Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Masked Blogger -- and Origami Paper

Odd, title, I know. I'll get to it.

I've only been blogging since January, so I am new to the whole psychology of opening oneself to anyone who may stumble upon personal writings and pictures. By blogging, you are doing something public, yet I (and many others whose blogs I visit regularly), choose not to be public on identity.

My DH is a bit mystified when I refuse to let him share the fact that I have a blog with family and friends -- "It's private!" I say. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that I am slowly coming out of my dolls' house closet to family and close friends to share that I have reconnected with my lifelong love of minis, intersected with my more grown-up love of architecture and modern design. I'm inherently shy (at least initially), so it's a bit of a leap for me to explain to others why I have various dolls' houses around our real house and drawers full of very small stuff. That I like to play with. And photograph. And write about.

Anyway, I know lots of people are public about the fact they have blogs and perhaps I will be one day too, but I feel at least for now I am not alone in having a small cloak of secrecy...or am I?

OK, so onto the origami paper. I went to Michael's today to pick up storage boxes and saw some really nice looking origami paper that looked like it could be re appropriated for something mini. Rugs or wall coverings occurred first. Rug concept in current house setup was quicker -- this could work!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I'm Game

I'm game for this kind of day -- reading on my new daybed (from PRD!), delectable treats just a step away, and the option to hop upstairs for a nap in a sunny aerie. Chess and checkers are around for more leisure time.

I'm game for a dog, too, but that's not happening any time soon. Not enough love (and hands) to go around with the three kids, hubby, work (and all my minis, of course).

My daughter gets credit for putting the chess set together -- she knows where all the pieces go and has nice small fingers to get everything placed!

Credits: downstairs - accessories by Re-ment, AG Minis and Ebay finds; cypress table and cowhide daybed by Paris Renfroe; kitchen island and table, side tables by Villa Sibi; Barcelona chair by Reac; dog from Lucky Puppy Math game; lamp and vase by Bozart; upstairs - table and chairs and side chair by Fisher Price; bed and side table from Villa Sibi; checkers by TOMY; yellow bed cover by Ryan's Room; lamp from my daughter's collection.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Technicolor Studio

I was thinking about being in college in New York City and living in a super small (400 sq.ft) prewar studio in the west village. I had an odd assortment of furniture, new and old, and squeezed things in, like it or not. I worked, ate, slept, and played in the same tiny space. Miserable? Nah, loved it.

Now, the Villa Sibi isn't exactly slumming it, but I was inspired to pull together colorful, mismatched pieces to evoke my college years. I shot these at midnight last night, so the lighting is not ideal (UPDATE, 3/28/09: re-shot with natural light and replaced some pictures).

The desk is cluttered, of course, with food, paper and books. Always a bag lying around too. And a jump rope to satisfy boredom or to escape doing a paper.

The sleeping alcove can only fit a bed and some very small chairs and a table for late night working and snacking (didn't have a laptop in college, but don't have a late 80s clunky desktop mini!).

Credits: Desk and chair, small white table, rug, bed, lamp, pillow, book on bed and vases by Bozart; bag and other accessories by Re-ment; purple couches by Ryan's Room; cypress table by Paris Renfroe; cafe table and chairs by Battat Our Generation; laptop by Elf; sleeping platform and side table from Villa Sibi.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Zebra Room

The anchor of this scene in the Villa Sibi is a zebra couch that I bought off Ebay. It is actually a Creative Playthings piece that someone painted, and they also got creative with a side chair. I have been wanting to use the Reac ball chair for a while, and I found it can be challenging to place. I think it works here, though, and instantly creates a leisure vibe. This led me to take out the TOMY checkers set! I do not have any shelving units, but I wanted one to complete the scene. So I ended up taking the frames from a vintage white Fisher Price couch and chair set that came with a large lot from Ebay and stacked them. It's not great, but it's something.

Of course, doing scenes only makes you realize what you don't have yet in your collection. I need rugs; vases and other tchotchkes; books; eating accessories; and then some.

Speaking of eating, I am a pasta girl and could eat it 24/7. I purchased a Re-ment pasta dish and love it. I set up a dining scene using some of the new vintage wooden furniture I got recently from Ebay. The table is really great, as are the other pieces, but they can be tricky to place, since the scale is off. But I think it looks kinda neat.

I couldn't resist a pasta close-up. :)
Other credits: Accessories are Re-ment, AG Minis, and Ebay finds; coffee table and pillows are Ryan's Room; wooden sculpture and leather chairs are Bozart.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mystery Furniture

I bought a decent sized lot of vintage wooden furniture off Ebay recently and the package arrived today. The furniture intrigued me online because of the mid century lines. The seller did state that most of the pieces needed some gluing of legs and that is indeed the case. Not a big deal, though, and the seller included all the broken pieces. Gorilla Glue is my friend.

I love pretty much everything in the lot, which seems to be sized closer to 1:16, but some pieces are smaller and I think could work well for 1:12. The felt covered chairs are fabulous:

As are the assorted tables:

Of course I'd like to find out more about these pieces. None are marked, with the exception of these little lights, which have just European looking numbers on the bottoms:

The lights are wired, as is the TV set and the fireplace. No transformer though. I have a trusty Dian Zillner book (Antiques & Collectibles), but could not find anything yet. Some of the pieces look Lundby-esque, but I don't collect Lundby nor have any pieces and I am not totally familiar with the catalogue of styles.

I'm all ears should anyone know more...!
I'm off to glue!

