Saturday, December 14, 2013

Here is my F.A.O. Schwarz Mystery doll house - Antique Dollhouse

My F.A.O. Schwartz Mystery house
My cast is off and I am have finally able to take pictures of my FAO Mystery house to share with you.

I have  puttered with the furnishings and accessories for several months and feel that it looks pretty good now. That  doesn't mean that I won't continue puttering in the future, so things may change.
Here is the kitchen with its original wallpaper . Fido is always begging the cook for treats. Most of the furniture in here is Schneegas golden oak. The sink is a bit too late for the house, but it's all I had. Maybe I will find an older sink at some point

The bathroom has a lovely floor and early bathroom furniture made of wood. The faucets on the sink and bathtub are metal with wire pipes.
I have tried to furnish it with contemporary items, but I have to admit there are a few anachronisms.

There are several old dollhouses made in the 1890s, that were sold at FAO Schwarz. No one has ever discovered who made these houses, or whether it was one craftsman or a factory. Because of this, The esteemed dollhouse historian Flora Jacobs coined the term "Mystery House." The houses came in many sizes with various architectural configurations. They all share two distinctive features - tramp art trim on the exterior, and painted parquet floors.
The right wing

The dining room table and the servers on the right and left walls are golden oak from Schneegas, as is the marble-topped table. The six chairs, the settee and the server on the back wall are from the same era, but I don't know what company made them.

I love the maid's apron and cap. She is one of my favourite dollhouse dolls. Her skirt length is wrong for this period. She would probably be more at home in a 1920's doll house, but I couldn't resist putting her in this one.

1900's dinner set on its original card. Their original box was crushed beyond compare, but I didn't want to take the dishes off the card, so I just put the card and all on the dining room table. Most people don't even notice.
The dining room

The master bedroom is also furnished with Schneegas golden oak. Most of the rugs in the house are tobacco felts

Golden oak Schneegas furniture. The two smaller paintings are real etchings and match the ones in the dining room. The painting on the back wall is an original. Most of the art in the house is not period, but I love putting original art in my houses.

All of the doors have this padded wallpaper and lace curtains

The chauffeur is waiting in the he entrance hall to take the family wherever they want to go. His coat has a big white mark. I think someone pulled off a glued on belt or other accessory. Mugsie the dog is ready to go anytime the family is.

I love this hall stand. It is one of my favourite Schneegas pieces ever.

The housekeeper is in the upstairs centre hall making sure all is in place for the family. The two framed cameos on the back wall were brought back from England by my sister especially for this house. I think they look great, although I now see I didn't get them even when I hung them.

The centre right section of the house. The smallest examples of these houses have four rooms. Mine is one of the largest I have found in my research of these wonderful toys. It has five sections, each with an upper and lower floor, giving me with ten rooms in the main section of the house and two attic rooms.
The girls bedroom. They are having a tea party. The cat is much more interested in the bird in the cage.

In the formal parlour Mother, Father and Grandmama are enjoying a nice cup of tea. Although Father's relaxed position makes me wonder if there was more than tea in his cup.

The left section of the main house

The boys bedroom. Some of my red shcneegas is a bit rough, but so is little Gabe, so I guess they work well together.

The left wing

The family parlour has the piano, the fish tank, the domino set and a broken fainting couch. Again the furniture is Schneegas golden oak. The pincushion doll in there is quite old. Her head and hands are wax and her wig is mohair. She is not telling her true age and I have not found anything like her online, so I don't know exactly how old she is. If you know, please let me know.

The left attic

The right attic

Each section of the house has its own door.
My house is painted a soft yellow with fancy dark green window surrounds and the defining green chamfered trim. The wallpapers seem to be original, and it has many of the parquet floors, although not in all rooms. I don't know whether the house has been tampered with or whether it is all original. Either way, I love it!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Vintage Christmas ornaments

Many of the decorations on our Christmas tree have been in the family since I was a child. A few, like the glass chimney sweep in this picture, are from before I was born.

I have always loved the little elf band and the angel choir with their pipe cleaner legs and arms.

These lovely ornaments are now part of my children's Christmas tradition too.

