Friday, May 22, 2015

Yellow roses and a koala in a cardboard dolls house

This cardboard dolls house caught my eye on Australian ebay:

Golden yellow is one of my favourite colours - and I love yellow roses! They have been "my" roses since, at our childhood home, I had a yellow rose outside my bedroom window, my sister had a pink rose outside hers - and Mum had deep red roses in the front yard!

The bowl of yellow roses is in the children's bedroom, upstairs right.

The parents' bedroom, upstairs left, has a dressing table with toiletries, an abstract rug - and lots of books! I like this house!

The clocks all say the same time, which is good - but they seem to be printed back to front! So it's back-to-front 3 o'clock.
This house is nearly complete - it's one of those where the bottom of the box it comes in forms the base of the house. Thankfully, the base is here - but the lid of the box is missing, so there is no information about the maker or the model, nor whether there would have been furniture included. There is one piece that suggests there might have been furnishings - a red and white striped cardboard rectangle, which I have placed in front of the kitchen sink, as a floor mat.

In the kitchen (downstairs right), the cupboards don't look very Australian to me - I thought perhaps it might be American?
But then in the living room (downstairs left):

there's a picture of a koala on the wall:

That doesn't mean it's Australian, of course - I could have a picture of elephants or tigers on my wall, without having to be in Africa or Asia ....

Here is the outside of the house - quite plain, a red brick base, yellow walls with brown timbering, and a tiled roof:
The doors and windows are attached only by one side, so they can open (some have actually torn off, but thankfully all are present).

The end with the kitchen and the children's bedroom has four opening windows (and the number 12, which a former owner has added!). The other end, with the living room and parents' bedroom, has a red brick chimney, with arched window openings on either side of the chimney, in the living room:
One additional feature I like - in both downstairs rooms, light fittings are printed on the ceilings!

This house came with plastic Blue-Box furniture, much of it broken. The red living room wing chairs are a good fit, so I may find others to use in it - and look through my plastic furniture for other suitable pieces.

Does anyone recognise this cardboard dolls house? I'm guessing it was made in the 1960s, largely because of the television, but would love to know a more exact date - and of course, the maker!

(I do still have photos of the displays at the Sydney Dolls House fair to show. I have been without a functioning phone/internet line since late last week, after reporting a crackly line - now it's working again (touch wood), and I was keen to show you this lovely house! The display photos will come soon :-)  )

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

My buys at the Sydney Miniatures and Dolls House Fair 2015

I've been back from my holiday for a week, and I want to show you what I bought at the fair. Unfortunately, one of the things I picked up last weekend was a good dose of the flu, and I am still not up to taking new photos of everything - so here are the photos I took on my mobile phone, in my hotel room in the evenings.

After saying hello to Norma Bennett and Anna-Maria, I made my way to one of the few stalls that consistently has a few vintage pieces - Diana Simms'. She did have some vintage and antique dolls, but none that said 'buy me!' These are not really vintage, but I like them: plates hand painted by Judy Keena, and a plate of egg & toast soldiers by unknown.

When I went back the next day, I had a rummage through Diana's boxes - and she kindly provides an empty one, so you can take out things you've looked at as you go, and see what's right at the bottom. I found two lovely paintings by Turner, published as cigarette cards with gold borders, a Wills cigarette card of Beechworth in Victoria (where yummy apple juice comes from!), plus a jumper, two beanies and a scarf.

As I was leaving Diana's stall on the second day, I noticed these bevelled mirrors, so I went back towards the end of the fair and bought one of each of these three shapes: an oval, an octagon and a circle.

At the back of the hall I found Robyn's Minis, whom I've bought from at a previous fair. She said she had more old things in the morning, but had sold a lot. The food was marked as $1 each, but she reduced it to 50c!!!

I couldn't see at the fair who made the chair, but thought it would go well in my Armin Koch house. When I removed the sticker over the signature, guess whose it was - Armin Koch! 

Actually, I thought the last name was spelled Kod, and the person I bought my dolls house made by him from thought he had been based in Brisbane - I was never able to find him in any online sources, though. I went back to Robyn's stall the second day, as she had sounded as if she knew of him - and yes, she told me that he was the toymaker at Nambucca Heads! Knowing that, I have been able to find him in the 1980 electoral roll - and discover that his last name is Koch, not Kod! I'll show my dolls house made by him soon.

Robyn was packing up her stall when I got there on the second day, so I looked through what was left and found these - 2 terracotta pots, a badge with 2 characters I don't recognize, some lemon and lime slices (or maybe the green and white ones are cucumber or zucchini?), a cushion, and jars with tiny shells and tiny paint tubes.

On the first day, I looked through the bargain boxes on several stalls - I'm afraid I didn't take note of which stalls they all were. I found these beach balls and tennis racquets:

And on Nora Lee Maingard's stall, these shoes (which she had bought in Mauritius) and a Japanese jug:

Nora Lee had brought in some vintage furniture, which she offered to Anna-Maria, who wasn't so interested and showed it to me. There were several Marx pieces - I do like this yellow sofa:

With the Marx pieces was a Sonia Messer sink. None of us had seen ceramic Sonia Messer pieces, but it's stamped on the back, copyright 1975:

 Also on the first day, I got these wonderful macrame hangers from Norma Blackburn (MinisbyTwinmum) - so I won't have to learn macrame!

