Saturday, March 28, 2009


As I mentioned earlier, the youngest granddaughter got a second hand house...much like hand-me-down clothes perhaps? When it was time to build her special house we decided to do a house that was built to look like the house the family had lived in for quite a few years. I don't remember who decided to build the dollhouse as a replica of their real house, but that is what we did and we were all happy with the result.....although the brickwork was not all as perfect as it should have been. The family no longer lives in that house so the dollhouse keeps up the old memories of the years they lived there. There is also a picture of Hannah the cat who must check out all mini projects to see that they meet her high standards. The dollhouse rooms are not the same as the real house, but what we were striving for was a house that looked like the real one and I think we succeeded.


When GD #3 was getting her new dollhouse, we decided that our first grandson, the middle child in the Orlando family, should have a house of some sort lest he feel left out. We chose a log cabin for him and took it to Orlando at the same time as GD #3's house. The cabin was nice, but our grandson was not into forts or houses for play camping so after a couple of years, that cabin came back to us.


Our third granddaughter lives in Orlando and we took quite a while to plan her dollhouse. She was the child who had one of the McKinley dollhouses that I wrote of earlier. That house went to her younger sister when the third granddaughter got her very own, special dollhouse. I should explain why there was so much planning before her house was built. Tom did the building of the house and per my request, added a wrap around porch, but we also wanted a gazebo built into the corner of that porch. We had seen a house with the porch and gazebo while driving up Route 29 from Charlotte, NC to Charlottesville, VA. We actually stopped to take a picture of that house the next time we made that drive up Route 29 and then Tom finished the dollhouse for granddaughter # 3. I should say that the central part of the house was a kit. Then Tom added the wrap-around porch with gazebo and the kitchen addition. That dollhouse now waits on a high shelf in the garage for the next young girl to play with it. Undoubtedly there will be a need for a bit of remodeling when that house is brought out for play once again. Now for a few pictures of GD #3's house.


Our first two grandchildren were girls and were just a bit over a year apart. Tom built their dollhouse which was given to them when the girls were still pretty young. Later when they were older and able to appreciate the house more, we redid it completely. Here are some pictures of that first house, after the remodeling.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


A roombox can make a most interesting project. It can be fabricated from small boxes, a box made of foamcore or an attractive gift bag. One of the nicest things about roomboxes is that they do not take up a lot of room so miniaturists can continue the projects without needing large open spaces for a full dollhouse. The roombox pictures that I have added should be numbered so that I can write a few lines about them. First there is the reception room for the bride and groom. I made that roombox for my older daughter who was a bridal consultant for a number of years. Then there are a couple of roomboxes which were made for Ron's Miniature shop when the October salute to miniatures was held. The small mill was made by my husband Tom.....I think I like the large mill better :) but, the little mill got an Honorable Mention by the judges. There is also a project of Fimo 'Alice In Wonderland' characters. They were made by Wendy Brokaw of Carmel, CA. She does wonderful clay figures and I have been particularly impressed by her storybook figures. The pub roombox was purchased by me several years ago at Earth and Tree Miniatures in New Hampshire. If I remember correctly, there were two pubs, one by Kari and one by the late Tom Berkner. I cannot remember which one I brought home with me, but both were outstanding and I just need to get a couple of people to work in the pub...the bartender and a patron or two.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I will be adding five more pictures of roomboxes which are special to me. The first is a box made of fabric and foamcore; made especially to showcase the bookcase desk which was made for me by a friend from Phoeniz, AZ. She was a good friend, but sadly, she has passed away. The roombox reminds me of her each time I see it. Then there is a Colonial kitchen (which resides on a shelf in my kitchen) and reminds me of how much I have always loved Colonial Williamsburg. Then comes the only half-inch project that I have done, although I am contemplating a new one. The roombox is my version of a street in Paris. Having lived in France for two years, this little roombox brings a smile to my face whenever I pass it from its home on a living room end table. The last roombox is another one that I did for Ron's October display and it received a blue ribbon, not from the Judges, but as the People's Choice award. I used a Hallmark ornament for Pinocchio and Gepetto and then made the roombox to look like what I would have imagined Gepetto's shop to be. In the window is Figaro (was that the cat's name?) hovering over the fish bowl and Jiminy Cricket is on the workbench. It bothers me to think of how many years have gone by since I last shopped at Ron''s time for a change!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Every miniaturist needs to have an Antique Shop. Don't we all collect many items that are not used. We found a marvellous piece while shopping and bought it only to discover that it didn't fit in where we thought it would. Over time, if we stay in this wonderful hobby, we collect many objects....accessories, furniture, maybe even a doll or two, and there is no place for them. Instead of filling up a cabinet, the solution is to build an Antique Shop because anything goes; there is no particular style or theme required. Here are a couple of pictures of mine. I used the Arthur and it is crammed full as the pictues will show.


I have written about my first dollhouse which I found in a miniature shop in New Jersey. It seemed to have a farmhouse look about it, but when I was trying to decide how to decorate the interior, I went with Victorian....that period that so fascinates many miniaturists. I did quite a bit of research on the Victorian decor and also that of the Edwardian and decided that the 'new' house would be fun to do in period style. The furniture in this house was made from kits. In the dining room alone, all three major kit manufacturers - House of Miniatures, Chrysnbon and Real Live Miniatures - were used. The dining room rug was one that was painted using colored pens. I was very pleased with how that rug turned out although the one in the Master Bedroom was not as well done. I also should mention that the dishes in the dining room were hand painted by me, all 54 pieces, and I did not use a pattern. All of the design was done free hand. Would that I could do as well now!!


