re probably wondering what scale this kit can accommodate? Is it 1:12? Maybe the 1:16 scale? Half scale? The correct answer is — all of them! Even one of the members of the 3StarStudioArts team graciously provides a demo (it’s a plus that like the ARC, this is something even the kids can play with). The 1:12 and 1:16 scale works really well with the kit’s overall structure. For half scale, it gives the appearance of a house with really high ceilings (and really show off the big windows on the first floor. Talk about delicious mod goodness).

How the different scales look
Photo used with permission by 3StarStudioArts

So the kicker question is: did I get this? Well…yeah, I did. But to justify, I did get my tax refund back early (as I tend to file pretty early in the year out of habit). So…I’m going to consider it as my victory gift. I’ll figure out where to put it once it’s been constructed — based on the description, the house comes out to about 29 inches long x 16 inches high x 15 inches deep. So it’s a good sized house. As for the material, 1/4-inch MDF is used – which I’m intrigued about (no I haven’t thought about kitbashing this yet).

If anyone else has ordered this kit…do share! I’d love to hear folks thoughts and what they opted to do with the kit. I’m still deciding on what to turn mine. I could go for another modern house/villa, but a museum or even a nightclub came to mind….

But for now…I’ll have to wait for this baby to arrive while I start working on the DCC. Reserving that for the next post!

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)

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!

The ARC III is Ready!

Woot! Finally! I didn’t think I’d finish this on time. Probably a good thing…because as I’m typing this…I’m sick as a dog. 😦

But I guess it was bound to happen. My office mates have been in and out with whatever bug has been hitting the area. Add that to the stress at work and lack of sleep – well, it was a recipe for disaster. Not gonna complain though – at least (crossing fingers) it’s not the flu.

Sorry, digressing here….let’s get the meat of this post alright? Advanced apologies for the numerous (and probably grainy) photos. I took these kinda early in the morning and I don’t get as much natural light as I’d like. Despite this technical setback, hope you guys enjoy the pics!

Exterior of the ARC III

Exterior of the ARC III

Similar to the ARC II, I did a stucco finish for the exterior walls and did some landscape on the front. To create the textured walls to a reasonable 1:16 scale, I used a packet of modeling dust from Richard Stacey. It’s designed to create a “stone” effect on 1:12 scale wood trims like windows and such. I think I got this on eBay awhile back since it’s a UK based product. [Update: found the eBay vendor that I bought the modeling dust.Still has them, and in different colors]

For the ARC III, I mix the packet with equal parts water and tacky glue until it had the consistency of paste. Then dabbed it on the walls using a sponge brush. But the dust I had was a grey color, so after putting on about three layers (I wanted to use up what I made), I let it dry completely before painting it with Americana’s Light Buttermilk craft acrylic paint. To help break up the cream stucco, I installed some wood trim painted in steel gray to add contrast (and to hide the slots that attached the second floors to the walls).

Side shot of the ARC III.

Side shot of the ARC III.

For the front, I kept the landscape simple. I had extra diorama supplies from Michaels that I tend to stash in my craft drawer. The grass was installed by sprinkling this grounded turf over a layer of Modge Podge. The small and large bushes were purchased from miniatures.com. The stones in the walkway were also from miniatures.com, while the gravel in between them was some model ballast I had from a long-ago project. The toad statue was a splurge purchase from Manor House Miniatures (supposed to be for 1:12 scale…but it was too adorable to resist).

BK thinks the lawn is too manicured. Eh, I’ll update it later.

A slight spin of the lazy susan here (BK got this for me to go with the ARC)…and here’s the finished interior.

Interior view of the rooms

Interior view of the rooms

Just another shot. Please ignore the mess behind the ARC....

Just another shot. Please ignore the mess behind the ARC….

In terms of furnishings, I wanted to deviate a bit from how I decorated the ARC II. So it was a combination of vintage Lundby items, a few vintage items that I rehabbed (am sure I’ll be scolded for this), pieces from my awesome gift courtesy of 3StarStudio….and a new miniature vendor I found on Etsy (Monsieur Orloff of Multiforminiatures). And of course, whatever I could find in my collection.

So let’s begin the tour shall we? Before Cilla and Rowen get back and boot us all out of their house.

The Kitchen/Dining Area

Stove and sink are vintage Lundby. Dining table and chairs are a custom order by Multiforminiatures. Accessories from Lundby. Plants from Suebee’s Miniatures.

Since part of the fun challenge with the ARC is figuring out ways to decorate the spaces, I had to be really strategic with what I wanted to use. I definitely wanted to use a Lundby kitchen set, but I wanted the more vintage stuff from the 60s and 70s. I did an intial search via eBay and Etsy, but it was either there were crazy bidding wars or I had to pay overseas shipping from the UK (where there are more 1:16/1:18 scale items). And I dunno about you all, but the exchange rate between the US dollar and the British pound was enough to give me pause.

