Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Avery's Art Journal

Just popping in for a minute to show you the latest two spreads I've done in Avery's art journal.
 Over Thanksgiving break we took the kids on their very first cruise!  They were so excited, and they mostly loved it (poor Riley dealt with a bit of sea-sickness, unfortunately).  But Avery probably loved it most of all.  She still talks about it almost daily!  So I did a spread in her book about it.
The next spread is about being a "bigger, bigger" girl.  Being the youngest of three kids, she constantly hears, "Only the big kids get to do it" or similar.  Her argument is always, "But I'm a bigger, bigger girl!"  She adds extra "bigger"s depending on the situation, hoping to make a better case for herself!  She's 3 1/2 now, and is adamant that she's going to be 5 next (because big brother Noah is 5)- she just can't wait to be a big kid!
Hope everyone's having  a great week!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pretty Vintage Things

 I know I haven't shown any of my vintage finds very recently.  Mostly this is because I haven't HAD many good vintage finds!  The thrift shops in this area are proving to be less and less forthcoming lately, and good estate sales are few and far between.  And since I've been sucked into this dollhouse craze, there's virtually nowhere to hunt for that besides Ebay. 
But anyway, I did find some wonderful things a couple weeks ago. I went to a large antique fair a couple hours away.  I didn't buy much, but here's a look at what I found!
 I couldn't pass up this trio of little google-eyed dolls for $10.  They are really just the cutest things, aren't they?  And the little lamb squeaker came from the same booth.  From another booth I picked up the kitty-cat cross-stitch piece (I think I'll turn it into a pillow for Avery's room) and a handful of vintage feedsack fabric scraps (to make curtains and bedding for the dollhouses).
 And this guy didn't actually come from the antique fair- I was lucky enough to find him at a thrift store for just $2!  Really one of my only good thrifted finds for quite a while!  I still haven't hung him up yet.  My studio has absolutely no available wall space, and Avery's room is not much better!  But I'll squeeze him in somewhere!
 Back to the antique mall, the final piece I brought home was this.  I believe it's probably a bread loaf pan.  And it's perfect for storing art supplies for the kids out in our family room!
And since I was taking photos in the family room, I thought I'd take one to show you how I've re-utilized this vintage doll bed.  I used to store vintage books in there (see here), but now I've changed it into book storage for the kids' reading level books.  I went through every single one of our children's books (and we've got a lot!) and put colored tape on the edges to determine what level they are.  All the books that are currently on the boys' levels are stored here. This way they can easily go choose a book when it's time to do some reading!
Well, that's it for vintage pretties for now.  I've been working on numerous things lately- the boys' Project Life journals, Avery's journal, dollhouse decorating, and also a secret project which I will reveal as soon as I can!

Monday, January 21, 2013

New Doors & Windows...

Many of my dollhouses come to me without doors and windows.  Understandably, they're the easiest things to become loose and get lost over the years.  Luckily, sometimes I can fashion replacements that are almost as good as the originals!
In the case of this Rich Tudor house, I searched online and found a similar house.  I created a door from masonite that closely matches!
Unfortunately, I had a harder time finding hinges like the originals, so these will have to do for now.
I made this door for a Keystone house.  The paint color is off a touch, but I haven't gotten around to repainting it yet. 
Windows are another story.  As you can see in the Keystone house above, some windows are actual metal pieces inserted into a frame.   I haven't found a way of duplicating those yet.  But luckily, many windows are just pieces of acetate glued inside the windowframes.
The above ad is out of Diane Zillner's American Dollhouses and Furniture from the 20th Century.  It is the only place I've been able to find a picture of my Rich Tudor house (and one of the windows is still slightly different than mine). 
I scrutinized the photo and was able to replicate the windows in my house!  I used a white paint pen on acetate and attached them inside the house using tacky wax.  It now looks so much better than it did when I got it!  (look back at the first photo from the post to see it without the windows and door)
I was also able to do the same thing with my "new" Rich house that I got for Christmas.  Again, the above photo was in Diane Zillner's book, so I duplicated the windows in my house.
This time I just used a black Sharpie on acetate.
I find it odd that my house has a brick ledge below the large window, whereas the book shows a yellow ledge.  Mine also has a functioning front door and the other doesn't.  It seems like there were so many variations in these old houses.  Like I mentioned with the Tudor house, one of the windows on my house varies slightly from the house in the advertisement.  It adds a lot of intrigue when you're trying to identify them, as there almost seem to be no two that are exactly alike!!
I'm still working on furnishing all these guys.  But I'm fairly close to finished on a couple of them, so I'll make sure to post tours once I reach that point!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Someone Else is Happy....

