Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 - a new decade begins

Happy New Year! Guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr! Bonne Année! Godt nyttår! Feliz Año Nuevo!

I hope you all had a very happy New Year's Eve celebration. I spent the evening quietly at home with my mother and sister (and two playful kittens!), watching the fireworks on TV, and listening to them all around us.

I am looking forward to another year of sharing my collections with other collectors and minaturists. In the last year, I have met more collectors of dolls houses through blogs, through facebook, flickr and the Dolls House Past & Present website, than I had in my whole life! My life has become much richer through contact with you all, enjoying your collections, your creativity and inspirations and knowledge. I love being part of this network - so here's to lots more blogging in 2010!

(As I am away from home, I don't have any dolls or dolls houses to share this time - so here are the fireworks on Sydney Harbour instead!)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas to all my blogging friends and readers!

In the Cupboard House, the whole family has gathered in the drawing room to decorate the tree. Richard and Allan somehow managed to carry it up the stairs and through the door. Jenny is supervising Polly and Lois as they add some decorations, while Grandma Eleanor surveys the tree through her lorgnette and gives directions. Belinda is so excited she is standing on the sofa behind Grandpa Bernie so she can see! Already there are some parcels under the tree - what can they be? and who are they for?

The decorations are stored away in a box during the year, and Susannah is looking through the collection with John to find the old favourites. (David is very patiently waiting his turn - or is he perhaps getting a bit old to be excited by Christmas decorations?)
There's a gold star to go on the top - Richard or Allan will put it in place when the rest of the decorations are done.
Now the tree is up, and the visiting uncles and cousins have arrived - and there are only two more sleeps until Christmas Day!

I wish you all a happy and peaceful Christmas and a relaxing Boxing Day.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Swans decorate for Christmas

Narelle Swan has started decorating the house for Christmas.

With Mark's help, she's moved in another table and covered it with a Christmas tablecloth, so that the cold meats, seafood and salads which she prepares for Christmas dinner can be spread out for guests to help themselves from.

The Christmas tree is up, and Narelle has decorated it with baubles and candles. Now little Nicole is allowed to help drape the tinsel on it very carefully.

Only nine more sleeps until Christmas! Nicole is very excited.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

On my wish list ...

Not a dolls house, this time, but this wonderful book I discovered on the Puppenhausmuseum website:

This appears among the 1950s dolls houses, on a recently added page called Papier (Paper), which also has photos of 1950s furniture to make from cardboard. This book, published by Pestalozzi Verlag in 1958, shows a real dolls house (I'm not sure of the maker), peopled with Erna Meyer dolls!

The woman standing by the front door is almost identical to one currently in my Triang 52 house, though she has rather more hair:

The woman looking out of the window, and also dealing with an obstinate child later in the story:

must be Dianne Praeger's sister! And I'm sure some of my Erna Meyer children are just as obstinate.

I've seen a woman similar to the one standing outside the garage, ready to go out in her overcoat, listed on ebay once or twice. She's pretty rare, and goes for high prices.

The furniture and the dolls house itself are pretty cool too, but to have a whole book illustrated with Erna Meyer dolls! Wow! And one great thing about a book like this is that it dates all the dolls and furniture, probably to a year or two prior to publication. I suspect this book is much rarer than the people and furnishings within it, but maybe I'll get lucky some day, now I know to keep an eye out for it!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

German (VERO?) Bungalow Kitchen

In my last post, I showed the façade of this bungalow:

So now, let's have a look inside. The patio has two comfortable chairs to relax on,

and the swinging doors lead in to the kitchen

All the furnishings here came with the house - and so did the dog. I think the people who live here must be busy unpacking in the living room, and looking forward to sitting down and enjoying this meal!
I really liked the flooring here when I saw it in the auction listing - it turns out that it has been added by a previous (original?) owner. I'm definitely keeping it, as it goes so well with the house and furnishings, and seems very 60s to me! (Not groovy 60s, but everyday 60s.)

Unlike my other German bungalow, this one has no maker's mark. I think it's also by VERO, not just because the components and construction methods are similar, but also because I found this house on the Puppenhausmuseum site:

It's labelled "Vorstadthaus mit Kamin" (suburban house with chimney) Vero, DDR, ca 1965-1970. As you can see, the swinging doors are identical, and there are other similarities too.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Slow Progress

I've been quiet (at least on here!) for a while, so I thought I'd show a few of the things I'm slowly working away at.
I'm still scraping paint off my Lines DH/D. I was pleased to find that most of the grey paint on the flat roof is still there, and in fact the white paint came off more easily now than when I started a few months ago (perhaps the high humidity helps). (Actually, it was 6 months ago. Yikes - where has that 6 months gone?)

I had almost finished scraping the green paint off the chimney, and chipped a bit of the layer underneath off by mistake - and realised that the original cream-coloured paint is in fact under that layer (pinky-white, some kind of undercoat I think). So the pinky-white layer has to come off too!
I have worked out how to reproduce some wallpapers - the newest version of Word for Macintosh leaves white spaces between images, but if I save in the older version of Word, the spaces disappear! But I don't want to wallpaper until I've done any painting that's necessary, and that will only happen when I've finished scraping ...

