Thursday, April 26, 2012

My favorite alternate reality

Back in the early 1970s, I started collecting dollhouse miniatures. I would buy them at a local store, or I would get gifts of minis. I have always loved dollhouses - I had the basic metal dollhouse in the early '60s; the Petite Princess plastic suitcase dollhouse; a Fisher-Price Little People's house (and schoolhouse, and village, and A-frame....).

About 20 years ago, I finally bought a dollhouse kit on clearance at Amazing Ames, and built it. It was the Dura-Craft Lafayette. We were living in a poorly-converted barn house with lots of space, and I was able to set up a worktable. It was such fun. I furnished it with my collection of dollhouse minis, and every time we went to Rutland, we made a stop in Pittsford at Fred's Miniature Dollhouse Store. I never had a lot of money to spend on minis, but I could usually find something awesome and inexpensive on Fred's clearance table.

My brother Andrew made some miniatures for my dollhouse, too - an absolutely gorgeous watercolor painting in a gold frame, and a tiny ashtray with cigarette smoldering in it. I used old family photos from antique lockets, put them in tiny frames, and decorated the dollhouse.

Fast forward to last year, and when we moved in with my mother-in-law, I brought my dust-covered Lafayette with me, along with my carefully packed lot of dusty dollhouse furniture. (Evidently it was the maid's decade off in the tiny house.) My father had just passed away, and in the course of dividing up his things, I ended up with my mother's collection of miniatures, as well as a Greenleaf Fairfield kit (with upgrade) that she had never built. I have not yet found unpacked the box of minis I brought with me from my own home, so I started poking around on E-bay, and picking up those minis that struck my fancy and my price-range.

I renovated the Lafayette - painted, cleaned, put it on a board which I landscaped - and re-furnished it, using some of Mom's minis and ones I had scored on E-bay. I started my next project, a kit-bash of a Radmark Whitney and a Corona Primrose, with a couple of nice Houseworks windows. I also picked up, at a really good price, a DuroCraft Newberg.

After I finish the Whitney/Primrose bash, I'll be making the Fairfield. Since it's half scale, I'll have to make a fair amount of the furnishings. The Fairfield will be something of a haunted house, with elements of fantasy and horror.

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