Thursday, 8 March 2018

The Miniaturist - Life In A Doll's House



It all started with a box which arrived with the postman at the beginning of the week. I know that describing somebody as inspirational is a phrase often done to death but, when I discovered Linda's incredible miniatures on her Instagram page (see HERE) I was captivated. Her tiny interiors weren't just good, they were so cool I wanted to shrink myself down and move in. You may remember me mentioning rescuing Mum's childhood doll's house just before Xmas, but other than dusting off the decades of dust, I'd had zero inclination to do anything with it - that was until I'd seen Linda's creations. When she sent me these wonderful pieces she'd made herself, that was it, I was inspired to get cracking and create a miniature interior I'd be happy to live in.


When I first started the task of clearing The Cottage I came across a box of doll's house furniture in my old bedroom but, assuming the doll's house had long gone, I sold it all off as a job lot on Ebay. I could have kicked myself when, five years later, Jon found the house in the attic. Luckily there were still a few bits of the original 1940s English-made wooden Dol-Toi furniture inside - on the tatty side after being loved and played with by both Mum & young Vix. 


 I suppose a vintage purist might have been tempted to leave the pieces original but I wanted a doll's house that reflected my taste so I sanded them down, patched them up and painted them with some bright & cheery Wilko's tester pots of emulsion I already had.

Dressing table & stool are original to the house as was the brass fruit bowl, Linda made the vase of roses. The stool is covered with a piece of card cut from a box of Pukka tea bags. I borrowed the bangles in the bowl from one of my Spanish dolls.

Discovering the world of miniatures is a bit like falling down a rabbit hole. Over the past few days I've entered a previously unknown - and at times, almost surreal - world of blogs, fan pages, forums and a billion Pinterest pages. Scrolling through eBay's Doll's Houses & Miniatures listings is mind-blowing - flat screen TVs, surround sound systems and DAB radios ....who knew such things existed? There's pages and pages of blogs offering free printables of paper ephemera from scaled down vintage wallpaper, books smaller than postage stamps, dressmaking patterns and magazines.


I found the hardwood floor and 1970s wallpaper HERE and the teeny tiny mock leather-bound antique books HERE which I printed and padded out with bits cut from a household sponge. The mahogany bench was another surviving piece of furniture.


The guitar was borrowed from one of my Spanish dolls as was the Fedora hanging from the mirror. I bought the Trimphone back in the 1970s. The original legs had fallen off the bed so I used beads for feet. I bought a kid's pink fake fur hat from a charity shop yesterday for 50p and cut it up to make rugs. I made the bed cover & pillows from some of the scraps of vintage fabric Sarah had sent me with the bag I wore on my blog last week.


I've always wanted an original Woodstock poster. I found this image on the internet and scaled it down to miniature size, gluing it to cocktail sticks and suspending it with thread. The bedside table is made from an old match box with cut down matches for legs and a glass topped dressmaker's pin for a knob.


Like the bedroom the living room also has a hardwood floor - in the same shade of Jacobean Oak as our own house - and another scaled down printable 1970s wallpaper. 


The kidney-shaped settee was another piece from the doll's house but the covering was drab rather than fab so I recovered it with some of the groovy fabric Sarah sent me. The titchy pompom trim was salvaged from a poshly-wrapped birthday present. I crocheted the blanket and made the orange & turquoise felt cushions. 


Tiny cushions are a perfect way of using up scraps of vintage trim and odd buttons.


Can you believe that the light box actually works? The silver Buddha used to be attached to a necklace and I found the Whitbread tankard in the pocket of a vintage jacket we'd bought from a charity shop. The brass candlestick was another treasure from the original doll's house.


How cute is this pineapple table lamp?




Linda's Mid-Century rocket lamp is sheer genius.


The 1960s magazine with Jimi on the front was another free download from one of the miniaturist blogs I've already linked to. 


And can you believe what arrived five minutes ago? Only this incredible gift from my lovely friend, Lynn, who I sometimes think must have a sixth sense. It's probably just as well we're not working this weekend as I'll probably have my head stuck in this book for most of it.


I'll let you into a secret - the rooms might be furnished but the actual doll's house is still a wreck. Prettifying over practicality - that's me all over.

See you soon!

