Sunday, December 14, 2008



The Conservatory is off of the dining room; a window was omitted so that a French door could be added. As for the exterior of the house, it is a large dollhouse and takes up a lot of room for display. The landscaping is not yet last chore other than the mistress's studio. Because this house is so large I do not have room for the kind of landscaping that the house deserves. That is one of the reasons I added the conservatory. My next mini chore will be to add some hint of landscaping on the front of the house and then I will be able to say that the house is truly finished, if a dollhouse project is ever really finished.


It seems wiser to post the pictures first and then do the text as hopefully, it will make more sense that way. There are only three pictures on the third floor of my Thornhill as the large room in the center is a family/game room. There is a guest room and bath on the left of the family room and an artist's studio on the right. The studio is not yet finished and the mistress of the house is most annoyed that her special room is missing some important items. Now for the last pictures, other than the exterior shot, that is.


The second floor hall is a long hall with seating and walls lined with ancestral portraits.

To the left of the hall is the guest bedroom and the library. In the library is a Gail Steffey leather chair, an arrangement done in a class taught by Sandra Wall Rubin, a couple of small boxes done by Therese Bahl and a painting done by Pete Boorum's mother, minaturized by Pete. There is a corner chair with miniature crewel stitching, purchased at a show. Also, on the left bookshelf are pictures of family members which include all six of my grandchildren. and on one of the chairs, a throw done by Bonne Backe of Weavings.

To finish the second floor I will add pictures of the master bedroom and bath which are to the right of the long hallway. The armoire in the master bedroom was built by Tom and decorated by Sean McCaslin. The chest at the bottom of the bed was done by James Hastrich and was a gift from my friend, Debbe Bloom.

Saturday, December 13, 2008



I know that one is supposed to enter information on a blog on a daily basis and I am way behind in writing. However, Thanksgiving, Christmas shopping and my office have taken up all of my time and that explains my delay in posting. I have decided to write about the Thornhill dollhouse next because a number of people have this house and like to see what others have done with it. I acquired my Thornhill for free as it was what I selected to have using some prize winnings. I ordered the basic house and then ordered the windows. For some reason I wasn't thrilled with the windows that Real Good Toys used on the house. They were two different windows, one style on the first floor and another on the second floor. Even though I know it was authentic to use the different windows on a house of the Federal period, I preferred to have all of the same windows. I also was not happy with the ceiling height in the house because the height was 10" and for me, an elegant house would have had higher ceilings, particularly on the first floor. A very dear friend of mine was visiting at the time and I managed to get the basic house put together before her arrival so that she and I could discuss the house with its good and bad points. Shortly after her arrival, we went to a Tom Bishop show in Ft. Lauderdale and while there we saw a gorgeous roombox by Ray Whitledge. My husband, Tom, had heard Debbe and me discussing the Thornhill and ceiling height in particular so he asked Ray W. what the height was on the lovely roombox that he was showing. He said that the height was 13" and the following day, with no prompting from me or Debbe, Tom cut around the entire house and added 3" to the height of the first floor. It is quite nice to have a husband who enjoys the mini hobby and doesn't hesitate to do things that make the projects more interesting. Tom used extra pieces of wood to combine the two parts of the house and as soon as he had finished his woodworking, I was all set to begin my work on the house. We also changed the floor plan a lot making a nice entryway in the center of the house, a living room to the right of the entry, a dining room and kitchen on the other side of the entry. Behind the kitchen (at the back of the entry) is a laundry/pantry room. Before I get to the second floor let me add a few pictures to show you the first floor. I have to believe that you will see what we saw....that the first floor ceiling height at 13" makes for a far more elegant style room.

