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.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I have received two awards recently which I haven't acknowledged yet: thank you to Doll Mum for this award:
(This blog is a dream!)

And thank you to Susan of Susan's Mini Homes for the Kreativ Blogger Award:

Both these awards came with rules for passing them on. I'm afraid I'm not very good at following rules! Instead, I am going to combine these with another kind of award I received from Sans many moons ago. Sans passed on a Reader's Award by choosing some readers of her blog, and scanning for them a book she associated with them. This is the one she chose for me:

A scene from Hansel and Gretel, as the infants class in my Erna Meyer school were reading it (it's also on the television in my Bodensee house).

As I love reading - blogs as well as novels and many other things - this is the kind of award that I love. So, for bloggers I am inspired by, and who have supported my blogging, here are some books I love which connect to things I enjoy about your blogs.

For The Shopping Sherpa, whose blog - including her Parade of Houses - inspired me to start blogging - here is a black and white book of plans for a mid-century modern (dismantleable) dolls' house.
Her collection has just been filmed by the Australian ABC TV program Collectors, so it will be on national television soon!

For Pubdoll, whose play on words in both English and Norwegian I love, as well as her sense of style, here is The Shield Ring, by English writer Rosemary Sutcliff. I think Annika Lund, who has the whole 'Little House on the Prairie' series, might also enjoy reading this story about 7 year old Bjorn, who lived at Buthars Mere in what is now the Lake District of England, in the late 11th century.

For Oese of Raum für Raum, I had to put two! Her scenes often have art books and travel books, and I think the dolls who read them, when they are home, would enjoy reading about where I live.
The other book, Through the Dolls' House Door by Jane Gardam, is a story about a dolls' house which has a dolls' house inside it. One of the children who play with it wanted to have a dolls' house in the dolls' house dolls' house too, and another one in that! But the other child said, "No. Stop. We'll get dizzy."

Mini Modern and Call of the Small have both inspired me greatly with the scenes in their Kaleidoscope houses, as well as other modern dolls houses they have. I haven't blogged about my Kaleidoscope house yet, but one day I will ... So for them, here are some genuine vintage Australian advertisements, from Fragments of the Everyday - A Book of Australian Ephemera: a 1938 ad for Grace Bros Department Store furniture, a 1954 ad for Dulux paint for Colourful Homes, and a ca 1965 ad for a Waltons Department Store sale - where the special item is the New American Action Sleeper/Lounge!

Sadly, Mini Modern has stopped blogging for now, but the archive of her two years of posting still has wonderful photos, informative and fun text, and a creative use of pieces from diverse sources. She keeps (jokingly) threatening to steal my Bodensee dolls house - now she's not blogging, I won't know where she is anymore, so I won't be able to keep tabs on her ;^)

Call of the Small is still blogging, and still buying wonderful modern dolls houses - she says her latest purchase, a wonderful 1950s Vero house from German ebay - may be my fault, as she loved my Vero bungalow, also bought from German ebay, so much! Amazing how many of us were watching the auction of the house CallSmall bought! I love it when fellow bloggers buy dolls houses I've also been watching (but not bidding on!!) on ebay, as then I can enjoy them too, as they furnish and photograph them.

Sarah Boirin of Vintage Dolls Houses lives in France and has a great collection of vintage Triang houses, among others. She is very knowledgeable about dolls house furniture, too, and has some wonderful pieces. So for her, here is the Exceptional Cat expressing an opinion on furniture styles, from Advanced French for Exceptional Cats, by Henri de la Barbe.

Nicola at Püppilottchens Spielzeug-blog first blogged about the Käthe Kruse dolls she loves, and now also about her dolls houses, including Lundby and a lovely Albin Schönherr house. She also likes vintage children's books, so I hope she will enjoy the ones I have chosen for other bloggers.
For Nicola, I have chosen a book published this year by Australian writer Cassandra Golds, The Museum of Mary Child. Heloise, the little girl in the book, was not allowed to play, and longed for a doll. One day she finds one under a floorboard, and loves her dearly. Later, she runs away from her home where love and play are not permitted, and finds herself living with a choir of young female orphans, who also make clothes for dolls.

Redrickshaw had a blog, but now posts only on flickr. She creates marvellous scenes and stories with her Grecon dolls and vintage dolls houses, and also loves vintage children's books and Chinese dolls. So for her, here are Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, two Japanese dolls who have a book of their own by Rumer Godden, but here appear in the 1966 edition of Little Plum, illustrated by Jean Primrose. They have put on clogs to come out and admire the snow. They walk up and down along the wall, leaving footprints smaller than a bird's.

Doll Mum has started blogging recently about her dolls and dolls houses, as well as her daughters' dolls. I especially love the stories she tells about how the dolls came in to her life. The dolls and the clothes she and her Nanna made for them bring back many memories of my beloved dolls and the clothes my Nana made for them!
This book was a favourite of mine when I was very young. Galldora is a homemade rag doll who has many adventures when her owner loses her (as she does frequently!).

Also very new bloggers are Florine of My Vintage Dollhouses and Other Treasures, and Louise of Grandmas Attic - Toys and Treasures. I'm enjoying seeing their posts about their vintage American dolls houses (though that's not all they have) - seeing the vintage American furniture in houses occupied by dolls I can appreciate it much more than in guides to dolls house furniture makers!

