Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Sunshine Award

Recently, I have received the Sunshine Award from Florine at My Vintage Dollhouses and Other Treasures, and from Carol at My Realitty. Thank you both!

I am supposed to pass it on to 6 other bloggers who bring sunshine to my life. Well, you know I'm not very good at sticking to rules!
The other day in the library at my new office, I found a book called The Australian Home Beautiful, which has lots and lots of photos from the magazine of the same name. Wow! My eyes certainly lit up when I saw the book - so many genuine, contemporary photos of homes and furnishings in Australia over the last 80 years. So, instead of just passing this award on (though you're very welcome to take it - it's a lovely flower!) I've chosen a photo for each of 6 new bloggers and 6 old friends.
I hope you will like the sunshine and flowers I've chosen for you!

For Louise of Grandma's Attic - Toys and Treasures, flowers in a dining room of 1930:

For Oese of Raum für Raum, flowers and a sun-like mirror in a 1936 living/dining room:

For Florine of My Vintage Dollhouses and Other Treasures (who said we can't give an award back to the person we received it from?!?), a sunny 1930s bathroom:

For Amy, of Amy's Miniatures and Smalls, an advertisment from the 1940s, because it was her husband who gave her her Lundby house for Christmas:

(But I think her husband is not hamfisted like this one: the ad ends: "You can be sure it's a Pyrex household!")

For Troy of Tulsa Tiny Stuff, flowers over a 1942 fireplace:

For Daniel of, a wartime (1940s) bedroom with a doll and a stuffed dog:

For Helene of Pubdolls, flowers over a fireplace as dreamed of by stylists during WW2:

For Carol, of My Realitty, a car for a lady driver of 1950! (Wonder what Colette would think of the matching car, hairdo and outfit?)

For Pandora, of SmallStuff Miniatures, a yellow sink from the 1950s! I've sometimes wondered about the brightly coloured plastic and metal dolls house kitchen appliances - well, it seems that you really could get a sink in Primrose Yellow, blue, pink, aqua, green, etc! I don't remember ever seeing one - I wonder if they weren't very popular, or didn't last long - or were just seen as very dated by the 60s and 70s, and replaced as soon as possible?

For Nicola of Püppilottchen's Toy Blog, a lifesize 1970s flowery sofa and chairs, just like her dolls'!

For Diepuppenstubensammlerin, who shares my love of Erna Meyer dolls and shares her amazing info about German makers like Erna Meyer, Bodo Hennig and VERO, flowers in a 1970s bathroom!

For The Shopping Sherpa, who, as well as her blog, has just taken on managing Dolls Houses Past and Present, some sunny cushions in a bedroom she might like:

Thank you all, and all the other blogs I read and follow, for brightening my life :-)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

GranJean's Gallery, Unicorn Cottage

As I've mentioned, two of my dolls houses (the Cupboard House and the Lines Country Villa (and the Lines Letchworth which is my sister's) were gifts from my grandmother. She began collecting dolls houses in about 1964. I'm not sure exactly how many dolls houses she had in her collection, but here are some of her others.

I'm sure many of you will recognise these - at the left, there is a Hobbies house, and next to it is a Triang Princess dolls house, which was available from about 1932 to 1957. On the far right is a Triang No 50. The one in the middle looks familiar, but I don't recognise it - can anyone help?

My grandmother kept her dolls houses and dolls in a bedroom at the end of a corridor in her house, Unicorn Cottage. We called it GranJean's gallery (one of my cousins christened it). I don't know if there are any photos of it, but I've just found a clipping of an article about it that was published in the Cobham News in 1972.

In the article, my grandmother said that she was still working on furnishing the Princess dolls house, and wanted to make it homespun with a Welsh flavour. Did she ever do this? I don't remember seeing the inside of this house, so I don't know.

Today, these four houses sit on a high shelf in the Brighton Toy & Model Museum:

UPDATE: Annina has visited the museum and taken much better photos of the Hobbies house and Triang Princess, as well as some other wonderful exhibits! Thank you, Annina :-)

This museum also houses her antique French school, which I remember clearly from GranJean's Gallery:

and also some of her dolls ( I don't think all of these were hers):

I wish I had photos of the dolls house room. The article says that "she has a modern doll's house complete with all electrical mod cons, its plastic glasses contrasting with those of fine Bristol glass in the oldest house." I remember a plastic house with a swimming pool - perhaps it was a Lundby house? Also, according to the Cobham News, there was "a special little doll's house where [children] can touch and play as well as look, and she has peopled it with mouse-characters." I do remember the mice - but I thought they lived in the room across the corridor ...

My grandmother sometimes showed her collections, and I have some photos of her dolls on display.

These photos were taken in 1960 and 1964, before she really started collecting dolls houses, so they show mainly her international and antique dolls.