A few notes on the first floor rooms of the Thornhill: The stairs in the entry have two spindles on each step, a feature that I wanted, but without Tom's abilities, would have been unable to have. The spindles were purchased and all available ones that I have seen are the same length. Tom used his lathe to make additional, longer spindles so that I could have the two per stair that I so wanted. The chandelier in the entry was made at that same Tom Bishop show that I mentioned earlier. It was made by my friend Debbe in a class and when she had finished, Debbe presented the completed chandelier to me as a gift. Naturally, it needed to be put in the house entry. In the living room, there is a statue by Neil Carter on the mantle (another of his works will show up in the library when I get to the second floor pictures.) There are two Hummel figurines, miniature of course, in the living room; pieces that I adore. One was a gift and the other was purchased on ebay. In the dining room, the wallpaper is by Therese Bahl, copies of her original art work. She is one of my favorite artisans!! On the buffet there is a piece from the Joseph Addotta collection. It is silver and crystal. I saw it at Ron's in Orlando and just HAD to have it. One comment about the kitchen, on the floor in front of the sink is a rug made by Debbe Bloom who makes the nicest bunka rugs that I have ever seen. I was delighted to have the rug because it just 'belongs' on that kitchen floor.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


In 1994 Hobby Builders Supply started a contest. The company would pick the basic box and the miniaturists would create within that box. There were no real limitations on what could be done, but there was a deadline at the end of December and the company requested that entrants purchase their supplies from HBS, although other sources for materials could be used.

I thought the contest sounded like great fun so I entered. My entry was a Victorian shop and garden. It was made from a basic box from HBS and adapted to resemble shops I had seen in the small town of St. Michael's, Maryland. My husband, Tom, made the roof because the shop I wanted to build has an unusual front roof overhang. The lady in the garden was from The Doll Lady in Pa.

The dog is a limited edition by Gail Morey. He is cute, but naughty for chewing up that plant!! The side wall of the shop appears to have a window, but it is not real. I painted it to seem like a window into the shop. The shop opens on the opposide side. Another interesting addition was the sunflower in the back of the garden. I added that for a special reason. The area of South Miami Dade where we live was hard hit by Hurricane Andrew in August of 1992. Strangely, every yard around my area had a sunflower growing after Andrew; just one sunflower because when it was gone, there were no more. There are two little girls sitting in the garden; one on a bench near the front and the other in the arbor in back. They were sculped by Luci Criswell and they are adorable. I did all of the landscaping in the garden as landscaping and flower making are two of my favorite things in this delightful hobby. Now, let's go inside the shop.

Inside the shop is full of little girls' dresses, lace, flowers, hats, masks for masquerades, hat pins, lots of pictures, decorated plates and all sorts of things many as I could think of anyway. Inside the shop is a Persian cat who is perched on a chair in order to stay away from the mouse on the floor beneath the chair. The cat and Gail Morey's dog in the garden, added that bit of whimsy that I always try to include somewhere in every project. I loved this project; had great fun making it....and by the way, it did not win the big prize, but it did come in third. Good luck to all those entering the current contest which is about to end in December. I look forward to seeing all of the entries!!


I am not even sure why I am writing about the 9th Greenleaf house....which was a Pierce.

It was made for my older daughter, per her begging for a house. She picked out the Pierce and gave me strict instructions that I was to do all of the basic work, and buying most of the furniture was OK too, but I was not to finish the stairway, the porch trim or the roof. Sandy had her own ideas of what she wanted and how it was to be done. Well, that was OK with me and I gave the house to her so long ago that I can't remember the date. She later moved to Charlotte, NC; then to Alexandria, VA , then Orlando and finally to Miami. The Pierce made all of those moves with her and it survived quite well. I was amazed to see that all of the lights worked when the dollhouse finally got back to Miami....and that's my recommendation for soldering light connections...I am convinced they will last as long as the house. I think by now you must have guessed the end to this story, but in case you have not, I will tell you that the Pierce has never been finished. In fact, it looks now as it did when I gave it to my daughter all those years ago. She is a talented seamstress and decorator, but she didn't put any of that into her Pierce. I wonder if she will ever get the house finished or if I should finish it and give it away?



I am about to post the two McKinley Greenleaf houses which were built at the same time. Both were presents for young girls at holiday time; one for Christmas and one for Haukkah.

As you look at the pictures you will see that the two houses are almost identical; it seemed easier that way because they were gifts for two girls who didn't know one another and in all probability would never see the other, nearly identical house. One child was in Orlando and the other was in Miami. The McKinley is one of my favorite houses because it is a wallhanger, yet a complete house. It also was one of the easiest that I have ever wired, not that I look for that in a kit because wiring is a challenge and one of the fun parts of dollhouse building. I have included one picture which may seem like an unnecessary is the second shot of the living room and I included it because it is the only picture that shows the windows. I am not a fan of plain, plastic windows so on these two houses, I got out the stained glass design book and put a pattern on all of the windows. It made them look so much nicer and added to the Victorian feeling of the house. Also note that one house has a clock on the mantel and the other has a Menorah.


As the holidays are approaching, it seems appropriate to show the Storybook Cottage which I turned into a Sants's Workshop.

I don't think the Storybook C. is available in the same style these days, but I wish it would be brought back because it can be turned into many interesting shops and stores.

I removed one window and added a chimney, and I made the second floor much shorter.....after all, the elves were not very tall anyway and there was a ladder to access the area where some of them had to work.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


When writing about my Arthur Antique Shop, I mentioned Joe Andrews from whom I bought many wonderful miniatures, particularly those from a prior era like the strange bathtub and the butter churn in the floor of the kitchen. One thing I forgot was to state that Joe's wife was Jackie Andrews. She was well known for her fabulous collection of dollhouses, shops, souvenirs from NAME conventions and projects from many artisans. She was also known for the loan she took out to buy a miniature house, Wilton. The story was (and I do believe it was true) that she went to the bank, took out a mortgage, but it was for a dollhouse instead of a house for real people. One can only imagine the furor that caused.


It seems that I got ahead of myself when writing about the Greenleaf houses; put the words up, but didn't get all of the house pictures. So much can be said about all of the Greenleaf kits, or any houses for that matter. I find it a bit difficult to get all of the information written where the picture is shown, but I guess that is normal in trying to understand just how to write a blog.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


The pictures shown are those of various Greenleaf kits that we have made. The Willowcrest is a beautiful house, not currently available, but hopefully to be reissued soon. In the house shown here, I built the house, did the flooring, wallpapering and the wiring. The child's mother wanted to furnish the house with her daughter so I added no furnishings.

The next house shown is the Glencroft, one of my favorite houses. I built this one for me. It has an extra garage type room beside the house and that room is used for the owner's gardening tools as well as her laundry facilities. I added quite a bit of landscaping to the yard and attempted to show some of what an English garden might contain.

The next house is the Arthur. I made three of those; one was sent to Maryland to my sister-in-law as a Christmas present. She is not a miniaturist, but she does collect some minis and needed a place to house her treasures.

The second Arthur is mine and I made it into my Antique shop. It is well stocked with artisan pieces, a spinning wheel by Warren Dick is one example. This project was one of my earlier ones so it contains some treasures from past artisans and well known vendors, Joe Andrews being one of my favorite vendors because he always had such wonderful wooden pieces and oldtime pieces like the strange bathtub on the 2nd floor of the shop with the built-in water storage tank.

I can still remember how I debated about what pieces to buy each time that I saw Joe at a show.

The third Arthur was made as a Christmas present for the 6 year old daughter of my "veggie" lady. She had seen some of my miniatures and asked if I would make the house for her child. Making houses for children was something I loved to do because it gave such joy to me and to the child!!

Monday, November 17, 2008


Nearly 30 years ago I entered into a wonderful world of miniatures. For those who don't know, that means that I have a hobby in which I build miniature houses and shops in 1/12th scale. The structures are popularly known as dollhouses. Over the years I have derived great pleasure by making dollhouses and giving them to children of friends and of course to my grandchildren and we were lucky enough to have six grandchildren, four of whom were girls.

I am lucky in that my husband enjoys the same hobby...he has always been a woodworker in full size so now he just makes furniture in small size.

A month or so ago I joined an internet group sponsored by a company that builds dollhouse kits. I happen to like the houses done by Greenleaf because they are appealing architecturally. I was asked by some of the members if I had built any Greenleaf houses and if so, how many. Since I happen to have some pictures of those houses, let me start by adding a few. Then I can move on to other houses and shops.