Monday, August 18, 2014

Playing with the packing box - my new Dollhouse

Sometimes I get the urge to make something - or "Craft" as I call it. I had this urge a few weeks ago and oddly enough an opportunity presented itself out of nowhere. I had just visited the Little Dollhouse Company in Toronto to pick up a couple of sheets of dollhouse wallpaper.

After making my purchases I was walking to the bus when I happened to glance into an alley behind a drug store. There were several 'Point of Purchase' cardboard display shelves set out for recycling, and you know what they looked like to me? Dollhouses!!
The living room
I dithered a bit on what to do with this wealth of raw materials, but the displays were all about 4 feet high, so I finally decided I could take only one of them as I had to go home on city transit.
The dining room

My Mount Vernon prints look great in here

I had almost forgotten I had these wonderful Reutter Porzellan sets. 

I had fun setting up the kitchen with things that had been packed away

I bought the little wine bottles in Paris when  was there with CM

I love the deco look of the living room

I found the orignal painting over the table in Italy and the tea set was a gift
from my friend when we visited the Mount Vernon gift shop in May
I took out all the shelves and folded them flat, then put them in my shopping bag. Then I folded the outside of the display flat and put it under my arm. The inside pieces of the shelves kept flapping around so I tied the thing closed with some string I found in the alley
The flower arrangement is also from Paris.

Here is my finished five room townhouse

The before picture of the cardboard display case

And, the After. I put some marble patterned shelf paper on the outside to cover the advertising

The bedroom at the top of the house
The wallpaper here is a wrapping paper and it didn't glue well. I will probably re-do it.

The maid is preparing the dining room for the next meal.

The ladies bedroom has such lovely furniture - I think it is Hanssan

I love the kitchen
To get home I had to catch the bus to the subway, change to a second subway line, then change again to a bus to get to my house. A daunting task with a four foot by fourteen inch unruly piece of folded cardboard under one arm and a bag full of folded cardboard and dollhouse wallpaper under the other.

Of course the handles on the shopping bag broke as I was exiting the first bus, causing all the other passengers to bottle neck up behind me as I tried to get my cardboard treasure back in order.

I did manage to get everything down the stairs and on to the train, but as the gods would have it the train was crowded and there were no seats.


I set the display wall on the floor and balanced the bag of cardboard, which had become quite heavy, on them as I clung to the pole and tried to keep myself and my treasure out of the way of the other passengers.

I changed subway lines and did the balancing act all over again. The train was even more crowded on this leg of the trip, but I finally managed to get me and my treasures off the subway train, up the stairs and on to the bus for home.

Once home I set up the display again with its shelves back in place and, miraculously, it was none the worse for wear.

Over the next several days I had so much fun putting in wall and floor papers and digging out furniture and accessories I had packed away years ago when the focus of my collection had turned to antique houses.

Pulling out all the lovely new(ish) furniture was like seeing old friends and I remembered the excitement I felt when I first acquired them.


I didn't put a lot of effort into making my new townhouse perfect. The papers don't necessarily line up, and I didn't bother with doors or windows or stairs.

I am very pleased with the final product, though, and I had the urge to run out and drag more cardboard display shelves home.

I restrained myself when I realized that I don't have room for more of these beauties and that I have several dollhouses in the garage that need my attention too.


The rooms measure approximately 14" deep by 14" wide by 8' or 9" high. They are the perfect size my furniture.


With a little more care a beautiful townhouse could be made out of these boxes. The cardboard floors would need some reinforcement as they sag in the middle, and if I was making a permanent house I would line up the wallpaper more carefully and I would put in baseboards and crown moulding, plus maybe some window detail.


But seeing as this was a 'Craft" project and I had such fun doing it. it is just fine for me.


I hope everyone enjoyed the tour. Try making one yourself. It's worth the effort!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Hall's Lifetime Toys Dollhouse - 1970s Colonial Mansion

I recently found a Hall's Colonial dollhouse circa 1970.
I love the front of the house with the impressive pillars,
the deep windows and the wide veranda.
As I don't have any of the Hall's furniture I had fun furnishing it from
my collection of German furniture from the 60s and 70s.
Hall's Lifetime Toys offered this wonderful Colonial dollhouse in the late 60s or early 70s.

Hall's was in business, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, from 1942 to the late 1970's.