78 comments:

  1. Oh Vix.....that is just awesome. I love it all.
    Hugs-x-

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    1. Thanks, Sheila! It's so much fun! xxx

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  2. Haha how wonderful. I can’t stop laughing. You’ll probably drive Jon mad with it all. Unless of course he joins in. You do realise you’ll probably be inundated with miniature parcels now. Have fun my lovely xxx

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    1. He thinks I've lost the plot, I think!! He says it's my project - I've tried to bribe him with the use of my garage but it's not working! xxx

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  3. marvelous!
    its sooo cool - and i totally understand how one can get sucked into this tiny world! my dolls house is burned since ages - but i still have lots of furniture and kitchenware, a tiled stove (wooden), decorations and bathroom furnishings.... and little old dolls.
    waiting for a long quiet winter to play carpenter and build a new house for :-)
    xxxxx

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    1. Eeeek! I'm excited that you've got a doll's house, too! You really need to dig it out before too long, if it's half as stylish as your real house it's going to be a beauty! xxx

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  4. Hah! First!! Vix, I absolutely loved this post! At first glance the doll house is so real, and when I saw the image of you seated on the furniture I had assumed we were looking into your house!!

    How on earth did you get that marvellous, miniature picture of the green lady?

    Happy thrifting ;)

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    1. Thanks so much! Miss Wong was one of Linda's presents to get me started. She takes pride of place in my own house, it's only right she should feature in my mini house! xxx

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  5. You have more patience than I...everything that small is so fiddly, but you've decorated it beautifully. Love the Woodstock poster, Tretchikoff and revamped sofa, good to see you got some of your crochet in too...yay! xxx

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    1. I think that's why I'm enjoying it so much - it is fiddly but it's quick - can you imagine making a bedside table in 10 minutes in real life? xxx

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  6. I can't possibly tell you how fabulous I think this is! My dolls' house was probably my favourite toy as a kid, and I spent as much time making or revamping furnishings for it (and new clothes for the dolls) as I did actually playing with it. While I was reading this post I was thinking how I would love to do just the same myself (although sadly my childhood dolls' house, complete with original 1970's decor, is long gone). I really don't have time to get sucked into another hobby, but it is very tempting... I must not click on the links you've provided, or there really will be no hope for me!

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    1. I'd forgotten how much I used to love tinkering with mine, sorting through my Grandma's sewing scarps for bits to use as carpets or bed covers and spending my pocket money on tiny vacuum cleaners and fish tanks.
      You could always start with a shoebox - not that I'm trying to encourage you! xxx

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  7. WOW ,This is absolutely fabulous , So individual to you , Its amazing , Linda is so talented and gets you to a T but what you have done since is also so amazing , Fabulous Post , You are a clever lady xxx

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    1. Thank you so much! Linda was the catalyst - it hadn't occurred to me that I could make my own bits and pieces until I saw what she was doing. Buying ready made doll's house furniture from a shop seemed as unappealing as shopping for new furniture or clothes! xxx

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  8. Have always wanted one and now I know you're never too old! I love the light box. I can see this new project of yours starting a bit of a cult following!

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    1. You should make yourself a tiny room in a shoe box - see if you can order that book from the library - it's beautiful. xxx

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  9. Definitely a place you can put your magic touch on. Love how you placed yourself in the rooms :) I always wanted a dollhouse but never had one when I was little. Never cared much for the dolls, just liked the miniatures

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    1. Thank you! Yes, it's all about the miniatures - the dolls spoil it! xxx

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  10. Love, love, love it! The pineapple lamp is joyful.

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    1. Thank you! I can see you being good at this - you've got a great eye for design! xxx

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  11. Amazing! I can imagine how all-consuming this would be.The original dressing-table is wonderful. My favourites have to be the rocket lamp and the phone table/stool.

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    1. Thank you!! It is very addictive - everything takes on a new meaning when you start - even milk bottle tops start looking like pouffes or stools! xxx

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  12. I just love a doll's house! I had one as a little girl. Not as old as yours, though, but one my Dad made for me when I was six. It had 1960's furniture. When I outgrew it, it went to my sister, who's ten years younger than me. I don't know what happened with it afterwards. About 12 years ago, Jos and I bought a flatpack doll's house from Sue Ryder, and lots of furniture and miniatures. It's even got miniature loo paper! And it's got working light fixtures! I admit that I haven't looked at it for years, and I've recently thought of selling it. Your post might have changed my mind! I love your attention to detail - you must have the patience of a saint! Now you need a mini Vix doll to live in it. xxx

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    1. I think a handmade doll's house is even lovelier than a shop bought one. I had another house as a child, it was a trendy modular one from an amazing hippy toy shop in Devon - a series of wooden boxes you could change into different shaped houses - Mum gave it away to a family without much money when I stopped playing with it.
      I remember those Sue Ryder furniture sets, they were lovely. You ought to get it out and play! xxx