I also found Margaret Crosswell's stall. She was there last year too, but I don't think I noticed her wonderful Clarice Cliff and other reproductions. I chose a number of vases, bowls and plates on the first day:

and went back on the second day for another look. I spent some time choosing what's almost a matching tea set of Cottage ware (the sugar bowl doesn't have a yellow door, but never mind), plus a model cottage, a jug with a rooster and a hollyhocks jug. I bought two more hollyhocks vases, too - one will be a prize for a Dolls Houses Past and Present giveaway competition. (Sorry, these really need better quality photos to appreciate them, but I hope you can make out the fine details.)

Just opposite Margaret Crosswell's stand was Wyn Garside, and I spent some time looking and wondering what to buy. When I chose this tea cosy, she said, oh, you've chosen the dowdy one! I said it was for a 1940s house. 
The jumper in this photo is by Helen Palenski - it was my last purchase of the second day. Helen said that she had had 4 or 5 different cat designs this year, but by the time I saw them, there was just a Siamese and this cat.

I have bought flowers from this seller before - Dianne Cotterill, of Miniatures to Di For.  I was almost going to buy nasturtiums, but a quick look at my blog post on last year's fair reminded me that I bought some then. Then I thought about a spider plant in a hanging bowl to go in Norma Blackburn's macrame hangers - the kind ladies at this stall suggested that I take it up to Norma's stall and try it. The pot was a bit small for the hanger. So I decided on some red geraniums!

These plates of pawpaw and mango were only 50c each! I probably should have got more - it seems appropriate that some of my dolls houses in Darwin should have tropical fruit. I don't know anything about the maker apart from that they're called Del & come from Queensland.

This is a 1970s book for kids, I think, on making dolls house furnishings from bits and pieces. Only the cover is in colour, but in all the illustrations of the rooms they are peopled by bears and chicks!
And finally, my second-last buy of the fair, cushions from Norma Bennett - my combinations of her designs. Norma very kindly gave me a lift both afternoons to Ashfield railway station - there was trackwork, so this saved me two bus rides to a station where the trains where still running. Thank you Norma and Gordon!

I had carefully measured the inside of my suitcase and taken a tape measure to the fair, in case of finding a vintage dolls house which appealed to me - but I didn't see any at all. Other years, there have been one or two at least - either there weren't any this year, or it/they sold before I got there.

I have photos of some of the displays to share, too - they were taken on my camera, so hopefully will be a bit better quality than these ones taken on my phone!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Crazy House Lady

I love cats, but don't qualify as a crazy cat lady - I only have one cat now, two until late last year ... but a crazy dolls house lady, yep, I definitely qualify for that!

I spent last weekend in Sydney with my sister. This is her car, packed for our trip from Sydney to Bathurst yesterday (Monday) morning. On the right is a dolls house I drove to Castle Hill to collect on Sunday morning, and on the left is a model house frame I bought on Saturday afternoon. My suitcase (brown) and carry-on (black) hold lots of dolls house furnishings I brought down from Darwin for the dolls houses I have in Bathurst.

I found the house frame at Recycling Works in Annandale, where I've previously found dolls houses. My visit this time coincided with a hail storm over Sydney and the Central Coast, which was accompanied by torrential rain. Recycling Works has a corrugated iron roof, so the hail was very noisy. I was out the back looking at this frame house, which one of the guys there had just lifted down for me, when the rain started coming in - I'd picked up a few small things as I went, and I grabbed another I'd been looking at and retreated to the front section of the shop. Just as well I did, as this is what the back section looked like after the storm:

My sister's photo

In Bathurst, I had another house waiting for me, which is so big I have no idea where I'm going to put it! For the moment, it's still in the garage on the pallet it was delivered on -

It's huge - 1.6 m wide, 80 cm high and 60 cm deep. I didn't realise how big it was when I bought it - and I stupidly hadn't asked until I was booking the freight. But I was intrigued by it - here's the best shot I could get of the front at the moment:

I bought it from someone on the South Coast of New South Wales, near Jervis Bay, who said that she had picked it up a few years ago from an elderly couple - the husband had made it for his grandchildren. I don't know when he would have made it - it sounds like it couldn't have been much earlier than the 80s. The design looks a bit older, with the dormer windows and small panes in the main windows - perhaps he modelled it on a real house?

The garage has a lift-up door:

The handles on the internal doors were placed quite high, as they were in the 1920s and 30s - and the dark stained wooden doors and architraves are reminiscent of that period, too.

The hallway

The landing upstairs

Upstairs right - like the hallway, this seems to be the original wallpaper

Upstairs left - there seems to be some wallpaper under the contact

Downstairs right, with a bay window and more original wallpaper

Downstairs left - the kitchen, behind the garage - more contact!

This house came with original dirt, spiders, etc, included. I probably won't clean it until I sort out somewhere to put it - which I think will mean some remodelling and reorganising in either the largest bedroom (now a spare room) or the garage.

Here is the house I picked up in Castle Hill, in Sydney:

I forgot to ask the seller what she knows about it. It does look genuinely old, ca 1920s or 30s, I would say. The roof lifts off:

It doesn't look as if it has been papered at any stage - if it has, it's been very cleanly removed. It came with homemade 1930s style furniture, some of which is also stained wood, and some which is painted. When I have cleaned it all up, I will take photos of the furniture in the rooms - first, though, I need to treat the termites which have been eating some of the base!

The left side

The back

The right side

Detail of the front porch

While I'm in Bathurst, I hope to spend some time on the other dolls houses I have here, cleaning or stripping some, and trying out the furniture I brought in others. Then next weekend I'll be in Sydney for the dolls house fair! I had hoped to display some vintage dolls houses (I was thinking about my cardboard houses, as being the easiest to transport from Darwin), but I didn't get organised with display cabinets etc, so that will have to wait for another year.
I'm still looking forward to seeing fellow collectors and bloggers there - if you're going too, I hope we can meet up!