They made many kinds of dollhouses and doll furniture for 8-12" dolls, 3/4" scale miniature furniture and 1/12 scale furniture. The furniture was made of wood and sold in upper scale department stores.

Hall's even offered a dollhouse version of Mount Vernon, which I am sure would be much smaller than the Mount Vernon dollhouse shown in my last post.
The appliances from "Little Mother's Kitchen" are not German. They are pink tin and
were made in Japan in the late 1950s or early 1960s. They originally came in a
boxed set which also included a table, 2 chairs and a washing machine.

The dining room set is plastic and was made in Germany.
The living room furniture, excluding the sofa and TV is German
made by Crailsheim circa 1963.
Mr. and Mrs. Hall are going out. Mrs. Hall's brother is going to
babysit Ursula and Gudrun and the sleeping baby upstairs.
The girls are oblivious to everything except the TV.
Mrs. Hall's brother is starting to look oblivious too. 
The blue bathroom fixtures were made by Vero, a German firm, circa 1970.
The cabinet is plastic and goes with the living room chairs. It is by 
Crailsheim.
There wasn't room for it in the living room, so now it holds towels and toiletries.

The bedroom set is also German, possibly Bodo Hennig, and from the 50s or 60s. It is made of wood.

The wicker baby bed has a  Caco baby in it and is from that company.
The house has 4 rooms and an attic. The attic is very low ceilinged, but good for storage.

The TV set is a novelty salt and pepper shaker holder. When one turns
the knob the salt and pepper shakers are pushed up so one can grasp them.
Mr. and Mrs. Hall appear to be re-thinking the wisdom of leaving her brother
With their children and the liqueur bottles on the credenza
- not to mention the tray of cocktails on the coffee table.
Maybe they don't need to go out after all.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Mount Vernon in Miniature - The Dollhouse

The pillared side of the real mansion faces the Potomac River
The un-pillared side faces the bowling green
As a patriotic Canadian I decided to spend Canada Day weekend with friends in the USA.

They live in the Washington DC area so we went to visit George Washington's plantation, Mount Vernon, while I was there.

To my delight there was a 1/12th scale version of the mansion in the Orientation Centre.

The small dining room

Most of the bedrooms were for guests, but this is the Nelly Custis bedchamber for Martha's grandaughter
Each room in the dollhouse is a scale model of the corresponding room in the real house. The bed spreads, upholstery and furniture are miniatures of the real thing.
Of course the full size mansion was gorgeous. We were not allowed to take pictures inside.
West parlour


Blue Bedchamber

Central passage and upper hall



The green chairs represent the chairs on the veranda facing the river.
The room behind is the New Room (Or Large Dining Room)

Little parlour


Lafayette Bedchamber

Downstairs bed chamber






This room is a model of Washington's Library

A model of the bedroom George and Martha shared

I really enjoyed the tour of the estate. It is very interesting to see how they lived in those days.

And, of course, once our tour was over, I scoured the gift shop for miniatures to add to my own mini houses. I was successful as you can see. I bought miniature paintings, and a blue and white porcelain platter.

My friend bought me this lovely pewter tea set as a gift. It is a perfect dollhouse scale. I am still trying to decide which of my dollhouses will be honoured with its presence.

I had a lovely Canada Day weekend visiting the historic sites of our neighbours to the south.

I would highly recommend visiting Mount Vernon to see the wonderful dollhouse as well as the beautiful estate.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Give-away Time! 400 followers means a draw for the prize

June 21, 2014
Susan's Mini Homes has 388 followers. 12 more and I hit the 400 mark, so ... It's time for a GIVE-AWAY!!!

I have this lovely cabinet and the two lamps to mail to someone once I am above 400 followers.

Please share this with your followers and I ask both them and you to let me know in the comments of this post that you want to participate in the draw. I will choose a winner on July 21st. I think this should go for a month so that everyone who wants to will have a chance to participate.
The cabinet is unfinished so that you can paint it or stain it to match your decor. Both lamps have cords but no plugs.

The teddy bear lamp will look adorable in your nursery

The cabinet has plexiglass windows and all the doors work

As you can see by the ruler this piece is an impressive size. Perfect for a 1:12 scale house or shop

The ship lamp will look great in a boy's room or the study.

Both lamps are 1:12 scale

Both lamps have their cords and are ready to light up your dollhouse.
If you have wall outlets you would need to add plugs.