Tuesday, February 22, 2011

On such a winter's day

 Last Friday was a beautiful day up here in the frozen north. A spring wind blew into town and the temperature went up to about 15° C. That's about 60° F for some of you.

It was sunny and windy and springlike, so when I could grab a a bit of time, I unchained myself from my desk and went out to enjoy the weather before the temperature dropped back to freezing (as the weatherman had promised it would later that day).

It was such a beautiful day that I walked much farther than I had planned, and found myself in front of an unfamiliar antique shop.

It was dusty and cluttered. A veritable maze of forgotten and neglected  treasures. I asked the kind proprietor if he had anything pertaining to antique dollhouses.

 "Oh, just a few things over here." he said gesturing toward a locked display case.

It took him a while to find the key, but when he did I chose the items in the first picture to take home with me.

The bathroom set is marked "Made in Germany" as you can see from the pictures.

I am not sure of the age but the faucets on the sink are wood with wire, so I am guessing 1920s or 30s.

 One of the faucets is broken. I don't think I will try to restore the wood part, but I may find a wire to recreate the spout.
I am in love with the brass chandelier. Can anyone give me any clues about its origin or age?

I have put it in my new/old Tynietoy house (my last blog entry) and I love how it looks with that classic furniture.

The coffee post is similar, but not identical to, the Gerlach pots that were sold as Tynietoy accessories,

The two pitchers are metal accessories and may be from the 1950s, or earlier.

I am not sure if the ice tongs are old, but I fell in love with them. They will go below stairs in Tynietoy Manor.

The two pewter plates with spoons are sealed in the little bag. I don't know abut their age or maker, but they will work very well in one of my dollhouses.

I happily paid the shop owner and asked if he might email me if he came across any more items like these.

"I'm sorry," he said. " I don't have email. I told you, I am an antique."

And, now I know where I will be walking to when the weather is nice and sunny.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Tynietoy Villa - a former childhood treasure.

I have had some good luck finding Tynietoy furniture to add to my collection, and it has outgrown the bookcase in my living room - aka Tynietoy Manor and its kitchen.

And so, I had to find new home for my newest acquisitions. Some of you may remember that I put a number of dollhouses in the garage last summer when I had to make room in the guest room for my out-of-town friends.

Yesterday I made the long trek across the yard to see what house would be suitable for this classic furniture.
I bought this large dollhouse a couple of years ago when I was first bitten by the dollhouse bug. At that point I was buying everything I could find. This is a craigslist house.

I have removed the windows and door, because I intend to paint the exterior white. To make it more like the original Tynietoy houses I will probably put up green shutters and paint the roof black.

I bought the house from it's original owner,  a young mother with two active toddlers - both boys. I guess she had decided not to try for a girl.

She told me how, at 12 years old, she had saved $300 for a dollhouse, as she had decided that that was going to be her hobby.

With her savings she went to a dollhouse and miniature show where she found this house. It had been built by an older couple, who left the outside as plain wood, and decorated interior with 1:1 sized flooring and wallpaper. I have pulled up their ugly, out-of-scale, floor tiles. You can see one remaining tile in the yellow bedroom.

I don't think much of the wallpaper either, but it is in scale and looks much better with the furniture in the rooms. I will probably change most of it at some point.

I am leaving the attic wallpaper and floor as is for now. They work well for a small bathroom with a day nursery in the middle and night nursery at the other end.

Here is the front hall. I plan to paint the stairs - possibly the risers will be white and the stairs will stay natural. The banisters may stay natural and the balustrades white. I will do a little more research before I start painting.

Although I don't really mind this blue floral wallpaper, I may change it. Most of the wallpaper in the house is vinyl and just doesn't look right even if it is the right scale.

All the floors on the first two levels of the house need to be re-done.

I have put a Tynietoy bookcase and chair in here for now. The drop leaf table was called Tynietoy when I bought it, but I haven't confirmed that it is. It looks more like a German red stain piece to me.

The parlour room has a pink floral striped wallpaper which I find more suitable for a bedroom. I have put the more formal furniture in here, but I don't think it suits the paper. Perhaps this should be the dining room. I like the wallpaper and don't really want to change it.

The fireplace is unpainted. I made it from a House of Miniatures kit, and it is just a stand-in until I find a Tynietoy one. The piano and bench, lowboy and two painted chairs are Tynietoy.
The attic is one large area with partial walls to indicate rooms. The floor is a vinyl wood grain wallpaper which I am leaving for now. The nursery furniture is not Tynietoy, but it is the right age and look, so it will do for now. Besides, I love it.

The sweet little bunny rug is handmade needlepont that  found on eBay. I have been waiting for a while to find a place for it. I think it works well here.

This ceramic bathroom set is not Tynietoy either. I think it was made by the Wisconsin Toy company. It is a nice larger 1 inch scale suitable for Tynietoy.

Unfortunately the tub and sink are missing their faucets. I will see if I can find replacements.

The little needlepoint rug has a bunny, a flower and a duck, and came with the nursery rug. It was probably made by the same talented needleperson.
The attic landing is home to a black Tynietoy ladderback settee with a matching straight back chair and two matching rockers. This is a temporary home for these pieces, as I want to make this landing the day nursery.
This bedroom contains the Tynietoy Victorian bedroom in black walnut.

I have added a bookcase and a mirror to complete the set.
The yellow bedroom has two empire beds with matching dressers, and a chair.  I hate the floor and wallpaper in this room and plan to change it as soon as I find suitable replacements.
The upper hall has a drop front desk and a ladderback chair.
The dining room has a large sized maple buffet, a highboy and a round tilt top table. The mirror over the buffet is called an overmantle mirror. Another reason to find the fireplace.

