Friday, November 30, 2012

The Victorian kitchen diorama....

Well, I worked on the walls for the Victorian farm kitchen I am currently working on...this is essentially to do prop placement on figuring out how much room I need for my Victorian family (the characters will soon make themselves apparent as they appear, ) One of the reasons I got started on this today was because of the stove- it is a large piece and needs a proper display. And also, because I was expecting this little beauty to arrive today, which it did!

The Ertl Maytag wringer washer!

Isn't it wonderful? The wheels that connect to the 'motor' really work. My husband fell in love with it- years ago he had bought one at a flea market and used it to wash his really heavily stained workclothes, he showed me how it worked.

I started on the farm kitchen diorama set up in my den because I have a couple of other victorian era items coming- and the stove needed a proper farm kitchen backdrop. I have a table that will get a red gingham tablecloth, as soon as Anja gets a proper apron and calico workdress, that ensemble she is wearing is a little too elegant to be washing clothes and baking bread.Here are some more shots of the kitchen so far-

the window is a traditional playscale houseworks window, stained and painted. the Farm picture is cut from a calendar.
The walls are of foamcore, covered in wood grained shelf paper.

And here is a view of the whole kitchen, with the stove turned against the rear wall.Forgive the wrinkles in the back wall of the shelf paper, this stuff is very hard to spread cleanly without a mistake.
I think it is coming along quickly. I am configuring my farm family that will be with these items, and still working on the storyline of the Victorians, who are the ancestors or 'founders' of Barbietown. So it will be neat to time jump between the two.
Enjoy the pictures!~Lisa

Thursday, November 29, 2012

1:6 scale Victorian collector links- some featured collectors

Some of the many frustrations I know doll collectors face when working with 1:6 scale is the 'challenge' of finding an item for their diorama that makes everything perfect. When I refer to the perfect factor, many times those items do not exist or come about unless we see thru a different eye, of a miniaturist, and many times, a fabricator of parts-- because sometimes those items do not exist as doll items or accessories, but something else. An example of this is my Crescent Victorian cookstove that is precise 1:6 scale. Was it made for dolls? No, it was a salesman sample. The way I found my stove was two of the featured collectors here also had these stoves in their dioramas used very differently, but both dioramas were dramatic in the effect with this scale miniature salesman sample.

As I stated in a previous blog post, I had created a new link box at the top with 1:6 scale Victorian dollhouse /diorama links.  When I began my collecting for this quest- I thought, hey why don't I google search images of Barbie Victorian dollhouses? well, I did and came up with only a few examples. The fact is, many collectors of dolls collect in the here and now- and very few find this historical area in this scale fascinating- I would say it is far more appealing to the 1:12 miniature dollhouse enthusiasts- well, because so much is easy to acquire to complete your scene.My self, there are only so many stark and modern rooms I wish to create for dolls, and I do not create what to me looks uncomfortable- the harsh elegant contemporary look doesn't look very appealing to me except from an artistic example.

Note: I will not be posting photos of the collector's pictures, simply because I am uncomfortable copying others' photos but will give you links- I encourage you to look at these marvelous photos, and some of which, are great resources for 'finds'!

The first link at the top is a friend on Facebook, Anne Cunningham who is in the Facebook group
Fashion Doll Dioramas  , posted some amazing pictures of her dolls in Victorian styled clothing and rooms. Anne buys the clothing and Victorian furniture from several sources, one of them is The Victorian woodshop which creates wood doll furniture in Victorian style, quite lovely. I will not be posting the collector's photos here but giving you their links- one of the things that is so intriguing of each of the collections is the collector's 'storyline' which for me, makes it even more 'real' as I do this on Anne's Victorian dollhouse to go to her main photobucket pictures. Anne has written many storylines for the dolls, and made and bought some of the furnishings.

Before I go further, I would say most of the images I came up with in a google search were posted on Flicker- and Flicker is one of the best image spots. Though I now use both Flicker and Photobucket, I do so for different reasons- Flicker because of its group and sharing capabilities, photobucket because I store the images there too. I find Flicker more friendlier, and more handy when doing a search.

