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!

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…

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 CC: Furniture Trial Run…and a Little Backstory I Guess

Now that floors have been installed, usually I proceed with the walls. But because the rooms of the CC are rather on the shallow end…figured I should at least start trying to see what furniture will fit.

For this project, I decided to deviate once more and actually use something different. It’ll still be a residential urban townhouse…but again, because space is limited, I had to carefully pick up what pieces I want to use.

Doing a furniture trial fit of sorts...

Doing a furniture trial fit of sorts…

For example, the first floor I wanted this to be a combination of a compact kitchen and dining area. So I used some old IKEA dollhouse furniture (their Lillabo line from the early 2000s….man I wish IKEA hadn’t discontinued this line), and a Rement cafe set. The kitchen wall cabinet is a discontinued Rement piece (think from their Storage Beauty line).

CC-Before-Kitchen

Cafe table & chairs are Rement’s Wood Cafe collection; purchased at http://www.superbuzzy.com. White toy sink, stove, fridge, and white hutch were part of IKEA’s discontinued Lillabo doll furniture line (purchased via EBay). Wall cabinet was part of Rement’s Storage Beauty series (purchased via EBay).

The second floor would be the living room. Again, the space really limited my selection, so I had to be really careful with what I wanted to use.

Couch, heart shaped pillow, and large white bookcase: part of the IKEA huset doll furniture set. Smaller white bookcase purchased from Manor House Miniatures. Other pillows were from IKEA's Lillabo collection.

Couch, heart shaped pillow, and large white bookcase: part of the IKEA huset doll furniture set. Smaller white bookcase purchased from Manor House Miniatures. Other pillows were from IKEA’s Lillabo collection. Slipcover purchased from PaperDollProductions (Etsy).

The bookcase on the left, the heart shaped pillow, and the couch were actually part of IKEA’s new Huset doll furniture set. Granted, the set is a bit big on 1:12 scale, but I love the pieces so much…I actually bought a couple of boxes of this set during a trip to our local IKEA store. The couch originally had a pink slipcover, but I found a vendor on Etsy called PaperDollProductions who creats custom slipcovers and accessories to go with this doll furniture set. Suffice to say, I put an order for the orange slipcover and padded the plastic couch with batting to make it a little more comfy looking. The smaller white bookcase was a modern storage unit I found on Manor House Miniatures.

For the third floor…I decided this would be a bedroom of sorts.

CC-Before-Bedroom1

The bed was a custom piece I had built by Gigi N Studio (Etsy) based on one of her modern 1:12 scale bed. Miss Gigi was so nice to take my request to change the dimensions of the bed to accommodate my project, and she quickly produced this lovely piece. I used a piece of craft chair cushion (about 1/2″ thick) to create the boxspring and mattress.

CC-Before-Bedroom2

Across from the bed, I used a shadowbox kit that I purchased from Porkchop Art Part (Etsy) as the base for a closet/wardrobe unit. I assembled the shell, but am waiting on a few wood trim and parts to assemble the shelves and racks.

Now if you notice on the photo, the furniture isn’t exactly 1:12 scale. In fact, they seem kinda big and bulky. The truth is folks…I’m designing the CC for a rather particular set of occupants. Guess you can say, they’re my muses for this project.

So with further ado….meet Dasha.

Daya with his pet doberman, Sophie.

Dasha with his pet doberman, Sophie.

You can tell from this photo that he looks mighty tall to be a 1:12 scale doll. And you’re right — he’s actually close to being about 7.75″ in height. Because of that, I had to really look around for furniture that would accommodate him. Heck, even his dog Sophie seems tiny against him (and she’d be a good size dog in 1:12 scale).

Daya in modern garb. I decided to keep the chip on his nose while repairing everything else.

Dasha in modern garb. I decided to keep the chip on his nose while repairing everything else.