In the meantime, I've started scraping another house, the teachest house I bought from Michelle Robertson before she left Australia for the UK. Inside, it's all bare wood - plain, not to say rough. The outside walls and gable had been painted white, with black window frames. It looked very stark, and the original worn grey, yellow and cream paint is more in keeping with the interior. (I think this will become a slightly run-down guest house.)

The poor Swans have been left for quite a while in a half-furnished house. I have finally bought some tacky wax, and put up some pictures. I also used the wax to try to keep the carpet in place (but I still don't think I should take up carpet-laying professionally).

Next job here is to make some bedding. (Or at least cut it out and pretend!)

I've also put up another German bungalow:

More about this soon (I hope). It came with a lot of furniture, including more orange Bodo Hennig arm chairs and sofa, so I am trying out various fabrics to recover them.

The hospital has been very neglected (almost as badly as many real ones), and one of the nurses has got so tired that she's actually lying on the emergency bed next to a patient!

The doctor looks like he's going to keel over soon too, so I'd better do something about it.

And today, I took my first steps into selling on ebay. It took me a very long time to list just three items - I hope it will get quicker with experience! Trying to estimate a reasonable selling price and reasonable postage costs is quite tricky, as I'm sure all of you who already sell know very well.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Links and Connections

Here are two mini links passed on to me by friends.
The first is the opening credits of a new Australian movie, Tangle

Here are a couple of other scenes from the video:

(your typical Aussie backyard)

(your typical Aussie bathroom?!? Is that a toaster she's carrying?!?)

The other is a model railway for a model railway, N scale in Z scale! My sister thinks Tim might like one of these - I think he might too, but I think he might have to wait a while :-|

And in other news tonight - I was delighted to receive comments from the granddaughter of the man who built the house I lived in as a child (that's me on the left in front of the car),

which the Bodensee house reminds me so much of,

and from the daughter of the man who designed the Tammy house for the Ideal Toy Corporation. She said she put many of the houses together as a child!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A tree house

A year or two ago, while I was staying with my mother, we were walking up the main street of her town and went past a children's clothing and toy shop which was closing. In the window was this tree house. It was on sale, and we went in to have a closer look. We both liked it, so Mum said she would buy it for me.

I could have packed it to freight up to Darwin, but in fact it is still sitting in my mother's living room - she loves it, with all the little people who now inhabit it.

Right at the top lives a family of owls. There are three youngsters, and Papa Owl is giving two of them a flying lesson. The one in the yellow jacket tried perching right on top of the tree trunk, where the branches fan out, but couldn't keep his balance yet and kept falling off (to save his dignity, I did not photograph his falls).
(These chairs and tables came with the house.)

One floor down lives a family of squirrels. Mama Squirrel is very proud of her cosy floor rug, although it does show a common grey squirrel, and she and her family are proud to be red squirrels.
The squirrel children have invited some friends up, and luckily they have a hoist for those who can't climb.

On the ground floor, under the tree trunk, live the Badger and Rabbit families.

Mrs Badger and Mrs Squirrel are chatting inside, while their babies sleep.

(The wooden bed here also came with the house. The chairs and table at which Mrs Badger and Mrs Squirrel are sitting are ebay finds, along with the squirrels' chairs and sofa. I have no idea who made them, but the legs of the furniture look so like animals I had to put them in here.)

The squirrel children are encouraging their friends to come up. Little Miss Rabbit is being pulled up in the hoist; little Miss Squirrel is trying to persuade Master Badger to climb!

The animals are all Sylvanians, except for one rabbit visitor. I'm sure I'll have fun looking out for more furnishings and accessories for this house (and making bedding and cushions - one day, maybe!).

Friday, October 30, 2009

"Ultra-modern furniture" to make

I'm visiting my mother at the moment, where some of our childhood books are still stored. Among them is McCall's Golden Do-It Book - Things to make and do for boys and girls from 6 to 14, sent to my sister and me by my grandmother (the dolls house collecting one). It was first published in 1966, as you can probably tell from the colours!
I don't think we ever made this furniture, but here are settings for three kinds of living room. The book helpfully suggests that, after making these, "you may go on to redecorate the whole house." I'm not sure how making sofas and chairs is supposed to give you ideas for sinks and stoves and other kitchen and bathroom furniture, though!

The first is a "Conversation Corner":

The chairs are made from sponges, with hairpin legs. The lampshade is the cap from a tube of toothpaste, and the ashtray on the table is a button with raised edges. The floor vase is a nail polish bottle, and the rug is made of felt and rickrack. Here is the list of materials:

The other room settings are a formal living room:

and a family room:

I like the idea of making magazines from small pieces cut from the covers of old magazines. Although I've made magazines by printing scanned images, using pieces of old paper with the genuine colours and glossiness would be good too.

The colours in these illustrations are typical of the whole book, and of the period. Most projects are illustrated with drawings, as these are, by illustrator William Dugan. Our copy of the book is, I think, adapted for English publication, and has a publisher's address of 'Hamlyn House, Feltham, Middlesex'. It was, however, printed in Czechoslovakia, which intrigues me - perhaps that was cheaper than printing in England for a book with colour illustrations on every page.