Archive for the 'Miniaturist of the Month' Category

Miniaturist of the Month – Brenda Bourque

Monday, March 23rd, 2015
Brenda with the Rose House AKA First Lady

Brenda with the Rose House AKA First Lady

Have you ever found a dollhouse in a thrift store or at a garage sale and just couldn’t resist? Maybe it was partially assembled, maybe it was fully assembled but in need of refurbishing.  Brenda Bourque, Real Good Toys March Miniaturist of the Month, was lucky enough to find a real gem at her local dump of all places!

Brenda found a Real Good Toys First Lady Dollhouse partially assembled, with the rest of the kit still in the box. Those of you familiar with Real Good Toys’ history will recall that the First Lady Dollhouse was the dollhouse chosen by the Carter Administration to display under the White House Christmas tree in 1980. Brenda has named this dollhouse The Rose House, because she has added a rose to every room, in one form or another. It takes a seasoned  miniaturist to tackle a project such as this and Brenda says this rehab has been her favorite project, taking over a year to finish.

The Finished Rose House

The Finished Rose House

 

 

Brenda 5

 

Brenda lives in Oxford, CT and has been married for 25 years, raising two daughters.  She tells us, “Ever since I can remember I wanted a dollhouse for Christmas.  I finally received my first kit from my husband and daughters in 1998.  I have collected furniture and little things for a long time…” Brenda says that most of her miniature furniture was made from kits when there used to be a kit of the month club.  She has taught herself to make many of the minis and accessories that she uses in her dollhouses.  Brenda has participated in the Real Good Toys Facebook Build Along each year. These projects give participants an opportunity to individualize their creations while sharing advice, tips and techniques with a large group of like-minded folks, which is right up Brenda’s alley. She says she is always coming up with ideas of how she wants her projects to look, and how to get it done.

Brenda's 2012 Build Along Project

Brenda’s 2012 Build Along Project

 

When Brenda is not working on dollhouses or miniatures, she enjoys traveling, photography and enjoying nature.  She is especially interested in photographing dollhouses.  Building and decorating dollhouses allows Brenda the opportunity to play around with her other interests of architecture and interior design, just on a much smaller scale.  She feels working on miniatures keep her mind, and her hands, active.  Years and years of assembling and decorating dollhouses has given Brenda the confidence to think outside of the box, adding that special touch or modification…something every miniaturist lives for.

Thanks Brenda for sharing your experiences and your work with us. Your work is inspiring! 

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 [email protected]

I want to let your talents SHINE!sunshine

Miniaturist of the Month – Donald Jenny

Monday, February 16th, 2015
Donald Jenny of Bothell, Washington

Donald Jenny of Bothell, Washington

Real Good Toys is happy to welcome our February Miniaturist of the Month – Donald Jenny. Donald hails from Bothell, Washington, where he is an accomplished freelance artist, designing book covers and illustrating children’s books. When he is not doing that, he builds custom dollhouses. Donald grew up in a family of artists. His father worked for an architectural firm, building scale models as a side job. Donald’s father also built model ships as his hobby. Donald’s mother was once an opera singer. She dabbled in painting while raising her family. His older brother loved to draw race cars. That love ultimately led to building race cars as an occupation. Donald’s younger brother, who once fancied himself a folk singer, is now the proprietor of a business that builds and sells custom electric guitars internationally. It is quite obvious Donald acquired his love of the arts from his family, being creative in drawing, painting and sculpture.  He holds degrees in fine art and computer animation.  Although Donald holds down a daytime office job, he continues his freelance business and custom dollhouse building.

One of Donald's gift houses

One of Donald’s gift houses

In the 1970’s, Donald began building gift houses out of cardboard and other materials.  His intention was to use these houses as a substitute for gift wrapping.  These whimsical creations were quite popular with their recipients.  He didn’t begin building wooden dollhouses until 2000. Donald attended a miniature trade show and was hooked! Beginning with kits, he quickly started customizing dollhouses adding his own special touches. He created, from photos and memory, a miniature version of a Painted Lady dollhouse. He donated his masterpiece to a little girl in foster care.  He tells us the only thing she wanted for Christmas was a dollhouse and it was perfect for her.  If time permits, Donald builds 2-3 dollhouses a year, donating them to various local charities.

Alice before Wonderland Dollhouse

Alice before Wonderland Dollhouse

Donald’s most expensive build so far is his Alice before Wonderland dollhouse, filled with custom made figures and miniatures from the Alice in Wonderland fairy tale. This dollhouse originally was the Real Good Toys #2007 Woodland, with the addition of the 602 Montclair porch.  He tells us, “I have spent nearly 6 years on this project and it still isn’t complete and I doubt it will ever be. This is my baby”!!

Donald's 2014 RGT Facebook Build Along

Donald’s 2014 RGT Facebook Build Along

Donald is one of Real Good Toys most active Facebook fans, always jumping right into our annual Real Good Toys Dollhouses Facebook Build-Along.  He never ceases to amaze us with his creativity and vision. He can take a basic kit and transform it, making it into something truly astonishing. Our Facebook Build-Along projects allow participants to individualize and design their own dream project while sharing creativity and enthusiasm with a whole group of like-minded people.  And that’s just what Donald loves about it.  His Build-Along last year started out to be library and ended up as a brothel. He has already ordered our 2015 Build-Along project, The Crafter’s Cottage, and is anxiously awaiting delivery. Donald says, “I have bought many kits from Real Good Toys because the quality out shines other competitors”.

Donald is looking forward to retirement in a couple of years.  Then he will devote his time to building dollhouses and working on his other love, gardening. Thanks to Donald for sharing his love of dollhouses and miniatures with us.  His enjoyment of the hobby and his creativity inspires all of us.  You can see more of Donald’s work, and much more, at www.donaldworld.com.

Would you like to be my next Miniaturist of the Month?  It’s really easy.  Just email your information with a few pictures attached to [email protected].

I want to let your talents SHINE!!sunshine