Now in terms of where I got him…I actually found him in April 2013 in an antique shop up in Cape Cod, right in the hometown where BK grew up. We were in the area as BK’s younger brother MK was getting married. And one afternoon, we decided to check out this shop because we heard the shopkeeper had a big collection of antique nautical items (which was something BK wanted to check out).

When we got to the shop, I noticed that as BK and I were entering the place, a family with a bunch of young children were hurriedly leaving the premises. We didn’t think much about it until we got inside and were greeted by the shopkeeper. Judging from the flustered look on his face, BK and I risked asking him if he was okay.

The shopkeeper said he was fine, but he was a little upset with the family that left because one of the children had apparently broken one of his merchandise. When I asked what it was, he pointed at something beside the cash register. And lying sprawled beside the register, was Dasha.

He was indeed a sorry sight. He had a mop of black hair that was half on, half off his head. His nose looked chipped, and his hands looked like they were covered with something sticky. Even worse were his clothes — he was wearing what looked like a very worn out silk robe and trousers, and the sleeves looked like they were yanked hard at the seams. Suffice to say, he looked like someone that got seriously man-handled.

The shopkeeper explained that one of the children managed to get the doll off the shelf and started banging him against every piece of furniture, tugging at his clothes, and pulling at his limbs. When the shopkeeper finally asked the parents to tell their child to stop or they’ll have to pay for the doll, the child flung the doll to the floor — where Dasha’s nose and hand chipped. I guess the parents were so mortified that they just gathered their children and hustled out to the door as we were coming in.

I’m not sure why, but when I held the doll, I got the feeling that I should take him home, and that I should call him Dasha. Without skipping a beat, I asked the shopkeeper if I could purchase him. Guess he was surprised, but seemed relieved when I told him I collect doll furniture, and might be able to do something to repair the doll.

Once BK and I returned to our house, I spent the next couple of weeks repairing him. I ended up just removing his beat up wig and gently washing the wooden parts with wood soap and sanding off any glue residue. I took him to a furniture restorer, and the owner was nice enough to repair his hand. His clothing I ended up removing since it was beyond repair, and clumsily restitched his cloth body while I replaced his metal limbs with new gauze (the original wrappings were cotton strips. I ended up using gauze since it was easier to work with). Ended up dressing him in modern garb (used some Ken doll clothes and rehemmed the pants to fit him better), and for shoes, I covered his metal feet with paper clay and painted them to resembled wearing a pair of kicks.

By the time I finished repairing Dasha, it was already July 2013. At that point, work was starting to eat more of my time, so I had to put things off with my hobby. I would have put Dasha in the same storage bin as my other doll cast, but I kept having this nagging feeling that he needed to be around. So I put him to sit on a shelf above my desk. Eventually, I decided to give him company and picked up his faithful Doberman Sophie from an eBay auction.

But on August, I came across this find on Ebay.

Everyone, this is Lena.

Everyone, this is Lena.

Because I tend to use vintage Dawn and Pippa fashion doll clothes to dress my 1:12 scale dolls, an online buddy told me about these vintage dolls from the late 1950s-1960s called Miss Dollikin. Apparently they were created by Uneeda and the dolls were unique in how they were constructed. In order to make them more poseable than their competitors, Uneeda constructed the Lil Miss Dollkin as a strung doll — meaning inside the doll’s body, its limbs are connected inside by a type of strung elastic. This allows the doll to be posed in slightly more natural, human-like positions.

I was definitely curious, and decided that if I see one on eBay that I liked, then I’ll get it. Again, not sure if the mini gods were at work or something…but I did find one that I liked, and a few days later, she (who I named Lena) arrived at my house. I ended up replacing her outfit with the one you see in the photo….though I need to find red shoes to go with her getup.

Guess sparks flew between the two of them…because they’re always together. Either that, or I was just too lazy to put them elsewhere. 🙂

Sedona – Wall Installation (Part I – I Think…)

Holy crap, what the hell happened to summer? Just when one starts getting adjusted to the longer days and cooler nights…you’re already getting blasted with reminders of “hey, fall’s ’round the corner folks!”.