There are four Empire chairs with hand painted seats, and a round Sheraton table. All are in a mahogany  finish.

The brass chandelier is a recent  unexpected find.
Here is another view of the parlour.

The 'painting' over the fireplace is cut out of a magazine. The ornate frame is a found item that I though suitable for an elegant room. I may paint the frame. I haven't decided yet.

The orange bowl on the lowboy is an antique dollhouse accessory from the 1920s

When I bought the house, it was full of furniture and accessories that the young woman had collected before she grew up and moved out of her childhood home.

Most of the contents were what was available to collectors in the 1980's. Some of it was nice quality and I have re-purposed it, but most was Shackman or lesser quality, and I have put it away for now.

In my eyes the house is improved greatly the Tynietoy furniture, and provides a suitable home for it.

But, I watched the young woman as she showed me the dollhouse and it's contents, and later packed them for me to take away. This house was a cherished item with well-loved contents, full of memories for her. I am sure it contained many presents from those who loved her, and items purchased with baby-sitting money and funds from part-time jobs. How could she bear to part with it, I wondered.

I looked around her small home, at her two rambunctious toddlers, and at her nerdy, overbearing husband who was directing her in the packing up, and I realized that she had been convinced that she had to sell her childhood treasure. I silently vowed that I would respect this house and dedicate its future to her.

She may not understand or like the changes I am making to her treasure, but I will send it to the future as the cherished object it was in the past. She can rely on that.

I am not sure how long it will take me to make all the changes I envision, but I will keep you posted on the progress.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentine couples

 Yes, I know I am a few days late, but procrastinating is a skill I have spent years perfecting.

I wanted to show you two interesting sets of dollhouse dolls from the late 1930s. Both sets of dolls are made from Rubber over wire and have dried out over the years. They are no as longer fresh skinned and flexible as they were 70 years ago. (Who knew dolls could age just like their owners.)

Here are "Mother" and "Daddy" from "The True Family, Real People Dolls" Introduced in 1938 by Fred K. Braitling, Inc. they are 5.5" and 6" respectively.
 They are wearing their original clothes. As  you can see in the picture, Mother's ankles are broken. I guess she went to yoga class just once too often.  I love her dress.

I found more information about this family in Dollhouse &Miniature Dolls, 1840 to 1990 by Marcie Tubbs, Bob Tubbs, and Dian Zillner.
 The True Family had grandparents, servants, children, a minister, and several other people in their world. There were many different outfits for the Trues, including formal wear, wedding clothes, day wear, business suits and boudoir wear. I believe that all dolls were sold dressed.

These two are the only ones I have found so far. But I am keeping my eyes open.
Here are Mr. & Mrs. Minikins in the larger 1:12 scale. Mr. Minikin is 6" and Mrs. Minikin is 5.5" tall.
The dolls have painted faces and hair and were available with different hair colours.

The family also included an 4" boy and a 4" girl and a 5.5" maid. Both children wore painted Mary Jane shoes.

The clothes are cloth and are machine sewn. Mrs. Minikin is wearing a lovely floor length gown with a shoulder wrap. A dance dress - perfect for Valentine's Day. A previous owner had folded the bottom of her dress up and hemmed it to make it a day dress length. I have let it down to its original length and tried to iron out the crease, but it is still evident. It may have been hemmed that way for close to 70 years.

The dolls were also available in 1:18 scale with Father being 4.5" tall and the daughter, the smallest, 3.125" tall. One of the dolls featured in Marci Tubbs' book is marked "Minikins - trade mark Miniature Manniquins. Handmade by The Small World, Frederick Blvd., Boston MA ©1939 Patent Pending". FAO Schwarz offered both sizes of the five piece families in their catalogues for 1941 and 1942.

I am unsure how to clean these rubber dolls and don't wish to do anything that would make them deteriorate further, so I think I will just leave them as is. I hope to find other dolls to complete the families, but these dolls are particularly hard to find. I think that a lot of them were thrown out once they dried up, or broke. But, hope springs eternal and I am sure there are more of these lovely little people out there. I will keep looking.

I hope you enjoyed the visit with these sweet couples, even if it is a few days after Valentines day.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Wurlitzer - mystery piano

I found some old dollhouse furniture the other day. Although it was several decades old, it was not great quality and just not that exciting.

The glue had dried out on some and they were in pieces, so after cleaning them up I sat down to put them back together.

Luckily, all the pieces to the piano where there and this is how it looks now - rather primitive, don't you think - maybe even home made?  (Sorry about the glue strings - I was letting the glue dry and hadn't cleaned them off yet when I took this picture.)

The surprise - only seen the piano is not glued together - is that it says 'Wurlitzer' on the piece the glue covers.

So, the mystery is why is there a Wurlitzer stamp hidden on the inside, Was it a promotional item? If so, why isn't the mark on the bottom where we can see it?

Is it homemade? If so, why is it stamped. Did the maker have access to wood from the Wurlitzer factory?

Here is the piano with the bench. The keys are almost gone - they are paper, but the piano itself is in great shape and very sturdy. I would place it about 1920's, although I could be way off. What do you think?

Let me know if any of you recognize it or can contribute to its history. I would love to know more.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentines Day!!

Have a wonderful day today!! Smell the roses and eat lots of chocolate - it's your duty.

Who won Bridey, the troublesome bride?

It was ... drum roll ... Maria from Holland!!!

Congratulations Maria!!

I went to http://www.random.org/ and put in the number of people who wanted Bridey and it told me that number 3 (Maria) won.

Maria please leave a comment with your mailing address and I will not post it. I will just take your address out of it.

Have a lovey day!!!