Archive for the 'Dollhouse Miniatures' Category

The Healing Power of Dollhouses

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

Do you ever wonder how people defy the odds when it comes to their health? How do they overcome and bounce back? Building dollhouses can be therapy, and often we hear that dollhouses can erase real life problems by creating a make believe, or fantasy life. People tend to lose themselves in their miniatures. And using your imagination, being creative and having a purpose can be powerful drugs.

Alison Jr.

Thomas Kneeshaw and his most recent dollhouse, The Alison Jr.

Real Good Toys

The Real Good Toys Alison Jr.

Shareen Kneeshaw and her father Thomas recently built the Real Good Toys Alison Jr. dollhouse kit for a fundraiser for the Mental Health Association of Westchester(NY). They took advantage of the Real Good Toys Dollhouses for a Cause program. Nearing 96 years old, Thomas has built several dollhouses. He has made two dollhouses from scratch, using Real Good Toys components.  He has built (7) 1 inch scale and (3) 1/2 inch scale dollhouses from kits. All of these dollhouses were for his granddaughters, great granddaughters, friends, and fundraisers.

In 2014, Thomas became very ill, with the result being an above the knee amputation of one of his legs. He recovered quickly, but then fell ill again in the spring of this year. At this point, his doctors felt he would not recover and sent him home with hospice care.  According to Shareen, as time passed and her father held on, he realized he better get busy and do something with his time. Shareen came across a Real Good Toys catalog and they both decided it might be a good idea to try some smaller dollhouse kits, more manageable and in line with his limitations. Shareen and her sister thought for sure it would take him at least a month to finish the first dollhouse, but he had it done in 8 days!

 

dollhouse painting

Interior of the Alison Jr.

Alison Jr.

Beautiful painting on the Alison Jr.

“It was an amazing thing to watch. When he started building the dollhouses, he was still pretty weak, but the more he did the better he got. He said he feels like he has a purpose and is being productive, and this is doing wonders for his health. After he finished the first one and we didn’t have a second one ready yet, he seemed to start to feel poorly again, feeling pain, etc… The afternoon the second one arrived, he said he was feeling poorly, but once he saw it he perked right up and got started on it right away.  He works on them every day as soon as he finishes breakfast and works on them until he goes to bed.  He has a live-in aid who gives him a hand when he needs things maneuvered.  We sometimes work on them together, either my sister or I, as a way to spend time with him. He is teaching us a lot. He can’t get to his workshop anymore, so we have set up a work area in the kitchen with various levels of work surfaces, so he can reach what he needs to from his wheelchair. We may run out of friends or family who could use dollhouses, so we are looking to find places to donate them. Needless to say we are thankful for your kits and hope you stay in business for a long, long time.”

With no real medical theory, Thomas’ doctors don’t know quite what to make of his rebound. Shareen says her father is a cat with 9 lives. Thomas thinks it’s a miracle.

We hope that Real Good Toys dollhouses continue to offer Thomas enjoyment and that his health continues to remain stable. No matter the reason, or explanation, we are in awe of the level of determination, and the fortitude that Thomas displays. Thanks to Shareen and Thomas for sharing this heartwarming story. 

Do you have a favorite charity or a worthwhile non-profit organization that needs a contribution for a fundraiser? Since 2009 we have been offering our Dollhouses for a Cause program which allows a 30% discount towards the purchase of any dollhouse kit for the purpose of fundraising. Just fill out the application and send it in…and get building!!

Miniaturist of the Month – Renee Orvis

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015
Renee and her Collectibles Cabinet and Mulberry Lane

Renee and her Collectibles Cabinet and Mulberry Lane

Renee's Display Case

Renee’s Display Case

Real Good Toys welcomes Renee Orvis, our very first home town Miniaturist of the Month! Renee grew up right here in Barre. She is married with two children, an 18 year old daughter in college and an 8 year old son.  She attended Johnson State College for one year and eventually finished her degree in fine art at the Community College of Vermont.  Renee also worked for Joann Fabrics for a few years where she developed an interest in sewing, crafts and needlework. She has worked for 26 years at Vermont Mutual Insurance Group in the Finance Department.