I went back to the “We Love Lundby Club” website and found that they have a section that sells vintage Lundy pieces available for purchase. Another bonus? The lady that sells the pieces is local (she literally lives in the same neighborhood my best friend M grew up in). So for $22 (including shipping), I got my kitchen set. From there, I started to flesh out the room.

Close up of the kitchen.

Close up of the kitchen.

To solve the storage issue for Cilla & Rowen, I needed to create a cabinet above the sink to store their tableware.  I was about to cop out and construct a simple shelf unit until I saw this miniature roombox on eBay. Think it’s supposed to replicate a roombox for 1:12 settings. But when I compared the dimensions against the Lundby sink….realized it might make the perfect cabinet to use.

Check it out! A sliding panel to keep the dusts out!

Check it out! A sliding panel to keep the dusts out!

I picked up a couple (along with other supplies — the seller offers free shipping if your purchase is $25 or more. Had to use up my eBay bucks anyway) and once they arrived, I sanded and painted one in white before installing it on the kitchen wall. I put a wallpaper to decorate the back…which you’ll see again later.

The dining set.

The dining set.

As for the dining set…this was one (of 4 sets) of furniture I requested a custom order from Monsieur O of Multiforminiatures. I came across this Etsy shop back in October, was excited to see another artisan making modern miniatures. But what fascinated me with his shop was that he seemed to specialize more on 1:16 scale (though he does 1:12 and even 1:6 scale). At the time, I had the ARC II completed so I couldn’t justify a purchase. But the minute BK gave me the ARC on Christmas morning….all bets were off. I knew for my new house, it had to have one of his creations.

Will admit, was very nervous sending an inquiry to Monsieur O about ordering pieces. At this time, most the items he had in his shop were sold, and given it was the holidays, I wasn’t sure how crazy his production schedule was like. But Monsieur O made the process pretty straightforward. He even provided me updates and an opportunity to pick out fabrics if the pieces needed it. But in the case of the dining set…I knew I wanted a walnut finish and a roomy seating for four. And boy did he deliver.

Close up of the dining set - with "padded seats".

Close up of the dining set – with “padded seats”.

When I got the set (along with the pieces in the next set of photos), the chair originally didn’t have cushions. Rowen seemed fine with it, but Cilla had other ideas. She wanted cushions in the chairs — and the fabric had to fit the mid-century theme. Lordie, talk about pressure!

Luckily, it was a straight forward task. For the cushions, I used 3mm thick cellfoam and sliced out a pattern that matched the shape of the seat. Then with some tacky glue and a toothpick, did the slow (and somewhat messy) task of wrapping the cellfoam shape on a square piece of fabric. In terms of fabric, there’s a shop on Etsy called WeeWovens that sells squares of hand made modern patterned fabric. The shop sells 4″ squares of it starting at $1.00. For the dining set, I managed to cover all four seats using just a single square. Am seriously crossing fingers that Cilla liked how these chairs turned out.

As for the table runner — I cut a strip of scrapbook paper that looks/feels like canvas cloth. To make it “drape” like actual fabric, I cut a piece of foil, which I then folded and trimmed so that it’s the same length as the scrapbook paper, but a few millimeteres thinner width-wise. Then glued the resized foil in the back of the paper — which allowed me to bend the paper and drape it nicely.

Now that we’ve covered this room, let’s head to the next one on the first floor.

Living Room

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Midcentury living room set (sofa, table, credenza and chair) is a custom order by Multiforminiatures. Plants from Suebee’s Miniatures. Plant stand is actually a side table from the 1/24 Butterfly House furnishing set from 3StarStudioArts. Wall art components also purchased from 3StarStudioArts. Pillows by Otterine’s Miniatures. Accessories from purchases and private collections.

This is one of BK’s favorite rooms in the ARC III (he’s pretty proud of the end result when I showed it to him). The pièce de résistances are definitely the living room set from Multiforminiatures. I loved the play of the warm walnut wood stain against the nubby champagne/cream fabric of the upholstery. Adding Miss Brae O’s adorable pillows helped provide a punch of color. Yeah, I know they seemed big, but in 1:16 scale…they look like they could pass for 24″ throw pillows. Besides, it’s my house and I’ll furnish it with what I like darn it!

This and the dining room table/chairs were the first set I ordered from Monsieur O. In a way, I got the pieces of furniture I’ve dreamed of owning. Except it’s smaller, and I don’t have to break my back moving them when it comes to dusting them. Win!