Hence, here is how I came to my other links. Julie's doll room inventory- antique mall is where I found the closeup pics of the stove- a salesman sample as well as a wringer washer, both finds on Ebay. I already had a link to Julies doll room in the regular link box- but thought her antique mall shop was fantastic- because she took stand alone photos of her items, most of which would work wonderful in a Victorian scene/dollhouse- her use of them in an antique shop was not only appealing, but very informative. It all comes about how we as collectors 'see' an item- and use it. I name her as a resource here because she did two albums on her antique shop, which can help when shopping for those items. I found the same similar items on Ebay.

The next collector- well, WOW is all I can say. Amy Jones' Little Leon is truly amazing and eye candy for the collector who not only loves 1:6 scale, but Horses, western towns and Johnny West figures. Remember them? I do- the kid next door had a TON of them and GI Joe. My Barbies were so envious. Amy customizes, builds, and creates many of the buildings, sets and clothing for her Western town. No surprise, as her website is AJClothiers which is handmade clothing for 1:6 scale action figures.
Amy explained about Little Leon, which was built to be used outdoors. In the high winds of Kansas, where she lives, the town is quite literally on two heavy duty platforms screwed down on heavy rubber mats, which are screwed securely on the sawhorse trestles, which are then braced onto her deck- because of the heavy winds. Amy's pictures are so picturesque and real, taken outdoors, that you sometimes think you have stepped back into time. The most wonderful thing about the time is the humor applied to some of the pictures, which I find myself doing with my own pictures. The realism and work involved as Joe Roofs the post office  or Interior of the General store breathe an uncanny life into a tiny town with some punch. Or Laura trying out the new Cream seperator which I have looked high and low for- lol....The album I have given the link to is only Little Leon, but Amy has tons of albums that are just eye candy when you are feeling in the mood to get away to the wild west with a 1:6 scale feel. Her town is a wonderful inspiration and I encourage you to visit her Photostream .

The next collector up is Sydnee Bee  Her Flicker photos cover many different types of dioramas and dollhouses too, all with the chic perspective in 1:6 scale. Her main album that caught my eye was her
Artemisia album which was done with a Victorian Steampunk genre. Like most collectors, I think Steampunk is 'cool' but Sydney gave some very astute historical info in her explanations on the pictures that caught my attention. Her Steam car was a fantastic project, made from a Barbie carriage! Sydney has been creating Victorian clothing for this project by copying Godey's patterns, much more ambitious than my resizing Gildebrief patterns! I have loved how the industrialization and Victorian genre go together, and recommend you browse Sydney's albums.

The next collector who has a brief Flicker album called
 the Ultimate Barbie dreamhouse-1868 mansion  the photos are not many, but I originally found one of her photos in my google search on About. com It is decorated in Victorian 1860's elegance, and though there are not many photos in this album, she gives some very accurate historical info on decorating in the Victorian era with items she made, such as Glass ball dome and the parlor cabinet with the Tiny photos  displayed with pictures from her own family, resized in small silver and gold frames.

I will be adding more resource links as I find them, including commercial ones as well. I like to think of helping other collectors who are passionate about the Victorian and other eras, so please feel free to  Contact me  with any links to 1:6 scale Victorian websites or artists. Please do not send me links of your doll pages or ebay auctions clearing out your doll and prop collection, I will not put these up. I am also looking for links to collectors who have created dollhouses and dioramas in 1:6 scale Victorian era, as I would like to create this resource area.

That said, I will leave you with a picture of  Mrs. Albee and Anja, having tea.....


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Victorian cookstove arrival....

Yippee! Christmas came early with the arrival of another Ebay find, a salesman sample Crescent is usually hard to find these with their cast iron pots and pans and accessories at such a reasonable price! It is made of real cast iron and weighs a ton...the measurements on these items vary- so be sure to check on the measurements, as I believe these were made in a variety of sizes. Mine is 9 1/2 inches tall by 10 inches wide, with the stovepipe and back rack attached, as well as the scroll work shelf hitched onto the right. The door opens and closes and the stove lids also come off! Anja was thrilled that her stove came just in time to prepare the comfits and scones for tea.
You may have noticed a few additions to the side- specifically at the top to the left is a link box with 1:6 scale Victorian dollhouse links. Most of these are of unusual and unique collections of collectors who make the Victorian era or genre their particular project focus or is in some cases, their main focus on their collections. I intend to do a blog post featuring these collectors, so if anyone knows of any doll collector out there who loves the Victorian era, Steampunk using the Victorian theme, in 1:6 scale, I would be happy to place the link here.
I am really happy with this stove, and am already planning to start some aprons and appropriate dresses for the dolls so they can cook and clean/wash clothes- yes I have a wringer washer coming too! Anja may not be too happy in the kitchen, but we will see!~Lisa

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

40% off sale in our Ebay store- ends tomorrow!