Renee 8

Beautiful Foyer

Renee 3

Custom painted fireplace

Renee 7

Great country kitchen

Renee is relatively new to miniatures, but has jumped in with both feet.  She became interested in dollhouses and miniatures when she was young.  Renee recalls receiving a large Colonial Style dollhouse for Christmas one year. The house was passed on, but she kept some of the furniture thinking she might eventually get into dollhouses. It wasn’t until about a year and a half ago that she bought her first kit. Her first build was the Real Good Toys Build Along Collectibles Cabinet.  That was all it took.  Renee was hooked!  Her next kit was the Lilliput Mulberry Lane. Renee really loves art history, especially the Georgian, Regency and Victorian periods.  She wanted to make the interior of her Mulberry Lane as authentic to these periods as her budget would allow.  She said, “I finally decided that I can’t have an exact replica house with all the details exactly as they would have been… so I decided to look at it more as an impressionist painter would and focus on the subtleties, giving the suggestion of a Georgian kitchen or a Regency drawing room.  A little color here and a little detail there, and not worry so much about making it exactly correct.”

Renee 2

Look at those paintings!

What’s next for this miniaturist?  She would like to create miniatures on her own and not from kits.  Renee would like to try her hand at polymer clay food, and has already tried painting and framing her own pieces. She says, “As a new miniaturist, I am very excited about the many facets and options to explore!”

Renee, your enthusiasm to try new things is contagious, and we thank you for letting us have a look into your projects. We can’t wait to see what’s next for you!

Would you like to be our next Miniaturist of the Month?  It’s really easy!  Just email your information with a few pictures attached to jodi@realgoodtoys.com.  I want to let your talents shine!sunshine

My “Mini” Vacation

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015
Museum of Miniature Houses, Carmel, IN

Museum of Miniature Houses, Carmel, IN

While visiting family and friends in Indianapolis, IN, I had the opportunity to visit the Mecca for miniature enthusiasts and collectors. If you travel through Central Indiana, you must make time to visit the Museum of Miniature Houses in Carmel, IN, just north of Indianapolis. I had the pleasure of meeting Suzanne Landshof, one of the founders of the Museum.  We had a lovely visit while touring the exhibits, winding in and out of the many display rooms full of exquisite examples of early and modern miniatures and dollhouses.  Suzanne’s knowledge of miniature history, her eye for quality and detail, and her commitment to the museum, made the visit worth every minute.

Le Chateau foyer

Le Chateau foyer

Beyond being wowed by many examples of unique miniatures such as a full set of armor for a miniature horse, the magnificent, two story foyer of a miniature French Chateau, and a miniature display of Sherlock Holmes’ office at 221B Baker Street, I was struck by how inviting each room felt.

Sherlock Holmes 221B Baker Street by LaVerne Sullivan

Sherlock Holmes 221B Baker Street by LaVerne Sullivan

the Tower Armory by LaVerne Sullivan

The Tower Armory by LaVerne Sullivan

It was like a treasure hunt.  Each room I entered held something equally, or even more enchanting than the last, with the treasures being the stories that each of the displays told.

The museum offers many programs and events that involve young and old. There is literally something for everyone at this Museum.

The Museum is located at 111 East Main Street in Carmel, right in the Arts District.  Check their website, www.museumofminiatures.org, or call 317-575-9466 for more information. 

Miniaturist of the Month-Leah Sexton

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015
Leah's Collectible Cabinet

Leah’s Collectible Cabinet  Facebook Build Along Project

 

RGT's 2014 Facebook Build-Along Project, Collectibles Cabinet

Leah’s Collectibles Cabinet

Interior of Leah's Collectibles Cabinet

Interior of Leah’s Collectibles Cabinet

Meet our Miniaturist of the Month-Leah Sexton.  Leah has been making miniatures for 20 years and she started with the Real Good Toys Simplicity Dollhouse. She has made many projects over the years and has donated most all of them to raffles, fundraisers and toy drives. Her current projects are the Real Good Toys Collectible Cabinet, Hobby Builders Supply Creating Contest and a room box in 1/3 scale.  1/3 scale is for dolls 18-24 inches. Real Good Toys is just about ready to unveil our 18 inch dollhouse.  Hold on to your hats 1/3 scale lovers.  Leah has enjoyed the 2014 Collectibles Cabinet Facebook Build Along project so much so that she would really like another one.  I think lots of folks would like to see that one come back. That project made a very handy, and cute, craft supply storage for me. She is also working on the current Build Along project, The Crafter’s Cottage.  The popular Build Along projects on our Facebook page, Real Good Toys Dollhouses, allow participants to individualize and design their own dream project while sharing creativity and enthusiasm with a whole group of like-minded people.