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In terms of the wall art – I didn’t want to hang a painting above the credenza. The brick wall kinda screamed for something unique — and light colored, especially amidst all the dark colors. A quick rummage in my drawers came up with these laser cut beads from 3StarStudio Arts got me thinking. Perhaps Rowen and Cilla want an art installation of some kind?

Close up of the finished  wall art in the living room.

Close up of the finished wall art in the living room.

I ended up directly glueing the maple beads to the wall. And in true fashion, BK stopped by to check the progress — and we had the following conversation.

BK: What are you doing hun?

DK: Installing wall art. What do you think?

BK: What’s it supposed to be?

DK: I have no idea. Do I look like the smart one here? Maybe the Big Bang? I mean, the bead in the center looks like it explored and all these galaxies are forming…

BK: That sounds really artsy. Or fartsy. Or both.

DK: Hey, I’m just pulling that out of my butt  – I never said I was Neill Tyson de Grasse! Since you’re the genius in this conversation, what do you think it is?

BK: (peers at the layout) It looks like an animal. Maybe a dinosaur?

DK: What is it with you and dinosaurs? Just because I said “no, we’re not buying chicken nuggets in the shape of dinosaurs” last week, we always come back to dinosaurs in every single conversation we’ve had.

BK: But it does look like a dinosaur! Maybe like a pterodactyl face! <makes weird squaking noise>

DK: ……am I being punished for not getting you dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets?

BK: No. But if you let me get some in next grocery run, I’ll consider you forgiven.

Three years of marriage, and apparently the secret to making my husband happy are dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets. Pass the word.

After forcing me to pinky-swear to BK that he’s allowed to add the darn chicken nuggets in our next grocery list, we settled on calling the artwork “Orbits” (as in planets/asteroids orbiting the sun). Frankly, I don’t think either Cilla or Rowen are going to see that. But hopefully they’ll like the artwork in the end.

The Study/Office

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Office set (credenza, chair, and desk) is a custom order by Multiforminiatures. Plants from Suebee’s Miniatures. Wall art is actually part of the chandelier that came with the ARC kit from 3StarStudioArts. Fabric from chair from WeeWovens. Grey wallpaper from PoppetsDollyBits. Accessories from purchases and private collections.

The second floors have literally smaller floor plans, so I really had to be careful with what I used. Funny thing is, the furnishings on this entire floor were the second order I placed with Monsieur O. I was so happy with the outcome of the living/dining sets, I came back to ask to be put on queue. And as always, Monsieur O delivered in the pieces.

I wanted the office to be something that both Cilla and Rowen could easily take turns using. So I tried to make it neutral while being as stylish as possible.

Close up of the workstation.

Close up of the workstation.

For the second floor rooms, I actually decided to try out an Etsy shop I discovered called PopptesDollyBits. The shopkeeper’s based in the UK, but she specializes in making wallpapers in various scales — including 1:16 scale. I couldn’t pass up trying it out so I ordered the white and grey parquet for the study. It’s supposed to be used as flooring, but it actually looks good as an accent wall. As for the wall art — the ARC kit actually came with parts to create non-working chandelier. But for here, I just applied a light cherry stain to one of the pieces and stuck it to the wall as art.

And of course, like the dining room chairs, I installed padding and upholstery to the office chair. This time a I chose a mod green pattern to compliment the renwal lamp shade and the green plant. The rug is actually a 1:12 scale rug, but instead of trimming off the fringes (which would just create more fringes), I just folded the white edge/fringe part under the rug and secured it with glue.

ARCIII-23The Bedroom

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Four poster bed is a custom order by Multiforminiatures. Bedside table is a rehabbed Strombecker 3/4″ scale nightsand. Lamp also a vintage Strombecker. Wallpaper purhcased from PoppetsDollyBits. Accessories from purchases and private collections.

Sorry again for the fuzzy photos. I might need to ask my sister for suggestions on better lighting tips when taking photos.

I wanted to keep the bedroom simple but still playful. The bed I think is actualy meant to be a child’s size bed. But given the size of the bedroom floor….I think it fits the space perfectly. The wallpaper is also a 1:16 scale piece from PoppetsDollyBits that I had to trim to size to fit the side wall. If you look at the wallpaper closely….you’ll notice it’s the same paper I used for the upper kitchen cabinet downstairs. Hey, might as well use my purchases are much as possible I guess….

In terms of the table…it’s actually a vintage Strombecker night stand. The piece is meant to be 3/4″ scale (or 1:18), but it was the perfect height to house a lamp (also a vintage Strombecker) and an alarm clock. I found the table and lamp at a yard sale over the summer – actually, it was two of each. And was able to buy all four pieces for about $5. Heckuva lot cheaper than what I’m seeing on eBay lately.