I didn't know if any of you follow my King William Miniatures Blog where I usually advertise my sale items and auction items on our King William Miniatures website & our Ebay store, Pumpkin Hill Studios on eBay  .  The sale ends tomorrow, on Wednesday, November 28th.

Currently I am having a 40% off items- this includes 1:12, 1:24 scales as well as our large scales of Bespaq doll furniture- 1:6, 1:4 and 1:3 scales. I am also lowering the prices on alot of other items, such as dollhouse furnitures as well as miniature building supplies! These are pretty low prices, and our supply of these scales are dwindling shop now!
Click here for our Auctions

Thank you for shopping our sites!

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Best Christmas Pageant...ever!

Now that Thanksgiving is out of the way- and some of Barbietown's decorating and building projects are done, Mrs. Greene, Bob Greene's mother, can concentrate on the participants of the Christmas pageant for the church. Mrs. Greene is the church's coordinator, and this year she is at her wit's end- she has enough shepherds, the main cast- Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus(Bob's youngest son, Steven), as well as one of the Wise Men, Joe from the local Hardware store. But she needs two more Wise Men. Angelica, Becky's cousin, has volunteered to be the Angel of the Lord. Whew! Meet Mrs. Greene...

Besides coordinating the members for the cast of the Christmas pageant, Mrs. Greene also coordinates the costumes, scenery, and helpers who make all of this happen. The old disused Abbey chapel on the church grounds has been cleaned up and Buck and Bob (Bob is playing Joseph) have repaired the door, cleaned up the grounds, and made a nice, open scenery. The trees also have been strung with lights. Mrs. Greene wanted a candlelight service while the pageant was in progress, but the committee nixed that idea since young children would be attending. According to Mrs. Greene, despite all of the upheavals, she speaks like a true Chairperson- 'This will be the BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER!'(Anyone remember that book?)

So let's peek in and see how Mrs. Greene is managing. A bunch of things went wrong today....
First, Joe cannot find his headgear, or crown, or he never had any....

'What do you mean you can't find that crown thing Joe? Wasn't it in with your costume?? I did the inventory myself!' Mrs. Greene is astonished.
" I know Mrs. Greene, but it wasn't in that large bag- could it still be in the church storage closet??"
"I'll get Becky to take a look Joe, she may have overlooked it." (Becky is Mrs. Greene's daughter in law, and helps at the church.)
After making a note to look in the church storage closet, she was informed one key tree near the manger needed new lights because there was a short in the old lights from last year.

'Buck, I thought you had tested those lights," Mrs. Greene began...
"Well, I did. But after we put them on the tree they just went ker-plooey.' Buck said, struggling with the tree. (Buck should really put on a t-shirt before doing work like this.)
'Ker-plooey??' Mrs. Greene shook her head.'Is that a technical term? Are the lights working or not?? '
Buck laughed. Not technicial, but they're done...we'll need another string.'
The newcomer to the church, Darren Smith, introduced himself. 'hello Mrs. Greene, Buck said ya'll needed some help. If there is anything I can do, please let me know. Buck and I can pick up the lights and put them on tomorrow when there isn't much traffic around.'
'Thank you so much Darren, it is so nice to meet you. Forgive me and the cast about here, it is a little crazy just before the pageant.' Mrs. Greene says. Darren smiles and helps Buck get the lights off of the tree. After this, Mrs. Greene's attention is called to one of the shepherds, Ryan, who is complaining about having to hold the sheep during rehearsal....
Mrs. Greene is prepared for this one.'Ok Ryan, what is the matter. That sheep is just a lamb, so he shouldn't be that much trouble. '
'I know Mrs. Greene, but dang! do I have to hold him all during rehearsal??I have a date after rehearsal tonight, and I smell funny. My Costume smells like sheep, I smell like a barnyard. '
Mrs. Greene's cold look silences him.....and he is aware he has been given 'the look'...Mrs. Greene never says anything disagreeable, when she is displeased, but gives a very, long, hard look.
Briskly she says...'Well Ryan, no, you do not have to hold the sheep during the entire rehearsal. You will have to wash or dry clean your costume- as that is your responsibility. I will see about contacting the farmer who was kind enough to lend us some of his lambs and see if he can provide a lead or harness. It may not be necessary to have the lambs here at rehearsal, so you have a valid point. BUT" , and here Mrs. Greene pauses, " you should think of this young man, our Lord was a shepherd , was He not?'
Ryan is contrite,'Mrs. Greene, I'm sorry, but the animal gets squirrely'....Mrs. Greene smiled and moves on to the next problem........
Next, she moves onto the main cast who are practicing their entrance and poses for the main scene..
"Kat, you look very well. I see my grandson isn't being a problem like this afternoon. Bob your costume looks better and drapes better and looks perfect with Kat's mantle. I think you have this part down pat, maybe you can get out of costume now and help with the setting up of the lights?" Mrs. Greene sighs with relief that something went correct this afternoon....