Leah's Paint Ready Victorian

Leah’s Paint Ready Victorian

Leah's Holiday New Orleans Dollhouse

Leah’s Holiday New Orleans Dollhouse

Even though Leah doesn’t keep many of her projects for herself, she confides that the Christmas themed New Orleans Dollhouse with an addition was the hardest dollhouse to part with, even though it went for a good cause. No wonder she was sad to see it go…it’s spectacular! Leah also did an amazing job on a dollhouse kit that is no longer in production here at Real Good Toys, The Paint Ready Victorian.  Her color choices and painting scheme are true Victorian.  Our Attic Tower Contest didn’t stump Leah. I love what she did with that small space.  Leah really likes the challenge of contests and Build Alongs. She also has participated in several Hobby Builders Supply Creating Contests.

Leah's Attic Tower Contest entry

Leah’s Attic Contest entry

 

Leah's Wall House

Leah’s Wall House Facebook Build Along Project

Leah’s best advice to any miniaturist is to take your time. Leah says, “For instance, when glue needs to set or paint needs to dry, move to something else in the assembly process so your project doesn’t look rushed”. When Leah is not crafting, she loves hiking the trails around her home in Gladstone, MI, which is in the Upper Peninsula.  In bad weather she loves to curl up with a good mystery book.  She tells me that in order to fund her mini-fun, she teaches at a small local college. Leah says, “I am having fun in different scales making tiny and not so tiny accessories. The challenge of a new kit is always incentive to begin another project”.

Thanks for sharing your work with us Leah. 

We applaud your generosity with your miniatures.

Would you like to be our next Miniaturist of the Month?  It’s really easy. Just email your information with a few pictures attached to jodi@realgoodtoys.com.

We want to let your talents SHINE!! sunshine

Real Good Toys What’s In Your Attic? Contest

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Real Good Toys is excited to announce our new contest, What’s In Your Attic?, featuring the completely finished, 1 inch scale Attic Tower Top.  So come one, come all and pull out those extra minis you have sitting around…in your craft room, closet or tote, and wipe the dust off (or not!).  Put those minis to good use in the Real Good Toys’ What’s In Your Attic? contest.

The rules are simple – buy at least (1) Attic Tower Top, which is completely finished inside and out, and furnish this small room with things you may find in your attic.  It could be neat as a pin or dirty as a pig sty, it’s an attic after all.  Use your imagination because there is no right or wrong.  Simply show us what’s in your mini attic for a chance to win a $100, $75 or $50 gift certificate from Real Good Toys. 

Contest entries are due by November 9th, 2014.  You have up to nine weeks to create a spectacular miniature attic.  Send three (3) photos of your project to info@realgoodtoys.com.  We will post the photos on our Facebook page, Real Good Toys Dollhouses, and ask our favorite fans to vote on your project.  Our Facebook friends will determine the top five finalists and the J-TEAM will pick the top three winners.

  • First Place:        $100 RGT Gift Certificate

  • Second Place:   $75 RGT Gift Certificate

  • Third Place:      $50 RGT Gift Certificate

So what are you waiting for, order your Attic Tower Top today, and get in on this simple yet fun contest.  What do you have to lose?  Shipping is free and there are a limited number of Finished Attic Tower Tops available…45 to be exact.  This makes your odds of winning even greater.  Show us What’s In Your Attic? TODAY!

Mini wishes – Jennifer

4th Annual Real Good Toys Build-Along Project Finished Photos

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Jodi and I were so excited to see what everybody would come up with for our 4th Annual Build-Along Project featuring the Collectibles Cabinet shell kit.  Lots of people customized to create in mini what their minds only imagined.  Each Build-Along Project is so unique and we’re simply thrilled with the results.  I’m sure you’ll be amazed by the creativity of everybody involved.  Many of our build-alongers were very brave and customized many aspects of their build as well as tried some new techniques .  It’s truly inspiring to see what each and everyone of you do with this annual project.  We’re so privileged to work with you all and be part of such an amazing online community.

Many more people have not finished their kits yet so we hope to add more photos to this album as they roll in.  Take some time to check out the 4th Annual Build-Along Project Finished Photos.  Maybe it will spark an idea and get you in the mini-ing mood.

Jodi and I would like to thank everybody who participated in this year’s Build-Along project and look forward to our 5th Annual Project, which is yet to be determined.  More info will follow in January 2015.  We hope you’ll consider joining us.

For those of you who feel so inclined to create your own mini world with the Collectibles Cabinet shell kit, we still have a few available.  When they’re gone, they’ll be gone forever.