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  13. Welcome to my world....although mine stops at about 1890! I've got all sorts including a shrunken head in mine!
    Arilx

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    1. I remember you sharing a post about a piece of miniature furniture your talented husband had made for you! I like the sound of a shrunken head - doll's houses have to reflect the owner's personality and tastes, don't they? xxx

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  14. This is amazing! You're making me want to buy a dolls house now xx

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    1. You should - do it 1960s style! The book Lynn bought me suggested starting with a old drawer or a show box and doing a room at a time. I'm using a 1950s glass fronted china cabinet until my old doll's house is habitable. xxx

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  15. Oh Vix - how absolutely lovely and how clever both you and Linda are making those teeny tiny things. I'm in love with the rocket lamp and the cushions and as for the miniature pom pom trim how cute is that!

    One of my favourite books is a book on dolls houses I bought in a reduced bin years and years ago. I never had a doll's house as a child but always desperately wanted one. From about the age of 10 I collected miniatures which I called 'treasures' as I was fascinated by things in miniature. I introduced my best friend Hilary to 'treasures' aged 12 and to this day she still has a collection of lovely little miniatures which she gives to her grand kids.

    I'm not surprised there's a whole world of miniaturists out there it is totally beguiling.

    I'm going to keep my eyes peeled in the chazzas from now on for you - do you have a wish list of items you'd like?

    xxxxx

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    1. I collected miniatures things as a child, too - I had a thimble rack which I'd fill with charms and wee dolls and cars. There's something so appealing about tiny things!
      If you do find any doll's house furniture on your travels I'd happily buy them off you - a sofa, armchairs, tables and kitchen bits would be wonderful - thank you! xxx

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  16. I luv it ! Mines somewhere in the attic-it's over 50 years old now-I'm going to bring it downstairs.I'm hoping I can fit in mine like you can Vix x

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    1. Ooooh, Flis!! I'm excited that you've still got yours - I hope you haven't outgrown it! xxx

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  17. ohhh, I'm totally in love with all these tiny treasures!, the furniture, the cute cushions, the colors and the lovely details! (I agree, the rocket lamp looks fab! and the pineaple lamp is my favorite!)
    I would love to walk into these rooms!
    besos

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    1. Thanks, Monica! It's so much fun - and it's cheap and quick to do to - best hobby ever! xxx

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  18. Eat me, drink me, you are in the dolls house among the splendid furnishings and decorations. Absolutely lovely and I really like the way you have renovated the furniture.

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm addicted to this tiny world! xxx

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  19. That is truly amazing! What a beautiful make over you have given those rooms!

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    1. Thanks, Kezzie. I hope they fit in the house once I've done it up! xxx

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  20. I'm in love with this post!!! You are such a creative genius - look what you've done in such incredibly short amount of time!!! How fast you learn, and how inspired and inspiring you are! Your friends are also geniuses, I'll follow Linda on Instagram.

    <3 <3 <3

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    1. Thank you so much! I thought you'd all think I was mad when I posted this but it really is a joy - creating tiny things from old bottle caps and scraps of fabric. I wish making human-sized furniture was as easy! xxx

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  21. Super cool, for some reason I think you give "I Dream of Jeannie" a run for her money. I'd rather live in your groovy doll house than Jeannie's bottle (although that was all I wanted to do as a little girl).

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    1. A friend pointed me to a Pinterest page full of doll's houses made from old laundry detergent bottles and guitars - wouldn't that be fun? xxx

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  22. It definitely has, "Designed by Vix" all over it! Of course you would have the coolest dollhouse...you already have the coolest people house ;)

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  23. Vix's Amazing Technicolor Dreamhouse!
    From drab to fab indeed! I had no idea dollhouses were still a popular hobby. I love that it's a DIY sort of hobby rather just a buy & collect sort.
    xox

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    1. I didn't know how popular they were, either. I love the DIY aspect of making your own furniture out of bits and pieces of household junk rather than buying expensive miniatures from a shop - no fun in that! xxx

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  24. OMG my mother played about with miniatures a few years back her house is full of tiny rooms and houses. Nothing as fabulously colourful as yours and I loved you being in the photos!!! So very cool to have some original stuff. My dad made a scale model of an old beach house we had but that has probably been passed on or dumped knowing my mother.