Mrs. Greene turns absently and talking to herself...'Now WHAT we are going to do for the other 2 Wise Men? I need all three together in one scene!!!' Her attention is drawn in another direction, as Darren Smith, who has been helping Buck, calls her name.

'Yes Darren, what is it?' Mrs. Greene asks.
'Well Mrs. Greene, I couldn't help overhearing how you needed some more members to help with the pageant. Would you like me to help? I could be one of the Wise Men for you.'
Mrs. Greene is so relieved. She has someone else on the backburner she has approached, but had not told anyone. Darren has out of the blue volunteered! This really makes her day, she gets quite emotional after all of the things that have gone wrong.

Darren laughs at Mrs. Greene's relieved over-reaction!'Hey, now don't faint! I will still help with the scenery setups!' Darren jokes, and Mrs. Greene laughs too.
'Thank you so much! You don't know how much you've helped out! '

Mrs. Greene heaves a sigh of relief. 'You don't know what a blessing you are! I was worrying about the last two cast members we needed, thank you so much Darren!'
Darren grins. 'Not a problem Mrs. G. Do you mind if I call you Mrs. G? Mrs. Greene is so formal.'
Mrs. Greene laughs' No not at all! I will get right on getting your costume to you as soon as possible, and if it needs any adjustment, let me or Becky, Bob's wife know. And you should bring your family to the pageant!'
'Thank you Mrs. G. My son, Julian is new here, and I would like for him to meet some kids his own age. His mother is in the middle of transferring down here to Barbietown, but I have moved here so he could start school on time, and got us settled until she leaves her position.'
Mrs. Greene smiles,'That is wonderful. I have a bunch of grandchildren he can start with- Todd, is in the pageant as a shepherd boy, and his sister will be attending. Thank you again Darren.'

So that ends our little story right now on the Christmas pageant of Barbietown. As you can see, like any play or Christmas pageant, many things in the course of its production have gone wrong, but Mrs. Greene, our coordinator, has muddled through and made a go of it. I don't know what I would do without her!
Now onto our new resident, Darren. Darren is a S.I.S. doll, I found for $9.99 today at Tuesday morning. I love him! His whole body is jointed! Why they cannot do this with the Fashionistas is beyond me, as Ryan over there has knees that will not bend. I am trying to decide on what S.I.S. doll should be his new wife. Julian I couldn't find and I wanted him in this story, but not in time for the pics.

Another thing I like about him is he stands without a stand so well! He is going to be quite a catch for the ladies of Barbietown. His outfit and shoes are nicely made and detailed too. Now that the first wave of these dolls are moving on, I am glad to find them at places like Big Lots and Tuesday Morning.
Onto the decorations of Barbietown...the Boutique window is also silver and gold!