Each year as we unpack the old beat-up cardboard box where these treasures are stored, we treat each item with reverence and we reminisce over eggnog of Christmases past, and the people, now gone, that we have shared them with.

Fewer of the delicate glass balls go back into the box at the end of the season. It is so easy to put a finger through these fragile ornaments, or have them slip out of your hands in an inattentive moment.

Still, it is always a delight to open the old box and see these lovely adornments cheerfully waiting to go on our tree. They are like old friends.

I am happy to think of passing these treasures down to my own children, now grown and on their own. I hope that they will someday have the pleasure of unpacking them with their own children and sharing the excitement and anticipation of the season.

My son and daughter can tell their little ones of the holidays spent with their grandparents and great-grandparents and in the telling feel the real meaning of Christmas.

Happy Holidays to all of you!



Sunday, November 3, 2013

Miniature Museum pieces from Sweden - Dollhouse chairs and more

This photo is from the Kotte Toys website

While visiting museums in
Scandinavia last summer I discovered the most charming miniature chair kits.

These kits are made by a company in Sweden - Kotte Toys - and are replicas in 1/12th scale of pieces that are in the museum where I bought them.

If you visit this page on their website the list of chair kits is down the left hand side. In most cases the links under the pictures go to illustrations of the built kit and sometimes a picture of the actual museum chair.

For example here are pictures of the chairs built from the first kits pictured here (note: the pics are from the website. I haven't built mine yet - my arm is still in a cast) ...

Although I purchased only the kits for antique items the website shows a lot of kits for "Danish Modern" type furniture as well.

I was so excited to have found these wonderful souvenirs of my trip to Norway, Denmark and Sweden. I was doubly excited when I realized I was buying actual reproductions of the museum pieces I was looking at.

I am looking forward to building my wonderful kits and painting them to match the originals. I would love to collect ALL the kits and the website has an order page, but wouldn't it be much more fun to go back to Scandinavia and buy them in person?

If I ever get my arm out of this cast and I get these kits built I will share the results in a future blog, but that won't be for a while.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Antique Dollhouse dolls on a board and a broken wrist

 You may have noticed, dear readers, that I haven't posted much lately.

I have lots to share with you - my own FAO Schwarz mystery house, miniature chair kits from Swedish museums, antique dollhouse furniture, and much more. But, at present I am incapacitated.

I took a header off my bicycle on the way to work a couple of weeks ago and broke my wrist.

Two days ago I had surgery on my wrist. This impedes my ability to take pictures and post blog entries.

But, as I wanted to share these dolls with you,  I took pictures with my iPhone - one-handed - and I am typing slowly with my left hand. Please excuse typos, etc.

This wonderful seven doll family is tied to a wooden board. Here are the grandparents.

All the dolls have cloth bodies and painted black boots. They are all ready to be dressed by the little mistress of their miniature abode.

Grandpa is the tallest of the family at 5.5 inches.
The next two dolls must be father and mother. I like father's jaunty moustache and mother's shiny black hair.
Next are the 3 children. I would guess that the son is the oldest due to his handsome side whiskers.

Although, we could also assume the older couple are the parents and the others are assorted children and servants - or vice versa.

Does anyone know whether these are dolls by Kestner, or what years they would have been sold?

Any comments about these dolls is welcomed. I would love to identify them.

From the top you can see the wooden board that the family is attached to by string. The board is rather crude for such an elegant family.

Here is the back of the board showing the string the dolls are tied on with, and several holes in the board.

I don't know whether the holes were used to fasten the board into a presentation box, or to hang it on a display wall. Let me know if you know anything about them.

I hope you enjoyed seeing this family as much as I enjoyed sharing them.

Slightly broken Susan

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Norsk Folkemuseum in Oslo, Norway

I had a lot of fun travelling around Scandinavia this summer. I found dollhouses and miniatures everywhere I looked. I hope to post about a few of my finds soon, but for now I want to show you the wonderful exhibit of toys and dolls in the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History (Norsk Folkemuseum).

Below is a random sampling of the lovely antique toys. I apologise for the reflection in most of the pictures. The toys were behind glass. Check out Die Puppenstubensammlerin's recent post too. She visited this museum this summer too.

I hope you enjoy the tour!!