I saw this quote a while ago, and have been trying to come up with a way to display it in our home.  I just love it- I need this reminder just as much as the kids do.
While at Hobby Lobby last week, I ran across this gorgeous frame.  I fell in love, and knew it would be perfect for the quote!  I found a fun font online ("orange juice" on and printed it up.
I needed to do a little re-arranging on our art wall anyway, because we just got our family photo printed, so I worked my framed quote into the wall as well!
It fits in perfectly!
Now we have a daily reminder of how fortunate we are, and we hopefully won't take things for granted quite as much anymore!

Monday, January 07, 2013

Little Ballerina Silhouette

Typically, I'm not allowed in to watch during Avery's ballet classes.  They are held inside a preschool classroom, so there is not a lot of room for parents to sit and watch. So, other than the first class, I haven't really seen what she does in there each week.
But before Christmas vacation, there was a "parents invite" class, and I got to go! I still cannot get over how cute it is to watch my little girl in dance class!  Watching my boys play soccer for the first few times was undoubtedly special, but I just don't think anything compares to a little girl in a tutu!

Anyway, I of course took tons more photos. Because of where I was sitting in the room, I ended up with a lot of profile shots. When I got home and began editing, I realized how perfect these side views were for a silhouette! I chose one in which she was standing in first position, or at least a three-year-old's version of first position!  I got to cutting, and here's what I came up with.


I found a plaque at Michael's that was the perfect proportion for my image. I'm not sure how well you can tell, but the background is a dark green. I embellished it a little bit with a white charcoal pencil, and painted the ballerina image with a bright pink.

Avery loves her new "pink ballet picture", and was excited for me to hang it on her wall. As you can see, it fits nicely amongst her other decor!
 Please forgive me if the spacing is wonky on the post- Blogger is having photo uploading issues, which is making it hard to space properly. 

Also, how do you like my new blog header?  Pretty similar to my other one, but I thought I needed an update, because the old one had a photo from when Avery was still a baby!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Meet the Newest Members of My Growing Family

Happy new year! I hope you all had a great holiday season. Ours was lots of fun, but I think we were
all ready for school to start again today, kids included! Well, as I was hoping, I got some extra-special gifts for Christmas this year, and I thought you'd like to see!
 First I will introduce you to the sweet little Keystone house above. Several months ago, I saw this dollhouse on craigslist close to my mother's house (in N. Carolina)  for $40.  I let my mother know about it, and told her it would be a great Christmas present for me (hint, hint!). It has been in the back of my mind since then, and as you can see, she took the hint!
 It is in pretty decent condition. As you can tell, the door is in need of some work and the roof is a little warped, but those are minor details.
I was excited to see that this house has a built in fireplace...
…and kitchen cabinets. It is wired for lighting, and my husband thinks he may be able to make it workable again.  Overall, it's a really cute house, and I'm excited to start decorating!
As if the first house weren't enough, I was also lucky enough to receive this nice one made by Rich.  This one I actually knew about beforehand.  I saw it in an estate sale listing near my mother's house, and I asked her to check it out. It was only $15 (!!), so I told her to snatch it up!  She saved it until Christmas, so I was lucky enough to get them both on the same day!
 It's got a real simple interior, which is in good shape.
My favorite feature is the lift-up roof.  I'm not sure if this was factory, or an adjustment made by the previous owner, but it's very handy to have access from the front.  Since these photos, I've fabricated new acetate windows to fill in the empty holes.  Overall, another really cute house to add to my collection!
 And what a collection it's becoming! I did some rearranging, and was able to fit the two new houses into my shelf space perfectly! 
 Every time I get a new dollhouse, I think there is no room for any more.  But somehow, I always manage to be able to squeeze more in!
 Here's the view with all of the fronts facing out.  So much prettier this way, but hard to decorate!
As you can see, it was a very nice Christmas for me.   Thank goodness my mother is usually willing to corroborate with me to find these dollhouses – my chances are doubled when I have two geographic locations within which to search!
Now it's time to start decorating the insides – eBay, here I come!