Monday, March 28, 2011

Antique Stable and House circa 1900

I was fortunate to acquire this wonderful toy barn recently. I believe it to be a German toy circa 1900. It is hand painted to resemble stuccoed bricks or stone and wood. the stable is on one side, and the living quarters with hay mow above is on the other.

I saw many farm houses with attached barns while driving through Germany and Austria a few years ago.
This type of farmhouse first emerged in the Middle Ages and was built using timber framing and/or stone. It is an 'all-in-one' house (Einhaus) with living quarters and livestock stalls under one roof. This rural type of farmstead still forms part of the scene in many villages in the central and southern areas of Germany. It is a very clever idea in a cold climate as the warmth from the animals helped to heat the house.

In my German toy barn, there is a small entry door with painted latch and hinges, and a charming shuttered wndow with a bench underneath on the living quarters of the barn.

This swings open in one large door to reveal the interior.
The blue painted peasant furniture came with the house. I believe the paper trim along the floor and and the ceiling is original to the house. It has the decorating look from the right period.

I couldn't say whether the futniture is as old as the barn, but the style and scale are just perfect, so I am guessing they are.

The door into the hay mow doesn't open, but I feel the mow wold make a perfect sleeping loft if it was accessible.

I have yet to acquire animals to live in the stable, but now that I have this wonderful structure I will be on the look out for some.

These farmhouse/barns were not limited to Germany and Austria. When my ancestors emigrated from England to Canada in 1850, their first home on their backwoods farm was a combination barn/house. Unlike this one, my ancestors kept the animals on the ground floor level and lived on the floor above. The heat from the animals rose and helped keep the family warm during their first few Canadian winters. The bedrooms were open sleeping lofts above the living quarters. Again, for warmth from below. I was lucky enough to visit the farm that my ancestors built so long ago. I toured the lovely red brick Ontario farmhouse, built once they could afford it. For over a century there has been a magnificent traditional barn on the property. Both are beautiful, but I must say I was more interested in the the first building - the barn/house - still standing and quaintly decorated as an artist studio. It fired my imagination, and gave me a glimpse into my Great-great-grandmother's first taste of life in this new, uncharted country.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Flagg Dolls in one inch scale

 Anyone who has followed my blog for a while knows that I love the dolls made by the Flagg company in the 50s and 60s.
 Here, in their original box, is a family group of Flagg flexible play dolls from c1960. They represent the perfect post World War two family. Mom, Dad, brother, sister and baby.

These dolls are 1:12 scale. the father is approximately 6 inches tall.
 Her is another set of the 1:12 scale dolls in the original box.

Both families are dressed in their original clothes, made of felt with paper shirts and collars.
 This family, unlike the ones above, have never been taken out of their box. This is useful for the collector, as it tells us what is original, and what is supposed to be included.

This family is either waving to us, or discoing to 'Stayin' Alive'.
I find the variations in the costumes between the two families interesting. The family at the top of the page have more detailed outfits. Mother has fancy lace on her skirt and a jaunty neck scarf. The children's outfits are fabric (except for the boy's shorts), and the father has dark pants with a lighter shade of sports jacket.

I have a feeling that the dolls were made at different times in the life of the company. The quality seems higher with the top family. Even the box is made of sturdier cardboard and the printing is darker and stronger.

Maybe the other set was made later and the company was trying to conserve funds, or, on the other hand, had grown to the point that quantity of production outweighed quality.

 This is printed on the inside of each box. Point 2 is puzzling as the clothes are stapled on. Removing the clothing could be detrimental to the felt. If the staples weren't removed first one could easily tear holes, not to mention puncture little fingers with the sharp metal.

Once removed, the clothes could be put back on the doll, but without the staples to hold them on I doubt if they would stay.

They mention blondes and brunettes, yet three members of the family at the top of the page have red hair.

The last point is very mysterious. I have collected several of these dolls and have never found 'Snap-on" clothes. I am curious to see these.
The dolls are flexible, even after 50 years. They are fun to pose, and look great in dollhouses of the era.

Here are the two boxed families with three other 1:12 families. All are wearing their original outfits except the little boy in dark blue and the mother in the purple dress - her family had all their clothes, but hers were missing. I guess her original owner bought the "easily undressed" blurb.
 This family, except for Mother are dressed exactly like their boxed counterparts.
 Again the outfits are the same as the two families above. Mother has lost her bolero though. This family is made of a different kind of plastic. It seems to have become translucent over the years. Or maybe they looked this way when new. In any case this plastic gives the family an other worldly, zombie-ish, look.

This scale of doll never achieved the popularity of the smaller 1:18 scale that Flagg was famous for. These larger dolls were discontinued after a few years, but I find these dolls much more attractive than the smaller ones

This pretty Nurse is the only 1:12 scale doll I have found in a single box, but she gives me hope that others are out there. I will keep looking.

Flagg made larger dolls, approximately 7" tall, in many different costumes. These 1:12 dolls are not from that series. These dolls were specifically made for doll houses. The 7" ones were not.

She bids you adieu for today. I hope to find some colleagues for her in the future.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

The third floor of Tynietoy Villa

The top floor of Tynietoy Villa is for the children. Ganny is spending some time with Bobby and Susie.
 The nurse is in busy with baby Timmy.
 Susie wants Granny to help her cut out her paper dolls, but Granny can't find the scissors.
 Bobby is waiting for Granny to be busy with Susie so he can sail his boat in the bathtub. He gets to do it only if Nurse and Granny forget to watch him.

Granny has forgotten what she was looking for.

And such is life on the third floor of Tynietoy villa.