But there was a huge downside though to my victory find. For starters, the tables were in bad shape – the paint was chipped, and several areas had rough edges. The second — both tables were of a different color. One was a nice celery green color which I didn’t mind. The other was a weird salmon color. Luckily, the two lamps matched (green base with a yellowish-cream shade) and were in good shape so I left those alone. For the tables though….I can almost hear some screaming over here, but I ended up sanding both down and repainting them with a red acrylic paint and sealing them. Figured the room needed a pop of color — plus, it would make the green lamp stand out better right?

Unfortunately, by the time I took this photo, I had to revarnish the second table. And it wasn’t dry enough for me to move into the ARC III. So until that’s dry…I’ll post an updated pic later.

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Since there were alot of patterns going in the bedroom (from the bed and the walls specifically), the wall art had to make a statement. And seriously, what could be a better statement than hanging a picture of a giant robot above your bed?

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The art was something I’ve used in the Victorian Mod Cottage from long long ago. It’s actually a travel poster of some kind. It always cracked me up.

Art from the Victorian Mod Cottage

Art from the Victorian Mod Cottage

It actually works pretty well here. And it makes the red nighstand(s) appear to belong more in the room. The room’s still pretty barebones compared to the rest of the house. I’m still going back and forth of installing a rug, or something. Guess I can mull that over while I recover from my illness in the next few days.

Close up of the bedroom art.

Close up of the bedroom art.

Rooftop Terrace/Patio

I have to save the best for last. This has always been my favorite area in the ARC kit. Mostly because I don’t have this in real life….but man, the opportunity would be awesome though. Besides, Cilla and Rowen will want a place to enjoy the outdoors….and entertain guests once the weather starts to get warm.

View of the rooftop terrace.

View of the rooftop terrace.

As I mentioned in the last post, I wanted to use the chairs and table from the Butterfly House furnishing gift set I received. To follow the theme of all the chairs in the ARC…these got upholstered with a fun yellow fabric from WeeWovens. Think I might need to start stockpiling on these…

Midcentury living room set (sofa, table, credenza and chair) is a custom order by Multiforminiatures. Plants from Suebee's Miniatures. Plant stand is actually a side table from the 1/24 Butterfly House furnishing set from 3StarStudioArts. Wall art components also purchased from 3StarStudioArts. Pillows by Otterine's Miniatures. Accessories from purchases and private collections.

Plants from Suebee’s Miniatures. Chairs, side table, main table, and credenza from the 1/24 Butterfly House furnishing set from 3StarStudioArts. Wall art components also purchased from 3StarStudioArts. Fabrci on chairs by WeeWovens. Accessories from Lundby Stockholm set (private purchase).

The “stone” flooring was actually a 1/24 flagstone paving sheet I purchased online. It was a splurge on my end, but I love the effect it gave on the rooftop. Plus, it makes the furnishing stand out even more.

Close up the chairs. Love the fabric pattern!

Close up the chairs. Love the fabric pattern!

Now that we’ve toured the ARC III, why don’t we let Cilla and Rowen come in and scope out their new digs. So far, so good.

The couple checking things out.

The couple checking things out.

Looks like Cilla’s trying out the bed. It might be a bit cozy for the two of them during bedtime, but it doesn’t seem like they’ll mind that.

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In the meantime, Rowen’s up in the terrace. Given how he’s manging the plants…looks like the greenery are in capable hands. If you’re good Rowen, I might give you a lift to the local nursery if you need to do a supply run….

Inspecting the plants on the terrace.

Inspecting the plants on the terrace.

So you guys…how do you like the new place? Any thoughts? Guys?

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Uh…is it me or is it getting hot and heavy here?

Rowen & Cilla enjoying their new living room.

Rowen & Cilla enjoying their new living room.

Ack, seriously guys?? Get a room! Or better yet, go upstairs! There’s some impressionable folks reading this entry. Like this blog writer <covers eyes with her hands>.

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Well, given neither one waved an angry fist at me, I guess I did a pretty good job! Onwards to the next project I guess!

Correction from BK: Onward to the next project after I recover from my illness. And based on the thermometer, BK thinks I have the flu. Cad-nabbit!!!

So folks, if you’re interested in any of the stuff I’ve posted, I tried to put links to the vendors and places. Hope those help, and to the vendors I’ve showcased here — thank you so much for your awesome creations. Now I have a dollhouse I can proudly install in my dining room — and not give away to my mother*. 🙂

*Still love you Mom. And yes, I’ll still continue to give you little gifts to furnish your little home as well.