UPDATE, 3/25/09: Thanks to *annina*, I have a very big clue on the origins of this furniture. It is looking like the pieces are from Kathrin's House, a German wooden house that dates from the early 196os, pictured on the Puppenhaus Museum website, here. The coffee table, chairs, and side pieces look to be an exact match! Thanks, *annina*!!

This is the house -- very cool:

Kathrin's House photos courtesy of the Puppenhaus Museum website.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

TOMY Sylvanian

I've mentioned my like (perhaps love) of vintage TOMY. I bought a TOMY Sylvanian house on Ebay, and was pleased to find it was in pristine condition, as the seller promised. Not a scratch on it. I loved the lines of the house, even though the scale is off. I discovered that the Sylvanian line is the precursor to Calico Critters, so they include all sorts of forest animals on small scale. Not my thing, but I liked the simplicity of their little abode, which dates from the 80s. It came with some heinous furniture, and the seller threw in some miscellaneous items, some of which will come in handy (wooden bowls, cutting boards, etc.) -- the butter churn and oil lamp, not so much.

I did a little kitchen, living room and bedroom scene and liked the effect of the natural light. It was fun to shoot through doorways and windows:

Believe it or not, it took me forever to set up the salt and pepper mills, they kept falling over:

I got some playroom toys so I wanted to create a kid's room:

And some living room and kitchen shots:

Credits: kitchen island and table/chairs and beds from the Villa Sibi; love seat and lounge chair by Reac; two cypress tables by Paris Renfroe; plant and cutting board by TOMY; laptop, saucepan and pepper mills by Elf Miniatures; items on table by AG minis and Re-ment; magazines and holder and toys by Re-ment; toy train by Calico Critters; artwork and kid's room table by Bozart.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rietveld in Brooklyn

I came across an artnet article from last November about the Modernism show at the Park Avenue Armory in NYC, and it mentioned one of dollhouses designed by iconic architect/designer Gerrit Rietveld had sold to the Brooklyn Museum for $30,000. As the article notes, the house is a bit scruffy, so I wonder if the museum will put some conservation muscle into it. I don't believe it is on display yet, or if they will put it on display. It would be great to see it up close, so I am sorry I missed the show -- must try to go this year.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


This is the first of what hopefully will be many more posts about Lolly's Citadel, which I purchased today on Ebay. I'm really surprised and thrilled to own it, but it is currently 800 miles away in Chicago. Luckily, I have family there and they have offered to pick it up later this month. Now...about getting it to me in New Jersey. I could look into shipping, but I worry how it will fare, given its awkward size (and the cost). I have a very supportive husband who has agreed that it is, in fact, not insanity to take a road trip with the three kids over spring break to PICK IT UP. It's only about 13 hours, and we can visit with family, hopefully see some sights, and feel confident that it will make it home safely and not be used as a scratching post by my relative's cat nor as a TV perch by a substantial 7 year old nephew.

I have to admit that the pics of the house are a bit daunting. The wallpaper and flooring looks horrible and uncharacteristic of the house style. Luckily, the furnishings are not included (save for some kitchen items)! I spoke with the seller, who got it from an estate, and she let me know that the lady who owned it had it made by Lolly's for $3000 in the 1980s and she thought this was one of the early ones produced out of the supposed few. The daughter of this lady originally wanted the house, but she lives in CA and the shipping was over $1000 so she passed. So, she took some furnishings and a "large hanging sculpture light" (!!) that replaced two of the stairwells. I have emailed Lolly's to see if they know anything more about this particular house, and will share the information.

This is also an open invitation to any readers to submit ideas and resources. I've had a lifelong love of miniatures, but this will be a big adventure!

UPDATE 3/16/09: I heard fom Lolly's, and she said the following: My Mom designed the Citadel and my Dad put them together in the shop. We did sell approx. 200 kits. In kit form it sold for $450.00. I still have the original my parents did in the store. We did more of a modern style inside. I plan to visit the store when we roadtrip-it to Chicago to pick up the Citadel.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Playroom Scale

I received my Jean of West Germany kitchen furniture yesterday, which is 3/4 scale, so I was inspired to set up a playroom in the Villa Sibi. I set the refrigerator on its side for a credenza and then used three Villa Sibi chairs as a storage unit. I realized as I was setting this up that I do not have any children's play items for scenes like this. I stole a few books from my daughter's Calico Critters set, and used an Elf Miniatures cooking pot on the table.

The dog is my only participant in the scene, as you can see. The only figures I have thus far is a set of the K House dolls, which are out of scale. The artwork on the wall is my little pun :)

Other credits: the rug is MiniGraphics and the dog is from a game called Lucky Puppy Math; the blue chair and lamp are Re-ment and the artwork is Bozart.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Jean of West Germany?

It's a whole new exciting world as I educate myself on the range of modern and vintage minis out there. It's been great reading some fantastic blogs, like Mini Modern, Altera's Mini World and The Shopping Sherpa, among others, as they are filled with inspiration and information. The scope of my buying experience has thus far been on Ebay and the web in general; there's really no miniature stores in close proximity. At this stage I've been gravitating to things that look interesting and are (hopefully) the right scale for what I have in mind.

I had not heard of Jean of West Germany when I saw this set on Ebay:

I purchased it for $9.99. It has not arrived yet, but I look forward to pairing it with some of the Miele kitchen minis I purchased from Mini Bijou and Elf Miniatures. Anyone know anything of this maker?

I also bought some vintage Fisher Price minis, but mostly for the table with tulip chairs:

Who knew?? My more recent associations with Fisher Price toys have been pastel, bulky plastic, and noisy.

My husband took our camera on a biz trip this week, so I unfortunately cannot play and post. I hope to get some of my buys in the mail so I can see how they all work out this weekend.