Many Mini Wishes – Jennifer

NEW – Real Good Toys Large Dollhouse Electrical Kit

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Haven’t you always wanted to electrify your dollhouse kit and light it up?  Our NEW Large Dollhouse Electrical Wiring kit includes enough materials to adequately electrify a dollhouse up to 36 inches wide.  (You could electrify our Ultimate Queen Anne Dollhouse kit simply by purchasing an additional 30 Feet of Tapewire and another package of Small Hollow Eyelets.)  With features like our awesome and unique EL66 Electrification Piercing & Drilling Tool and our superior Power Jack & Plug Set, our Large Dollhouse Electrical kit makes electrifying your dollhouse soooo easy!  We include our detailed instructions and free wiring guide to help you along your way.  Of course, we also offer extended technical support via email or phone because we want you to succeed.  I’ve done it a couple of times now and I must say that it’s much easier to do than expected.  Plus the final results are simply amazing.  People make their dollhouses look so life-like and when they are electrified and all lit up, it’s so worth the effort.  You will not be disappointed.

We’d love to see pictures of your electrified dollhouses.  Please email them to us directly at info@realgoodtoys.com and we’ll feature your dollhouses on our Facebook page as well as the Photo Gallery on our website.

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!
Mini wishes – Jennifer

Real Good Toys 4th Annual Fall Foliage Sale

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Come one, come all and meet the entire RGT Team.  We’re ready to throw open the doors, once again, to our 4th Annual Fall Foliage Dollhouse Factory Warehouse Sale and offer amazing deals on old, unique and some one-of-a-kind dollhouse kits, dollhouse components and dollhouse miniatures.

This year, the 4th Annual Fall Foliage Sale is on Saturday, September 27th, 9AM – 4PM.  ONE DAY ONLY!!  Make plans to come early and stay all day.  Be prepared to rummage through years and years worth of accumulated goodies.  Who knows what you’ll find but we’re sure you’ll find something you cannot live without!

FREE DEMO – Join us at 11AM when Gary, our resident dollhouse guru, will be holding one of his wildly popular technique demonstrations.  This year’s demo features The Dollhouse Builders Tool Box, where Gary will highlight many of the most efficient tools for building dollhouses and how best to use them.  It will be a hands-on demonstration.  You know, practice makes perfect!  IT’S FREE and open to anyone interested in attending.

We’ll also be providing refreshments, door prizes and grab bag surprises!  For those of you have been surprised in the past, you know what that means!!  Lunch will also be available.

After you’ve spent time at the sale, getting the very best deals, you may want to explore the area and the beautiful Vermont foliage.  If you are planning to stay overnight, please remember to make your reservations early.  This is one of Vermont’s busiest and most beautiful seasons.  Some websites to check for further information regarding lodging, attractions and restaurants are: Vermont Vacation, Central VT and Vermont.com.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions – we are happy to help.  Everyone here at RGT is looking forward to another big event and seeing some familiar as well as new faces.  See you in September!

Mini wishes – Jennifer

Correcting A Dollhouse Boo-Boo With A Heat Gun

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

I was beginning my first attempt at using egg cartons for miniature stones and it was U-G-L-Y!  I decided I had to remove the egg carton stones in order to begin fresh, with a clean dollhouse wall.  After discussing my issue with Gary, we determined the perfect way to correct my dollhouse boo-boo was with a heat gun.  This was my first time seeing what a heat gun is capable of and it worked like a charm.  As Gary said to me, I can now feel confident customizing and working on my dollhouse without any worries of making a mistake.  Even if I make a mistake, I now feel confident that I can correct my dollhouse boo-boo’s easily.

I took many photos during this process, posted the entire Photo Album on Facebook for everybody to see, and hopefully learn that mistakes can be corrected easily.  I wanted to share this photo tutorial with you, so you can also feel confident that all mistakes can be corrected, one way or another.  Hopefully, this will give you a new perspective when it comes to customizing.  Creating a one-of-a-kind dollhouse miniature could be all the incentive you need, but knowing you can correct your dollhouse boo-boo if it doesn’t work out like you planned, will give you the confidence to let your imagination go wild.

If you have a different way to correct this type of issue, I’d love to hear what you’ve done.  Please let us know the process and tools you have used.  Remember, the more knowledge we have, the more power we yield.  When you have the right tools, anything is possible.

Mini wishes – Jennifer

How I Created Dollhouse Miniature Stained Glass

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

I have been busy working on my Collectibles Cabinet Build-Along project and wanted to try something a little different this year.  I’ve always loved the way stained glass looks and some of these creations are just so beautiful.  My hats off to people who make stained glass in real life!

The first step was to find some pictures of stained glass (or just pictures!) and save them to your computer as a JPG.  I used Pinterest for this purpose as I found many more pictures than doing a simple search on the internet.

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