The window is not as nice as I would have liked...I will probably re-do the background on it. The background is foamcore covered in silver wrapping paper. THe tables are from the nightclub diorama with my friends- two mirrors glued onto two 5 inch high glass tealight holders from the Dollar tree. The gold reindeer are ornaments for a $1 from Roses, and the nutcracker on top was from Michael's, I think. The wreath is from a package of wreaths I picked up somewhere. The bottom of the window is covered with white taffeta material and the star is made of plexi and from the Christmas Mouse in Williamsburg. The silver balls in front of the mannequin are actually a bunch of silver 'grapes' or resemble a grape bunch that you put on the Christmas tree- I bought these in a bag of stray ornaments at ayard sale for $1. I have a bunch more ideas for decorating the Latte shop next door, so onto that.
Please enjoy the little story and pictures!~Lisa

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

                                                              Happy Thanksgiving!

From the pic taken with my phone, the meal is overwith, and afterdinner coffee is being served, the plates have been cleaned up, and we are finishing 'digesting' before beginning to dig into the pumpkin pie....The day was a good one, with loads of goodies to eat and make, and most of all, time to reflect on the holiday, and what it means to each of us.

I had thought of taking elaborate photos of the dolls having Thanksgiving like I did last year, but remembered how chaotic it was- at the time I took those wonderful Thanksgiving photos, I was also taking photos for the Christmas cards I send out every year, and last year, I prepared all of the holiday photos and dioramas near the end of October- which is why I didn't do Halloween last year. Setting up for Thanksgiving and Christmas dioramas nearly killed me....and I didn't want to repeat that chaos again. So I am thankful for one, that I have stuck to a goal and that is to SLOW DOWN! Many times the frustration and worry I go thru during the week is I constantly sometimes feel as if there is no time to think, much less create like I really wish to with the dolls and the dollhouse. This year, I have been stunned at how much due to 'slowing down' my pace, I have created in a short period of time. Though I have not always achieved my project on my time schedule I set, I am beginning to understand and be thankful for what I do accomplish, correctly.

I also found upon reflecting upon the year and the many blessings that I and my husband Chris have received, that I appreciate my collection much more. Going thru the 'stash ' of fabric, craft supplies and diorama items I thought of new ways to use them and it was like Christmas morning, going thru boxes and sorting what to keep, what to use and what needed to move on. Doing this, I have appreciated my collection much much more and do not feel the guilt and pressure when I do make a new purchase now. I used to feel so guilty when buying a doll I wanted...and then equally guilty and paying more for her later at higher prices. lol....

I also reflected that I have enjoyed the holidays and what I refer to as 'doll anticipation' much much more now. Decorating is much more fun at Christmas if we can figure out new ways to stage the dolls with the new trees, old trees, and so forth. For now, some 'random' and 'just because' pics of the dolls and Barbietown, and of course, some of those Christmas ornament finds from the Christmas Mouse store I had mentioned in my post from yesterday.

Anja and Mrs. Albee having tea....more on these two later, as I have a project in the works for them.
Once again, due to browsing on Ebay looking for Victorian furniture & accessories.......more on that to

As for the Nativity project, that is still ongoing and I finally have some poor pics of the Action figure guy EvilKaren from Doll Divas message forum sent me from her doll stash. He makes a perfect Wise man.  I will try and stage him better when I figure out how I want his head gear/turban/ crown to the Nativity will be ongoing this Christmas. Now onto the Christmas ornament finds from the Christmas Mouse. Some of these you may be able to find at Hobby Lobby, like the deer head trophy ornament....

The deer head ornament was perfect scale. This is a poor pic of it over the dolls mantel in Agnes' bedroom, but you get the picture. I am thinking of using this in the salon/parlor or the dining room. Maybe the dining room. I really wish I had enough room in this dollhouse for a nice library, it would be perfect in a library or study.
Next is the dogs....I can't remember where I picked up the dog wearing the santa cap, probably Hobby Lobby, but the scottish terrier came from Christmas Mouse. They had all kinds of dogs and cats too.
Lastly, I purchased this snow covered lamp last year at Christmas Mouse, but have never used it. It stands about 9 or 10 inches high, so I am going to be putting it on a block of wood and raising it- plus probably buying more of these. They have lights inside. They are snow covered, but for the season I think that is ok. I need another one to stand outside the steps of the dollhouse, and two or three more for streetcorners in Barbietown. That racks up, as these were a bit pricey.
That is all for now, but I hope all ofyou have a very wonderful & blessed
Happy Thanksgiving!