The dolls are Caco with metal feet and composition heads - although I think Grannys head might be plastic.

There is no Tynietoy furniture up here, but there could be in the future if I find any nursery things.

The large cupboard behind Granny is a Lynnfield hutch. The pink nursery furniture is Strombecker, as is the yellow ducky rocker. The baby's crib, dresser and chair are from sometime around the 1940s and I don't know who made it, but I love it.

The rugs are handmade, and the toys and accessories are found items.

Tynietoy Villa renewed

 I have spent the last few weekends redecorating my Tynietoy house. I added baseboards, crown moldings, and the bedroom doors. I re-papered the living room and upper hall, and I stained the floors and painted the stairs. It still needs a little work, but it is a much better home for my Tynietoy collection now.

See the before pictures here

In the front hall Mr. Greybeard has just brought Abby in from her walk.

All furniture in the house is Tynietoy. Except for Xanthe and Mr. Greybeard, all dolls are Caco with metal feet and composition heads. The dated from the 1940s to the 1970s.

Accessories vary from soft metal German Gerlach, which was made in the early 20th century to go with Tynietoy, to a range of found items from 1900 to present.
In the living room Xanthe is serving tea to a charming young Caco couple. Abby rushes in hoping for a treat.
The maid is in the dining room. One would think they could afford to buy her a new apron. She has been wearing this one for several decades.
 I re-papered the upper hall. I like it much better now.  The front area makes a great space for games or cards.

The yellow bedroom is a bit crowded. I may redecorate, but for now we have a vintage Caco doll checking to see if the beds have been made.
The master bedroom is a vision in red, white and gold. Mrs. Caco, sister to the lady in the parlor, has discovered the cat and her kittens under the bed.
I love this white dresser.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dutch Dolls

Technically these aren't dollhouse dolls unless you have a really big dollhouse, but I wanted to share them anyway. A friend of mine is traveling to the Netherlands on Sunday. He was born there, but has lived in Canada most of his life. He is excited about going back and I am excited for him, as he shares his memories of being a young child in Holland, and speculates what it is like in the 21st century.

So that got me thinking about how I viewed Holland when I was a child growing up here in Canada. These dolls, as stereotypical and possibly insulting to Nederlanders as they may be, sum up my early visions of the Netherlands.

In school we learned about the low counties of the North Atlantic. Windmills, wooden shoes, tulips, Holsteins, cheese, and dykes.  Blue and white dishes, lace caps, aprons, spic and span, and dutch clean. Skating along canals, dutch caps, green fields, reclaimed from the sea. Everything about Holland was bright and wholesome and pretty. Just like these dolls.

So, was it any surprise that when I got to Europe a few years ago I just had to go to the Netherlands? It is as lovely as I expected, though it is firmly in the 21st Century now, and they certainly don't dress like these sweet dolls anymore (although we did see one man in wooden shoes in a country village).

This boy and girl are approximately 15 inches tall, and completely made of felt. I love their painted faces and their colourful costumes. I think they might be from the 1960s or possibly earlier

They have some condition issues, but that is to be expected due to their age. It looks like moths have attached the boy's pants and the back of the girl's left arm. The girl has a rip in her underarm where her stuffing is trying to escape. But these flaws don't detract from the charm of this sweet couple. Her apron is decorated with tulips and he carries a wonderful little felt basket. Perhaps they are going to market, or strolling along the canal, or out gathering tulips. They are just too much fun.

I have listed them on eBay because I have no room for them now. If you would like to have them live at your house have a look.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Inventory of a dollhouse

I decided to document the contents of this 1948 Keystone dollhouse. I bought it, fully furnished, at an auction last year.

I wanted to make sure that, even if I 'borrowed' the furniture for another house, I would always know what belonged to this house.

Here is my photo inventory.

 The living room furniture by Lynnfield - circa 1948.
The dining room furniture - Lynnfield, circa 1948

 The nursery wooden furniture was sold in the Chestnut Hill catalog in 1951. The change table is Renwal, from the same era, and is plastic.

The pink coverlet with blue ribbons.

The wonderful kitchen furniture. from the same place as the nursery furniture.

The inside of the fridge.
A 1940ish Strombecker bathroom with a pink plastic Renwal washing machine.

This is a 3/4" scale. The furniture above is a small 1" scale.
Strombecker bedroom suite from the same period and in the same scale as the bathroom.

Betty and Mickey, a sweet pair of Tiny Town dolls, came with the house, as did their little black dog and his bed. The Christmas tree was also included.

And last, but not least, all these gorgeous accessories came with the house.

I love the little glass dishes. They say "Corning Center Glass" on them.

So there you have the inventory. And now I will always know what belongs in this house no matter what I move around.

Bye for now.


Tynietoy Villa - Painted

In my recent post about Tynietoy Villa I talked about my plans for making this dollhouse over into a suitable home for my Tynietoy furniture. I knew I wanted to paint the house white and I thought I would make the shutters green.
This past weekend I painted the outside of the house and was quite pleased with the white exterior. I never liked the plain wood effect (see the picture below).

When I finished the exterior and finally located the shutters - I had removed them two years ago and wasn't quite sure where I had put them - I started looking for accent paint. I found that I had this interesting shade of red.

Why not, I thought. This isn't a real Tynietoy house. I don't need to pretend it is by making the trim green. Besides, the red has so much more omph. I am going to put red trim on the eaves and stain the roof a darker colour - plus I think it needs flower boxes under the windows, so there is more to do including the interior walls and floors.

But here it is so far.  Much better than before, don't you think?