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Spanish Revival chimney

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Following the not-so-great roof experience, I made a chimney for the Artist’s Cottage and it turned out pretty well. I feel like I’ve redeemed myself. :)

The reason for the chimney, as you can see here, is that the Braxton Payne fireplace I bought extends past the roof line. Originally I thought about cutting the top of the fireplace down, but decided that cutting a hole in the roof and enclosing the visible top part with a chimney would be less likely to result in disaster. (Not to mention more realistic!)

I Googled “spanish revival chimney” and found a bunch of good pictures. The one on the right (from Houzz) is the one I kept coming back to. It seemed like it would be easy to create with basswood and moldings.

When I went to the store to buy my basswood, I forgot to bring measurements with me, so I ended up with pieces not quite wide enough that needed to be glued together.

The two long pieces go on the outside of the house.

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Categories: Dollhouses.

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Artist’s Cottage roof

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I knew when I bought the scratch built gatorboard house sans roof that figuring out the roof would be the most complicated part of the build. Geometry is not my friend.

I’m planning to put barrel tile on the roof but it needs something to rest on, so I picked up a piece of “presentation board” at Michaels for $5. (I went there looking for matboard, and this is basically the same thing, but the matboard cost $15!) Because I want the part under the barrel tiles to be black (so it just looks like a shadow), I got a black presentation board.

With a ruler in hand and a vague idea that I needed to cut four pieces — angled to meet up in the middle — I got to work.

There was a lot of trial and error involved but I’ll spare you those photos since it turns out I was on the wrong track. Before I realized I was on the wrong track, though, I cut my four pieces and sponged white paint onto the undersides for the ceilings. Turns out that when you paint black presentation board white, it comes out kinda purple.

It took three coats to stop looking purple.

Right, so here’s where I realized I had a problem. These are the four pieces I cut. The idea was that the two rectangular pieces would go on the left peak (when you’re looking at the front of the house), and the two angled pieces on the right peak. The hole in the corner of that front piece is to accommodate the neck of the fireplace that sticks up above the roofline.

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Categories: Dollhouses.

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Rowhouse bedroom furniture (part one)

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I recently scratch built a Victorian bed for my half scale Queen Anne Rowhouse. To finish it off, I cross-stitched the Sara Pittman Coverlet from a June Grigg pamphlet, “More Charted Designs for Miniatures,” which shows up on eBay and Etsy from time to time. (I got mine at a flea market for $0.25!)

The original design is for 1:12 scale and is stitched over one on 22-count fabric. I stitched mine on 36-count and kept the bed close by so I could keep repeating the pattern until I knew that it would fit on the bed. I also used a slightly darker shade of floss than the recommended “cream” because I was worried that would blend in too much with the fabric color.

The blank area near the top is folded under so the bedspread covers the pillows, and the part at the bottom folds over the front edge of the mattress. I cut my mattress from a piece of foam and sewed the finished bedspread to it, lining up my stitches with stitches in the design so they don’t show.

I didn’t bother covering the foam with fabric first, but as I got to the back of the bed, I realized that the mattress would show here.

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Categories: Dollhouses.

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Two more Little Belle dollhouses uncovered

Since posting my blog about the Little Belle dollhouse by Jim Marcus and Lew Kummerow, I have tracked down two more online. The first is in the Miniature Museum of Greater St. Louis. This museum acquired it from a Dallas mini museum that closed a few years ago, and they didn’t know what it was until they saw it on my blog.

Finding the second one was a total fluke. Years ago I acquired a Victorianna half scale dollhouse (a discontinued, half scale version of Greenleaf’s wall-hanging McKinley) and I have always wanted to bash it with a second one to make a rowhouse two rooms deep, but the Victorianna is really hard to find. Over the weekend I won a second kit on eBay, which finally gave me an excuse to daydream about what the bash might look like.

I was searching for pictures of houses (and dollhouses) with bay windows to give myself ideas for the bash and, unbelievably, ran across a picture of a Little Belle on Pinterest. I can’t even remember what search terms I was using and haven’t been able to “find” it again, so clearly this was karma.

The picture linked back to an eBay auction from March 2014. Since that auction page will undoubtedly go away at some point, I grabbed the pictures, but because the house is unfinished it looks about like mine (no obvious damage to the facade, though). It sold for $391.

(Hey — if you bought this house and stumbled across this post looking for info about it, please contact me!)

The auction includes a great picture of the brass medallion that Barbara Kummerow told me was only attached to a few of the earliest houses. It’s hard to tell where this medallion is located… maybe on the *underside* of the base attached to the front of the house? I double checked and mine definitely doesn’t have one.

So: 1 Little Belle owned by me + 3 owned by others on the Half Scale Yahoo Group + 2 in museums (St. Louis and Kansas City) + 2 pictured in the June 1980 issue of Nutshell News + this eBay auction brings us to 9 Little Belles accounted for, out of a limited run of about 20. I’m still hoping to locate more…

Categories: Dollhouses.

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