Also, on a chair in the drawing room, her bears and her doll Bambina - Bambina is a Martha Chase doll, but had a wig added. (My grandmother is standing in the photo on the left; the two women in the photo on the right are my mother's governess and her sister.)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Brinca Dada Dolls House and Dolls on Daddy Types

I follow Daddy Types' blog as he has a good eye for retro kids' toys and furniture, including dolls houses, and also vintage kids' books. He's just posted about a dolls house shown at the 2010 Toy Fair, the Emerson House by Brinca Dada, and a family of dolls house dolls they've also put out.

Apparently, they sold their prototype on ebay in December:

The Brinca Dada website says the dolls house will be available in (northern hemisphere) spring - and they will also have furniture for it! It's in 1:18 scale (also known as 3/4" scale). I wonder which of my blogging friends will buy one first?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Macrame and Matchboxes

My new office space shares a floor with a resource library for teachers. I had a look along the shelves in a break from unpacking my boxes, and, amazingly, found a book called Miniature Macrame for Your Dollhouse!

I had been thinking that my 1970s dolls houses could use some tiny macrame objects, like plant holders:

or wall hangings:

(this is an owl),

or even a swinging chair:

which this tiny Erna Meyer doll seems to be finding a little precarious.

I've never made macrame, and don't really like it! but I do remember that lots of people had it in the 70s and 80s (this book was published in 1981). I can't imagine why this teacher resource library had a book about miniature macrame - I would have thought life-size macrame would be easier for kids to make, and produce gifts for their mums or dads.

I think this guide to making models from matchboxes and matches, also in this library, would have been borrowed more often:

This booklet is published by matchmakers Bryant & May (their matches are called Redheads in Australia, and (apparently) Beehive in New Zealand). As you can see from the cover, some of the models and techniques are quite sophisticated, but the book also includes instructions for making basic matchbox furniture:

as well as furniture made from matches:

I can't see a publication date, but the booklet refers to a 1989 Australian Standard for safety matches, so I'd guess that this dates from the 1990s. The furniture illustrated could have been made at any time in the last hundred years, though!

Monday, February 8, 2010

1st Blogiversary*! Erna Meyer Scales

Today (7th February) is exactly one year since I started this blog.

I had planned a dolls house party to celebrate, and may still have one, but in real life in the last couple of weeks I have moved to a new office, have a new manager, and our team is working on our new role. The new office and manager are great, but the changes have still taken a fair bit of energy.

So, for today, I thought I'd show some of the different scales Erna Meyer dolls have been made in.

The first photo shows five couples with cloth feet, one of the features of Erna Meyer dolls that helps to date them: cloth feet were replaced by plastic feet in the (mid?) 1970s.

The tallest dolls are the 18th century couple, still in their cellophane wrapping. He is 18.5cm (7 1/4 inches) tall, and she is 17cm (6 5/8 inches). I measured from their heels to the top of their wigs - so without the wigs, they would be slightly shorter!

As you can see, these dolls have very detailed faces - the lady has a beauty spot as well as rouge on her cheeks. The label says "Liliput Biege-Püppchen - Ermey" in green and gold foil on the front, and "Made in Germany" printed in green on white card on the back.

Next to them stand a couple who are almost as tall - the man is 17.5cm (6 3/4 inches) and the woman is 16.5cm (6 1/2 inches).

Both these couples appear to be 1:10 scale - in real life, they would then be between 165cm and 185cm tall (roughly, 5' 6" - 6' 3").

Next come a couple who are both 14.5cm (5 3/4 inches), followed by a couple who are both 14cm (5 1/2 inches). These are in 1:12 scale. The woman in blue and the man wearing a suit both have the same cellophane wrapping and foil tag as the 18th century couple, and were probably made at about the same time.

(Some of these poor dolls have one leg shorter than the other, I have just realised - just like some real people.)

(The woman's wrapping has split in half, so it was possible to photograph her without it.) Perhaps they are slightly later, as the round red 'Spielgut' label has been added to their wrapping. This recognition of a toy as promoting good play is granted only to toys which meet certain criteria, and was first granted to Erna Meyer dolls in 1954**.

Finally, among the cloth-soled dolls, are two who measure just 12.5cm (5 inches). These dolls could fit into 1:12 scale houses - there are, after all, people who are 5' tall. They can also fit into 1:16 scale houses - I have some in my Lundby house and my Jenny's Home.

I don't have as many Erna Meyer dolls with plastic feet as with cloth feet - but enough to show two of the scales they come in.

The two taller dolls are 15cm (5 7/8 inches). They are slightly taller than the 1:12 scale cloth-shoed dolls, but still appropriate for that scale.

The shorter man is 12cm tall (4 3/4 inches), and perfect for 1:16 scale.

I have read that Erna Meyer dolls are now made in 1/24th scale too, but I don't have any of them - yet!

Thank you to all my followers and readers and fellow bloggers - I'm looking forward to the second year of blogging :-)

* I have borrowed this word from The Shopping Sherpa, who has just celebrated her own 4th blogiversary.

**Thank you to Diepuppenstubensammlerin for the article which told me this!