I am a doll maker and owner of the retail website clothdollpatterns.com. I am also an avid collector of dolls, antique dollhouses and miniatures. When I can't find what I want...I make it.
By day I am a long time VFX and Animation Producer, you can find my credits on Films such as Madagasgar and the Tinker Bell Movie. I currently work for a Video Game company. I live in Southern California with my amazing and talented husband, Marv Wolfman,
I am back from the Convention in Phoenix. It was hot but I spent almost the entire time in the hotel and convention area so the heat was not a problem. Here are some pics. I did not take very many because I was too busy having fun! 😃
Our Hotel and me standing at the entrance to the Sales Room
There was a wonderful Simon Halbig Exhibit. There were actually several outstanding exhibits but I got pics of this one.
I will be heading to Phoenix in a few weeks for the United Federation of Doll Clubs' annual convention. I have never been before but many of my friends and fellow doll club members attend every year.
One fun tradition I have been informed of are the table favors for the various meal events. I will be attending a lunch and 2 dinners, which includes the Gala on Saturday evening. So I got to work this past week making my little gifts and thought I would share them here.
When I was in Tokyo a couple of years ago I found the wholesale doll district. I was in heaven! I wandered around looking at shops and dolls and finally stumbled upon a little shop selling supplies. They had lots of different accessories taped to a board propped outside their shop. I went in and said hello and then, not speaking Japanese, pointed to the board. I eventually just picked up the whole board and the proprietor took me around to see bins of things as I would point to each item I wanted on the sign. It was fabulous. The owner was very kind and I came home with LOTs of little things. So the first favor I made was Japanese in theme and it was for the Gala dinner.
Here is the stash:
And below is the card I made for each person with a selection of Geisha hair ornaments. In Japanese they are called "Kanzashi"
I have a Sizzix Die Cutting machine (the Big Shot Plus). I haven't had a lot of opportunity to use it since I got it but this was the perfect opportunity to play with it. I got out a die to make little pillow boxes. I cut scrap booking card stock to make the boxes. They worked out pretty well once I got the hang of it. Then I decorated them with stickers and Washi tape and some wonderful Japanese dolls made of toothpicks and paper that I also purchased when I was in Japan. These toothpicks can actually be used, you just pull the dolls head up and the whole toothpick slips out of the kimono which functions as the holder. Really clever and cute.
For the finishing touch I slipped an extra hair ornament, a silver dangle one, into the belt of the kimono.
The next favor was for the Robert Tonner Dinner. It was a Nancy Ann theme but most of what I had was for larger dolls, so assuming that Tonner fans would also have larger dolls I went with that plan. I ordered a box of Japanese capsule toys. In this case they were all variations on make up or dresser accessories. Below is the one for some doll eye make up. (Think Re-ment style).
I thought the capsules were too bulky to travel with so I placed each toy in a bag.
For the Indonesian Fantasy Luncheon I made little pillow boxes with a kokeshi doll eraser in each one.
And finally I made up some extra gifts for a few friends. These were little wood paper dolls I found from a dealer on Etsy. Each gift had one doll on the box as a decoration and two more dolls inside.
I think they came out great...though I did have quite the mess on my work table!
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 anything...at 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 much...one 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)
Continuing my fascination with the antique and vintage shops...here 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.
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...