Saturday, February 7, 2009


In the past few weeks my two daughters have complained that they have enjoyed reading my blog, but that I have left out the most important part of my experience in the miniature world. As far as they are concerned, all that Tom and I have done is wonderful, but the best part was the very first dollhouse, and that of course was the dollhouse built for them. In the 60's when our girls were in elementary school...the second and fifth grades, to be exact, I saw an article about a dollhouse in one of the magazines, Better Homes & Gardens, if I remember correctly. I showed the magazine to Tom and asked him to build it for the girls for Christmas that year. He actually built two houses and they were housed in a neighbor's garage for the weeks until Christmas. The other house was for the neighbor's daughter and because their garage was well arranged so that the dollhouses could be worked on, but not seen, many evenings were spent in that garage until the holiday arrived. The first dollhouse was nothing like what we have today. First, there were no shops where one could purchase supplies and second, no one knew much about the hobby in those days. Scale was not even considered and anything that went into a house was made by the beginning builders. Furniture was just odd pieces of wood and the fabric most used was felt as it didn't ravel or fray and was easily cut to desired sizes. Perhaps I should add a picture to show just what I am trying to explain.The original dollhouse is the one with the pink roof.

That first dollhouse was a strange looking one, but it was the most treasured toy that my girls had in their childhood. They loved it and took great care with it. If a friend came over and wasn't careful, she was not allowed over again, or at the very least, she was not allowed access to that favorite dollhouse. Notice that there is no staircase in that first dollhouse, a subject that frequently causes much discussion. My girls for some reason were not at all bothered by the missing stairs. After all, they just used their imaginary elevator to put their dolls wherever they needed to be. Mattel had come out with some small dolls called "Little Kiddles". My girls had about two dozen of them and all had their space in the dollhouse.

I am now well used to the wonderful furniture, mouldings and accessories that we have available to us in the miniatures hobby, but I still remember how things were in the early days. How many hobbyists remember when we had only contact paper for walls; when we used earring parts to simulate lights; when toothpaste caps became flower pots and spent bullet shells were vases? These days I wonder if there is anything in the real world that cannot be found in miniature. In the top picture, the yellow roof picture, is a dollhouse of the same design, but built more than ten year later. I still had not found my first miniature shop, but I did find a book with patterns for building furniture in scale. It was all made from balsa wood and some of it was not particularly attractive, but it did serve the purpose and very soon after that, real miniature furniture became available. The first bathroom and kitchen pieces were already on the market and a few stores carried them so I was able to use those in the house made for the two daughters of good friends, but that house also has toothpaste caps and bullet vases. How far we have come!!

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