Sunday, October 12, 2014

Book - "The Miniaturist"

Well, we survived our wedding this past week, and while on holiday for a few nights up in the San Juan Islands, I ran across "The Miniaturist" in a little bookstore in Friday Harbor. I just finished it this morning. Honestly, I was mainly attracted to the book by the title, but I did get engrossed in it. The dollhouse cabinet does have an interesting role in the story, and the reader never does really learn a lot about who the miniaturist is directly. If you enjoy novels, I think it is worth a read, although the story is less concerned with miniatures than on the characters. For me, that wasn't an issue. If you do want a book about miniatures though, you may end up disappointed.

As for my own dollhouse, well the kit is still in the box. But miniatures are still on my mind!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Haven't opened the box... yet...

Still haven't opened my Craftsman Bungalow kit box as work and life are very busy at the moment. But looking forward to the day that happens. Also, I'm realizing that I need to really clean off my desk so I'll be able to have a space to work! I've still been looking for inspiration in how I want the house to look. The image above is from a house that Pat and Noel Thomas did in 1984 and it is AWESOME.

I'm enjoying thinking of who I am designing the house for, which is (of course) an occupant who has similar tastes to my own. One of the few things I have purchased recently, aside from the kit and miniature magazines, was a doll from a Lithuanian artist on Etsy that will be the occupant. This surprised me a little as I really think I'm more interested in the architecture and interior design of this project than on collecting dolls, but I liked her work and it just felt like the right thing to do. In a sense, I'll have my "client" with me as I complete the project. He'll likely arrive in the mail in the next week or two.

Down the road, I think I'd like to try making a good deal of the furniture for my house rather than filling it with purchases. That may be a bit ambitious, and I've identified some pieces I might want to buy rather than making everything myself, so we'll see how it ends up. I've been looking at the IGMA website and am dreaming of attending their Guild School someday. I could technically register for the 2015 school, but I don't know that I can afford the tuition, travel, and time off to go to Maine next year.

I wish there was more of a presence in the Pacific Northwest here for miniature hobbyists. We have two stores left in the greater Seattle area, and both of them are pretty small. Alki Beach Miniatures is a cool place, but about 350 square feet, so not a ton of stock. And Darleen's Dollhouse Shoppe is also a cute little space, but it is operated out of Darleen's basement and also doesn't have as wide of a selection as I'd like. (Although Darleen herself has been in the business for many years and is a lovely lady to chat with.) There are so many other shops I remember in our area that have gone out of business over the years: Mr. Peepers (University Village), First Ventures (Kent), My Shop (Renton), Sue's Fascination Shop (Edmonds), Dolly's Dollhouse (Phinney Ridge), one in Burien that I don't recall the name of. Probably more than that too!

In any case, I'm hopeful that I'll get the kit opened and started on things before the end of 2014. I think it could be as soon as the end of this month, but I figured I would try to give myself some room rather than set hard deadlines on what should be a fun project.

Friday, September 26, 2014

My Kit Has Arrived!

My Craftsman Bungalow kit from Real Good Toys showed up at work this week! I was super excited, but also am realizing that I need to get a space cleared and set up to work on this before I even think of opening the box up. I don't think I'll really get a good chance to start on construction until perhaps the end of October since my fiancé and I are getting married (!) in less than two weeks. But I think it will be good to really plan out this project as I go.

While I am excited (and a bit daunted) by the house project, I also have been thinking about how I want to furnish the house when it is completed. I don't want to start buying a lot of things ahead of time, but I've definitely been scoping out what is available online and forming ideas. I do want to do some fun Arts & Crafts things on the interior finishing with wood panelling and wallpaper friezes. This has been inspired greatly by the amazing work on the same kit at the blog "Architecture of Tiny Distinction" (AOTD) by a miniaturist in Australia. But I don't want this to be a period home. I'm looking at finishing it as if it is a home that has been purchased and is occupied by a contemporary inhabitant.

Since it is a smaller house, I'm planning on following what AOTD did and not install a staircase that will take up valuable space. The two floors on the bottom of the house will consist of a living room in the larger space, and probably a dining room in the second space. Kitchens can be so complicated! I'll avoid installing one in my first dollhouse. Since I'm leaving out the kitchen, I am also going to forgo a bathroom on the upper floor and just focus on rooms that I will get more pleasure from designing and constructing. The middle space will be a study/studio, with the two smaller spaces as small bedrooms.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Not quite a doll house...

Well, this isn't a doll house, but I did finally finish putting the Lego Simpsons House I got my fiancĂ© for his birthday this year together. He let it sit in the box for a few months, and then we had finally started putting it together this summer. I realized how much fun it was to assemble, and then ended up rediscovering doll house miniatures this month. 

I'm still waiting for my Craftsman Bungalow to arrive in the mail, it should show up by the end of the week. Of course, I feel like it will be a long process to get it built and completely finished to my satisfaction. I'm a little nervous since I haven't done any big projects like this in quite a while. But, I'm also really excited! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Rediscovering Miniatures!

Inspired by a friend's Facebook post last week professing his love for dollhouses, I poked around a little on the internet and discovered that there was a miniature shop in my neighborhood that had opened earlier this spring. Immediately, I knew I was going to check it out on my next day off. So, last Friday, I stopped by. It is a tiny shop (350 square feet) for tiny things! I looked at everything and ended up buying a few magazines.

The rest of that day and the next, I was glued to those magazines and to checking out various miniature/dollhouse websites I found in the magazines. It brought back all of my love for miniatures that had started for me in elementary school. From a young age, I always loved tiny things. In high school, I had even embarked on building a Houseworks Thornhill dollhouse that I never completed. I had a subscription to Nutshell News and used to go to the occasional miniature show as well. But, life progressed, and I ended up selling my unfinished house and miniatures.

What was so great about rediscovering miniatures last week was the immediate feeling it gave me. I was like, "Oh! I forgot all about dollhouses, but this seems like the PERFECT hobby!" After much obsession, I've finally decided what project I want to undertake. I almost chose a 1/24 scale Thornhill since I had loved that one so much before, but instead I decided to stick with 1/12 house to start with. There is a Real Good Toys Classic Bungalow that just shipped out today, and I should get it sometime next week.

I've already been planning so much about what I would like to do with it. I've also run across a couple other bloggers who have posted photos of the same kit they have worked on, which has given me a lot of inspiration. I'll keep track of how the project goes on my blog here, and see where things lead. But I'm super excited! Can't wait to get started on building!