I love all things English; French, too having lived in France for two years. However, once we began travelling in Enland, I fell in love with the way the English have preserved their history and wish we could travel every year as there is so much to see in that beautiful countryside. The study of English history is one of my hobbies, if one can call that a hobby, but it is truly amazing to tour a castle that has been inhabited by the same family for more than 900 years. Some time ago I fell in love with the Greenleaf cottage called "The Glencroft" because it is a Tudor style cottage. The mystery is that I did not decorate it in Elizabethan style. but perhaps it will one day get a redo and be that Tudor cottage that I so admire. My Glencroft has its own story: It is occupied by a Widowed Grandmother who has her cats for company and an occasional visit from her grandchildren. She tends her garden and lives the simple life in her small cottage.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Earlier when I was writing about "A Door For All Seasons" I mentioned former Miamian, Donna Parker. I discovered her in the early 80's and was delighted to take some of her classes. I think it might have been her projects that had me find my love for detail and that has been my mainstay all through my work in miniatures. Donna had wonderful projects and what was unusual was that everything in her roomboxes was made by the class attendees. There might be one kit or two, but if so, the kits had to be put together and painted or in some way made to be one's own. In the project pictured here we made a Christmas florist shop. We constructed the box from a kit and then made everything inside. Most of the flowers were made from Fimo and there were shelves to be built, garlands and wreaths to be made and a lovely Christmas tree to be decorated. At one time that Christmas tree was lighted, but unfortunately, this was very early for wiring and it did not last very long. The project was a lovely one and still is even though it was built in late 1982.

Next was a breakfast room/patio, a more elaborate project, but an interesting and lovely one. Again everything in it was made by the ones who took the class. Donna had patterns for everything and what we could not accomplish in actual classes was done at home between class times. This particular roombox had a bit of landscaping, my very first attempts and I soon discovered how much fun landscaping could be. We even made the dishes for the hutch because Donna had learned a technique somewhere of making dishes using wallpaper coated heavily with several coats of Decal-It. The dishes turned out quite well and because wallpaper was used for the patterns, they could match the chosen decor. Again, there were some kits, mainly the four chairs for the table and Fimo came out again only this time desserts were made. Now for a couple of pictures.......

The next project was one I made as a Christmas present for my sister-in-law in Maryland. She collects music boxes and this was my version of Christmas music box. She loved it and I enjoyed making all of the holiday items to fill up the space in the windows.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


I have a pretty extensive miniature library and I don't mean the tiny books on the shelf of a miniature library, but regular books on a lot of different phases of the hobby. My first book was given to me a lot of years ago by a dear friend. It was "The Complete Book of Making Miniatures" by Thelma Newman and Virginia Merrill, whose home Tom and I had the pleasure of visiting a few years ago as a special treat when we were attending a Guild Study Program at Colonial Williamsburg. I must say that it was a delight to see some of the remarkable work that was done by Virginia Merrill. Back to the story of the book given to me by long time friend, Ann. Ann and her husband John have been friends of ours for nearly 40 years and they are special people; those who always do for others. If there is a family in trouble for any reason, there will be a home cooked meal delivered to the home by Ann. John, too is involved in good works like feeding the homeless. In any event to continue the story, at the time that Ann gave me the above mentioned book, I was in the process of building a dollhouse for her two daughters. That particular house was pictured earlier in this blog, part of the "Back to the Beginning" comments. It was the house where I had to make all of the furniture from balsa wood with rudimentary tools, but not long after, regular dollhouse furniture became available and that was a good thing. Because Ann and John are two of the nicest people I know and because their lives are full of good works for others, I decided that with Tom's important help, we would build them a church as a Christmas present. All churches would welcome parisioners like our friends as good deeds are part of their nature. I think I need not say that our church was well received.

The building of the church leads me to relate a rather interesting story because I had no idea how we would handle certain aspects of the the stained glass windows, for example. I happened to go into a miniature store near Melbourne and in talking with the owner I learned that she had pictures of stained glass windows because she was on a comittee for her church, investigating the stained glass that her church wanted to buy and have installed. I was thrilled with the pictures because they were all well known Biblical themes such as Adam and Eve and Moses etc. After deciding how many windows we would have in the church and their size, Tom and I took the pictures to a graphics store and had the selected pictures color copied onto transparancies. The results were wonderful; we could not have asked for a better result. Tom built the church structure from scratch with no plans. He also built all of the pews. My contribution was the altar, the organ which was a Chrysnbon kit, the poinsettias, the altar vases, the flooring and wiring and any other little touches that were needed...the bits of landscaping outside. Tom also did the hymnals in the back of every pew. We were pleased with our church and were surprised to see that Real Good Toys soon after had a kit that showed up in most mini shops. I don't think Tom would have used the kit had it existed, but I don't mind bragging on his ability to do such projects from scratch with no plans at all. That is a gift and few people have it.