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    1. The beach house your lovely Dad made sounded incredible. I wonder if you've got an old photo of you playing with it anywhere? xxx

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  25. I love dollhouses! I had a wonderful one that my mom and her best friend made (her daughter got one too). The furniture was made of wall-paper-covered cigarette packs! Well, it was the 70s!

    What a wonderful job you have done here, Vix! Brava!

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    1. Oh, I like the sounds of your crazy 1970s wallpaper - that's right up my street! xxx

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  26. Wow Vix, this looks so fab, it's so creative that you've put this together!

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  27. I never cease to be surprised when I open your page. I am amazed at your creativity. I can’t imagine the time it took to create this little marvel. Thanks for sharing. Also I could have cried when I read you had sold the furniture.
    šŸ˜¢

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    1. Thanks, Sally! Don't be sad about the furniture - I know the lady who bought it off me loved it. I'm having fun creating pieces more to my taste! xxx

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  28. my dolly wreck is still sat here 2 years down the line , every time i motivate myself the munchkin claims it back to play some war based dolly atrocity inside..lol

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    1. Ha! Boys, eh? Mine's starting to look a little less derelict with a lick of paint and some new flooring. Might be able to move in before too long! xxx

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  29. I’ve been working on a dollhouse for almost a year now! Bought a greenleaf kit. It’s fun seeing a project come together. Vintage quality furniture is expensive and hard to find. I found a 1:12 scale doll at the flea market this weekend past - looked 60’s era. The seller gave it and an extra dress for free. The best customizable doll forms are picco neemo from japan but again, $$. I loved seeing mini you in those room pics!

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    1. Your doll's house is a beauty - the floor you made blew my mind a little bit! I followed the link to those dolls and I'm more than a little in love.
      Most vintage British doll's houses are 1/16 scale - so a lot of the furniture on eBay is slightly too big although the book Lynn bought me encourages people to be theatrical and play about with scale - which appeals to me. xxx

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  30. Oh wow, what an amazing outlet for your creativity. I can see why you've given the crochet a rest. I love the wallpaper, actually I love the mid century style in general but the wallpaper is....groovy!! xxx

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    1. Thank you!!! I'm still crocheting the odd square - I'm scared to leave it alone in case I forget how to.
      I'm liking the free wallpaper downloads very much but I think the actual house needs something more crazy! xxx

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  31. Bravo! Thanks for this Lilliputian glimpse. You have really turned around this old girl and given it a new lease of life. I'm sure your Mum would be proud.
    I had to laugh at the pretty over practical because that is me all over. At family get togethers I faff about getting table beautiful and forget about the actual food! Fortunately my sisters are good at that.
    Enjoy your weekend reading!
    xo Jazzy Jack

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    1. You and I sound very alike!! An old boss once said that for someone so intelligent I made no sense at all sometimes! xxx

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  32. Oh this is such fun. The lamps have to be my favourite elements. And the lightbox. And the wall art. Oh well, all of it really.
    Enjoy :)
    xx

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    1. Thanks, Hazel! it's definitely turning into an obsession. xxx

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  33. How fun! Welcome to the world of miniatures, it's addictive! I always loved a dolls house, though my favourite was my Sindy house for the satisfying size of it all xxx

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    1. Are you a member, too? Have you ever shared your doll's house? xxx

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  34. Don't you wish you could drink something that would shrink you small enough so you could actually play in your re-decorated house (as long as you could return to normal size). I totally get the new obsession, especially when there are so many people like Linda who are making incredible miniature furniture and accessories. You have Vix-i-fied that house to perfection!

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    1. I do wish I could shrink occasionally - although I'd have to make sure the cats were out or you might not see me again!
      Making stuff out of bits and pieces destined for the recycle bin is so much fun- and it's saving the planet - albeit in a very tiny way. xxx

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  35. Dear Vix, simply said all of that was too cute! ! :) The icing on the cake was the 1960's magazine with Jimi on the front! ! Wuhuu! !

    Anne-Marie xxx

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    1. Thank you!!! I couldn't resist printing off that Jimi mag, it's too cute for its own good! xxx

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  36. This house is so you! Love all the details and your incredible creativity in the small space! xox

    -Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

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    1. Thanks, Patti! It's such fun creating tiny things although it's probably not doing my eyesight much good! xxx

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  37. Oh, that is so cool. There's something captivating about miniatures.

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  38. Oh, this is the best. I luv how you've shrunk yourself down to fit. It looks like so much fun. Can't wait to see what happens next!

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    1. Thanks, Pao - it's so addictive! x

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Love from Vix
xxx