The last couple of months have been unusually busy. Typically, the summer months meant I can finally do some catch-up in terms of office work. Basically get things done that I had to put off because something more pressing came up. Unfortunately, my new bosses are feeling very ambitious this year. So suffice to say, it’s been non-stop work. Which basically meant, whatever hours I had at home, I was seriously putting towards my husband, our families, and pets. And not so much on my hobby. 😦

But enough sad violin tunes. This past weekend was the first where BK and I opted to do absolutely nothing. Translation: BK catching up on his books at our patio, while I was hunkered down in the dining room, reconnecting with the Sedona roombox.

Considering the Sedona is built to be an adobe roombox, stucco was the obvious choice of finish on its wall. But since I wanted this to be more on the modern side, I wanted to add some kind of interest. Enter exhibit A.

Doing a dry-fit run.

Doing a dry-fit run. Wanted the maple panel to be flanked by the cherry wood panels for contrast. Used some painter’s tape to secure the panels in place during the measurement process.

I found these beadboard sheets from D’s Miniatures and Collectibles, one of the many sellers I frequent via eBay. The seller carried beadboard sheets from Laser Creations of various woods.  Figured the small paneling would give the roombox a certain “something” that I was looking for.  So for this project, I bought a couple of sheets of the 1/8″ spacing  in cherry and maple. Because the sheets are about 2 7/8″ x 12″, a dry fit run was in order before I started cutting them up. At $6.50/sheet, I really couldn’t afford to fudge these up.

Once I measured and marked where to cut the panels, I spun the roombox around so I can mark where the holes are located. Especially since these panels need to accommodate the round beams. Yes, it did occur to me that I was drawing circles on the panels that I’d need to cut out. But at the time, I figured to best look at this one step at a time.

Once the holes were marked, I pulled out my craft knife, a container full of new blades, and started the cutting process. When it came to cutting the panels down to the correct length, the cherry panels were much easier. So long as you used a new sharp blade, it only took about a dozen cuts  per panel. The maple panel (the lighter toned wood panel), on the other hand, took much longer. I didn’t realize maple is a much harder wood. <face palm>

So far so good...

So far so good…

Once the panels were cut…then I moved to cutting out the circles to make the ceiling beams fit. Since I didn’t have any tools that would make a circular cut (*cough* holiday present *cough*), thought maybe I could get away with just cutting out the opening by hand. Bad idea apparently — it took me almost 10 minutes to just outline the shape with my blade. And that’s just the first pass.

Looks impressive, but not really. Hand's cramping just looking at this.

Looks impressive, but not really. Hand’s cramping just looking at this.

Given I was doing this at…I dunno, 1:00 am Sunday morning…I knew I had to come up with something else. Real fast.

So I took my ruler and pencil, and basically drew a square surrounding the circles I traced. And handcut the openings as such. It made for a much faster process. At least on the cherry panels. The maple panels took longer. Because, again, they’re harder and feel denser. Like my skull apparently (hey, I never claimed to be a genius).

Yeah I know, it's a cop-out. Please don't judge me.

Yeah I know, it’s a cop-out. Please don’t judge me.

Once the panels were cut, then came the dreaded dry-fit. I had to make sure the new openings could accommodate the beams. Otherwise, I was going to be in a lot of trouble (and out several dollars for wasting the panels possibly). Luckily, they worked out!

Woohoo!

Woohoo! It works!!

Figured as a last hurrah, to go ahead and put up the panels. Just to see how it looks overall.

Aw yeah! Just the way I had hoped!

The feature wall and the left wall.

The feature wall and the left wall.

Not bad right? I wanted the left wall to have the paneling as well. That way, any other areas that aren’t covered will be covered in stucco.

Whew — part I is done. Now I need to wait for BK to help me with the next step….