Sunday, April 13, 2014

New Acquisitions: Adrian Cooke and Kitty Puppenmobel


I know, quite a combination of acquisitions here...but I like the unexpected nature of this, and it speaks to my inclinations as a collector.

This soft metal chair set was made by Adrian Cooke of the USA in the late 1800s. I've seen these chairs before in reference books and on other blogs so they caught my interest when they popped up on eBay; my best offer price of $30.99 was accepted. I challenged myself to use the chairs in one of my midcentury houses, which was fun.






The Kitty Puppenmobel pieces came in their original box, very cool. Also bought on eBay, the set, which dates from the early 1960s, was a best offer purchase of $18.99. These pieces were not as difficult to use in one of my houses, but the light blue and yellow colors were a bit of a challenge.









Any new "opposite acquisitions" lately? Do you like to collect like this too?

Credits: Adrian Cooke scene: table by PRD Miniatures; globe lamp by minimodernistas; cabinet is vintage German. Accessories are Dragondee, Re-ment, Michaels, minimodernistas, The Shopping Sherpa, and Lilu Shop on Etsy. Puppenmobel scene: table is Ryan's Room; arc lamp is an eBay find; initial pillows by Dale's Dreams; side table by Patie of minisx2. Accessories are K. Delaney, Ray Storey, and dollhouse show finds.

The time it took me: 45 minutes combined

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A New Midcentury Dollhouse


Whee! A new midcentury style dollhouse has made its debut! The 1:16 scale laser cut ARC Dollhouse, designed by Krista Peel of Three Star Studio, is intended to be a simple and sustainable canvas for dollhouse play. I was thrilled when I received an email from Krista announcing the new house, and eagerly await it so that I can share it with you.






It comes flat-packed and looks quite easy to assemble. The house also comes with either baltic birch or walnut furnishings, and there are many possibilities for customization. The house retails for $65 on Etsy, the baltic birch furniture is $35, and the walnut/plexi set is $50.

The house has already created some buzz in the 1:1 design world -- Design Milk wrote about it this week. Hopefully that means that there is more to come!


I intend to share more soon.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Toy Fair 2014

The new Paul Frank line from Tynies
A highlight of my winter is the opportunity to attend NY NOW and the Toy Fair, which occur at the Javits Center in New York City in late January and mid-February, respectively. I've attended both over the past few years, and always have a great time learning and looking at the latest products from toy, gift, and lifestyle manufacturers around the world.

Weather got in the way for me this year, however, and I unfortunately could not make it into the city for the NY NOW show :( I really did try to make it work, but we've been hit by loads and loads of stubborn snow, ice, rain -- you name it -- and there was no way I could go. There is the summer show in August to attend, though!

SO. I was intent on getting to the Toy Fair. As you may know, these events are enormous...hundreds of vendors, aisles and aisles of booths, and crowds of people. I've developed a bit of a system over the years that works pretty well for me.

First, I attend as press, so I am able to strategize on my visit in the press center, with access to the show catalogue and a place to sit and store my coat and extraneous stuff (very important -- you don't want to be carrying lots of stuff around).

Then, I look through the catalogue to determine which vendors I want to see. I know many in advance, but then there are always new ones to discover. The vendors are organized by "Product Zones" (Action Figures, Board Games, Dolls, Youth Electronics, etc) and are grouped according to these categories. The row numbers range from 100 to 6400, and increase by 100 from row to row. That is A LOT to see. To focus my visit, I create a written list of vendors and numbers and then put them in numerical order. Sometimes I make appointments in advance, but this time I did not.



Then, I head on my way and usually spend 4-5 hours total going to my planned booths and others that I see by browsing . This year, I brought my camera, which worked much better than my phone!

Here are the highlights!

Safari Ltd

Safari Ltd makes very high-quality and realistic plastic replicas and it was great to see some new pieces from the Good Luck Minis and TOOB lines.









For a Southwest-inspired interior, perhaps??




I am in love with the American President busts!

Playmobil

I did not make it in to the Playmobil booth last year, but managed to visit it this time around and it was great. The booth is organized by month and displays new products appearing in those given months. One of the showcase pieces was a shopping mall, with a variety of stores and innovative accessories and people. Did you know that three years ago, the company decided to make the bodies more realistic? You can see this especially in the head and feet.


A wedding cake!


Look at the boxed mini Playmobil!

Check out the mini house!



Cool tents and accessories



All in all, some really terrific stuff coming this year.

Maisto

The Maisto booth was fun. I've used Maisto products in the past -- they are a die-cast toy company that makes extremely high-quality cars, bikes, and other vehicles in a variety of scales, including 1:12. 


They were showing a new line of Harley Davidson and "Sons of Anarchy" 1:12 scale motorcycles. Fabulously detailed. Very cool.





AREAWARE

I had to stop in at one of my favorite booths -- the very creative bunch over at AREAWARE. They were showing some new Cubebots: Ninjas! I saw Owner Noel Wiggins, and he commented that they really needed the bots in black and white, and Ninjas seemed the most appropriate nomenclature. I agree! They come in sizes Micro and Small.





Noel also showed me a new product, Blockitecture, which was designed by the student winner of Rochester Institute of Technology's annual design competition. You create constructions by balancing the colorful blocks at challenging, cantilevered angles. Clever!



Lille Huset

Alyson Beaton, the whiz behind the paperboard dollhouses of Lille Huset, was showing for the first time at Toy Fair. It was great to see her there with some new offerings, including a graphically awesome barn and some new furniture and people, part of the new "Brooklyn" set.






I look forward to seeing what's next for her!

Urban Canvas

I popped over to Urban Canvas next, a relatively new company started by interior designer Maria Chee that aims to encourage creative, expressive play with paperboard dollhouses and structures. It was nice to see a few new pieces in her collection, namely a modular set of shops and a bistro.





The walls can be configured and colored according to one's imagination, and then be packed away!

Roominate

Roominate, started by two female engineers with a Kickstarter campaign, was developed to encourage young girls in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math). The dollhouse sets are modular and wired, so you can build a range of structures that are powered by motion or light.




The product has experienced a great deal of success in a short time, and is continuing to expand its offerings.

Tynies

Tynies are simply awesome. They are very detailed glass figurines that come in a variety of designs. I use them in my scenes a lot, and luckily my local toy store carries them. The collection just expanded with a new Paul Frank line, as well as some very yummy looking desserts.





Their packaging is changing, for the better I think. Currently, the pieces come in small plastic boxes that can be tricky to open (see above picture); the new packaging is a snap sealed plastic shell that stacks. A definite improvement!

MiWorld by JAKKS Pacific

The last stop of the day was at the JAKKS Pacific room, where I wanted to have a quick look at the MiWorld play sets (see my review here).



I was told that a new set is forthcoming -- cannot say which one, but definitely a high-profile brand. Look forward to that.

Whew! That does it for this year's review. Hope you managed to stick with me through this lengthy post. I'll leave you with a final few pictures from a sweet line of cloth dolls called Pocketopia. The creator, Rita Ross, has put together a lovely collection with personality and care and was showing for the first time at Toy Fair.




Keep creating, people!