So here, for Florine and Louise, are Across the Rolling River, a story about Laura Ingalls Wilder's mother. I was excited to realise that my Californian great-grandmother's maternal ancestors were probably travelling through the same states at the same time as this family!
And also Stars of Fortune, a book written and illustrated by English writer Cynthia Harnett, which tells the story of the Washington children of Sulgrave Manor in Northamptonshire, when the future Queen Elizabeth I was imprisoned nearby.

Please feel free to pass on a Reader's Award to your readers!
I read many other blogs too, and appreciate receiving comments from my other followers and readers. I find so much support in this network of bloggers about dolls houses and miniatures, so thank you all, even if I have not named you individually here!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tim at home (MA 15+, Contains scenes of nudity)

Tim has invited Johnno home to his bedsitter for a game of cards.

What's the design on his pack of cards?

Hmm, pin-ups! It seems that Tim is rather fond of images of women in bikinis (or less), as he has a few around the room, including his collection of lighters on the cabinet:

He also has a few men's magazines:

And what channels can he get on the TV?

Definitely adult only!

Tim's collection was inspired by a comment in a book about antique and vintage dolls houses and their furnishings. I cannot now remember which book, or who the author was, but she wondered whether all dolls house inhabitants would have been of such good character if, as well as The Times, the Bible and Punch magazine, they had had miniature Playboy magazines.

I think that erotica and pornography has probably always been made in miniature, as well as full size, but it was of course not intended for children.

All of my dolls houses were made for children to play with (and, in fact, have been played with by children!), and mostly I furnish and decorate them with pieces also made for children's play. I do use vintage buttons, jewellery, charms and other small items that were not originally made for dolls houses - but so have children done.

These miniatures, however - the mini lighters, the playing cards, the TV - were presumably made for adult men (or at least teenage boys). So they probably didn't often find their way into children's dolls houses. I found the mini cards on Australian ebay - the seller remembered "trying to get those tiny decks of nudie cards out of the claw machine at the funfair".

The TV is made in Hong Kong, and looks exactly the same as those which are souvenirs of Jersey, for example, or show fairy tales like Hansel and Gretel, as the one in the Bodensee house does:

(Tim's bedsitter is furnished with some Europa pieces, a ca 1960s Bodo Hennig bed/couch (and probably the wooden cabinet too), and a vinyl-covered sofa and armchair from the US (I don't know whether they're homemade or not). The room is 1960s German, and came with the room I have furnished with Dora Kuhn furniture. I made the miniature men's magazines myself, as I don't actually know of any vintage ones! As I don't have any 1960s pinup magazines (or any other vintage, come to that), they are composites of covers and centrefolds found on ebay, with entirely other images as back covers!)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cleaning day at the Praegers'

Mr and Mrs Praeger are cleaning.

Michael Praeger has finished sweeping the patio, and is about to start cleaning the windows - a big job. I hope there's enough Windex left. (It doesn't look like anyone has swept inside yet, though!)

Dianne Praeger is thrifty, and keeps old underpants to use as cleaning rags.
Dianne is dusting and polishing the furniture. She does also have purpose-made dusters, and uses modern Betterwear Super Lavender Wax Polish, sold door-to-door by the Betterware representative, who calls regularly.

(No product placement fees were received for this blog post.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Thank you and welcome

I was honoured recently to receive a blog award from Lizzie, who has two blogs herself - The Washerwoman: the rural ramblings of a vintage textile and clothing enthusiast, which has occasional dolls house posts:

Lizzie has also recently started another blog, The Dolls House Diaries, where I'm looking forward to seeing more of her collection:

(I've also bought from Lizzie and her husband on ebay - the floor papers in my Triang 52 came from them.)

Thank you and welcome also to my new followers - it seems that almost every time I visit my blog, I see a new photo among the followers. I hope you are enjoying my older posts - there will be more soon when I find the time!

Several of my new followers have also started blogs about their vintage dolls house collections. DollMum blogs about dolls, dolls houses, sewing and knitting:

Grandmas Attic - Toys and Treasures is a new blog by a Californian dolls house collector, who has vintage English houses, a Brazilian house, and of course great vintage American dolls houses in her collection, including this terrific Arcade laundry:

Florine also has a great collection of vintage American dolls houses on her blog My Vintage Dollhouses and Other Treasures. She has furnished this Rich Toys dolls house with vintage Kage furniture - I love the dressing table and stool in the bedroom:

Susan has a very varied collection, like mine! This was her first house, bought from a thrift shop (or, as we say in Australia, an op shop)

- she is now "doing her best to save the planet by gathering all unwanted dollhouses into her living room so that they will be kept out of landfill sites and other garbage dumps." (Sound familiar?)
She has a nice sense of humour, too:

Such riches to explore - some very familiar dolls houses - and it's great to see how individually each person has furnished them - and some that are new to me. All these blogs are new, so I've been able to read each post in them. I've also enjoyed dipping into other followers' blogs - it's great being part of a growing network of dolls house bloggers!