Monday, June 25, 2018

FAO Schwarz Mystery House Project

Oh boy...everyone needs a project and one landed in my lap this week!  I get an email once a week of local Estate Sales, and I have to admit, I don't pay very much attention to it.  Every now and then I will open the email and look through the photos hoping to find an antique dollhouse or doll and very rarely do I find all.  I usually just get super depressed wondering what will happen to all my things someday and delete the email.  Well...not this time!

This time as I paged through hundreds of photos (235 to be exact), my eyes caught an old jukebox.  The jukebox was cool, it was round and I had never seen one like it and I actually stopped my scrolling to look at it.  As I moved on to the next photo, that tiny corner of my brain that all us doll and dollhouse collectors possess, cried out.."Wait...go back!"  Well...sure enough...a corner of a doll house was just visible next to the jukebox.

And not just any doll house but what looked like an 1890's FAO Schwarz Mystery House!  I thought this was highly unlikely, you just don't find these kinds of things in the garage of a tract house in Southern California.  But I now searched all remaining photos until I found more pics of it.   Yep...there were painted floors. Yep...there was chamfered "tramp art" trim.  OMG!  It had to be a Mystery House.

Ok, now just be the first person to get there and buy it.  Easier said then done.  I got to the sale early, I waited in the sun (with a hat and water and a tape measure...would this thing fit in my car?).  I was number 20 in line.  The sale team opened the garage door, which would be our entry point once they let us in.  And there it was...the very first thing in the garage...right at the front.  My heart sank.  I would not be anywhere near close enough to get my hands on the tag first.  But I waited with my heart pounding and spent the time getting a good look at the house.

It was in bad shape, as I had seen in the photos.  But the front panels were all there.   They had not been in the photos online so I wasn't sure if they were there.  I had made up my mind I would buy it anyway but I really hoped the panels would be there.  I also hoped the window trim and interior doors would be there too.  The painted floors were in good shape and the structure seemed to be good.

The sale opened a bit early and people went running past the dollhouse to get at the jewelry and collectible pottery and I was at the dollhouse in seconds with the tag in my hand!   I was able to make a deal as there were two dollhouses and I only wanted one.  I quickly paid and then spent the rest of my time searching the garage to try to find the window trim pieces etc.  Along the way I met a kindred spirit who had also seen the house online and knew what it was.   She arrived later than I did but was able to get the other house...a small 1930s Gottschalk with original papers in very good condition. 

No window trim pieces, doors or windows turned up.  I met some of the family members and gave them my number and they said they would ask their mom if she still had the missing trims.

Then I tried to put it in my car.  I had measured and thought I could tilt the house sideways to fit it in my hatchback, but the width of the base was just a little too inch too much.  Sigh.  I stared at the house for a long time.  I could leave it there for a few days and come back with a truck or van, but the sale was over an hour away from my house and the crowd was pretty rough on things.  A couple of people had tripped over the house running into the garage when the sale opened and I felt overly protective of my find.  The roof was already very loose and disintegrating in places and I suspected I would end up removing parts of it anyway during the restoration process.  The garage was filled with tools for $3 each, so I added a few more items to my purchase and sat on the curb with my house and "very" slowly and carefully took the roof off.  It fit in the car with no trouble after that and off I went.

Why do I feel like the adventure is just beginning?  I am excited!!

(Note that the panels are just leaning against the house in this photo and 2 of them are upside down but they wouldn't stay in place for the quick photo right side up)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

East German 1950s Grocery Store

Continuing my fascination with the antique and vintage is a piece from the 1950s.  I believe this was made by Linus Dahnert in East Germany in the mid 1950s.

I have dressed it with items from my own collection, though a lot of the food packages came with the shop.  I bought it from a dealer in Germany and had it shipped here to California a couple of years ago.  I love the design!  The display cabinets are wrapped in plastic sheeting that fits in groves in the top and bottom of the cases.  The shelves in the side units and back are glass.  The working wooden scale came with the shop, though I am not sure if it is original to the piece.  The store is about 35" long x 13" deep x 12" high. (about: 89cm x 33cm x 31cm)  For scale reference, the dolls are 8" tall.

Along the back wall and on top of one side is my collection of the Libby's metal cans.  Originally mail in premiums.   The can in the back is a money bank that is shaped as a mail box.

The red wooden jar holder was a separate purchase but it seemed to fit here.  The seltzer bottles are souvenirs I brought back from a trip to Buenos Aires.  I found some of them at a flea market and the others at a small antique store.  The coca cola tub is a re-purposed Christmas ornament.

The built in holes for the glass jars are my favorite element of this room box.  I have added the little "oven" as a bakery on the back shelf.  Keeping with my love for Japanese Re-ment toys...the little muffin pan and icing bag are Re-ment.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Doll Leaves Doris

Several years ago I bought a large Ball Jointed Doll from the Doll Leaves Company.  It is their Doris model (though I have named her Maggie).  I have a few clothes for her but not very many.
Last Fall I went to a BJD event for Volks and bought her a new Kimono.  The quality is magnificent on this piece...made from antique kimonos.  Here are some shots of her stroll through my garden...

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Celebrating 26 years!

Marv and I were married 26 years ago today.  What a wonderful journey we have had so far!  I love you sweetie!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Vinyl/ABS Plastic Ball Jointed Dolls

I have a number of big resin doll BJDs but I have been working on my display shelves in my doll room (doesn't every house have a doll room?) and they are too short to display the larger dolls so I have been populating the displays with some smaller BJDs and I thought I would share them.  I posted them on the Den of Angels forum for off topic dolls so some of you may have already seen these.

The Cat is "Freya" by Hujoo. in white ABS plastic.  I painted her face using pastels and acrylic paint.  After each layer I did a quick spray of a matte workable fixative (Krylon).

  Her dress is for Blythe, if I remember correctly.

The Kitchen set I have had since I was about 10 years old.  Its made by AMSCO and was designed to be Barbie scale.  I love it.  My dad recently cleaned it up and fixed all the wiring so it lights up again (it uses C batteries).  I have the burner under the coffee pot turned on in the photo and you can kinda see it glowing.

Below is a Jun Planning Ai vinyl doll.   This specific doll/outfit is the Matricaria one. 

She is posed in a vintage German grocery shop that works very well with all my Re-ment foods.  I LOVE Re-ment.  I am totally hooked on them.  I use to buy them at a wonderful store in China Town that sold all Japanese items.  But now that I no longer live near there, I mainly get them on ebay.

Friday, August 11, 2017

New wig for my French Fashion Doll

Recently I got together with some of my doll friends who collect antique French Fashion Dolls.  One of my friends taught us how to make 18th century wigs for the if the dolls were attending a costume party.  I had a wonderful time and have been continuing to work on the wig.  Here are some pics of my first attempt.

My doll is a Bru...early moon face...with wooden arms/hands and leather body from the late 1860s.

The wig is made from Tibetan Lamb.  

(Ignore the mess on my desk!)  I am still having trouble with the wig being a bit too frizzy.

I am also working on a dress for her.  Here she is trying out the fabric, feathers, handmade beaded flowers and a miniature ship that seems to have found a new home!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Porto's Bakery

I love Portos!  I was excited to learn that my favorite Cuban bakery has recently opened a location closer to me.  When I lived in LA and worked in Burbank, I would often have lunch at their Burbank location.  Also a great place to order from for parties!  The location below is their Buena Park location....not super close to me, but far better than driving all the way to LA!  My hubby and I checked it out last Sunday and I snapped some pics: