Miniaturist of the Month – Sabrina Turner

Monday, January 11th, 2016

“If you can’t have it in REAL life, you might as well have it in MINI.” That’s the motto of our Miniaturist of the Month, Sabrina Turner.  Sabrina is originally from Charlottesville, VA and now lives in Waldorf, MD, where she works as a paralegal with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C. When she’s not busy with her miniatures, you might find Sabrina riding her motorcycle or studying for her Master’s Degree in Legal Studies.  Amid all of these interesting things, Sabrina also is the proud mother of 2 sons and 4 grandsons.

RGT 3200 Series shell

Le Reve Estate, a custom RGT 3200 Series Shell

Sabrina built her first dollhouse in 1995, but she didn’t have the opportunity to build a Real Good Toys dollhouse until 2003.  She received a 3200 Series Shell Dollhouse Kit for Christmas. Fast forward twelve years and look what she’s done with this shell kit!  Sabrina calls this dollhouse “Le Reve Estate” and the mansion measures just shy of 7 feet long.  It has three extensions and a garage.  She considers it one of her prized possessions, and as most miniaturists, she is still decorating the interior.  Sabrina5Sabrina6Sabrina7

RGT Foxhall Manor

Sabrina’s Foxhall Manor with conservatory and custom garage

RGT Thornhill

Sabrina’s Thornhill

 

 

 

 

 

Sabrina supplied us with many wonderful interior shots of her “mini mansions”, so I chose just a few to share. Her interior work is just as spectacular as her exterior work! Over the years, Sabrina has collected many miniatures in her travels and she says Le Reve Estate has a significant place in her home, regally sitting on its own custom built table with wheels. You’ll notice a couple of snazzy looking vehicles in her pictures, such as the miniature versions of a Lexus LS400 and a Range Rover Sport.  Sabrina has also built the Foxhall Manor and the Thornhill.  Next up is the Newport with two extensions and on her wish list is the Queen Anne. The Windsor, Victoria’s Farmhouse, Alison Jr. and Victorian Cottage Jr. are some other dollhouses she has built. She is an expert on Real Good Toys dollhouses!

 

RGt General Store

Sabrina’s Gucci store

Presently she is working on a General Store and has turned it into a Gucci store.  All of these beautiful creations make up her Real Good Toys Millionaire’s Row. Sabrina is hoping to add more shops to her “mini millionaire neighborhood” and says that each of her dollhouses has been, and will be, built in honor of her four sisters and herself. As Sabrina says, “What better way to own the most prestigious mansions without having to worry about mortgages, electric bills, association dues, etc…!”

I am a TRUE RGT fan!!

All we can say is “WOW”.  Thank you so much for sharing your exquisite work Sabrina.  Keep it up. We can’t wait to see what you have up your sleeve!!

Would you like to be our next Miniaturist of the Month?  Email me at [email protected] for all the details!

Judi Enins – Miniaturist of the Month

Friday, October 16th, 2015
Real Good Toys Classic Bungalow

Judi and Cesar with the Holiday Bungalow.

Welcome our newest Real Good Toys Miniaturist of the Month – Judi Enins of Bensenville, IL, a suburb 20 miles west of Chicago. Judi confides that she has been married to her high school sweetheart and best friend for 45 years.  She and her husband have two daughters and two grandchildren, with another grandchild on the way in December.  Judi’s only baby left at home now is Cesar, her 12 year old West Highland Terrier.

Real Good Toys Contemporary Ranch

Interior of Contemporary Ranch

Real Good Toys Contemporary Ranch

Judi’s Contemporary Ranch

After retiring two years ago from the insurance industry, Judi has, once again, found the hobby of dollhouses and miniatures.  30 years ago Judi built three dollhouses with her husband when their daughters were young.  She said she and her husband really got into miniatures during that time.  Her husband would build them and she would decorate them.  As the girls grew, the dollhouses were stored away.  Judi pulled them out for her granddaughter to play with while she was visiting.  She admits that she had forgotten just how much she enjoyed them, so she decided to build one for herself. Since most dollhouses have a Victorian look to them, she wanted something a little bit different. Judi chose the Real Good Toys Contemporary Ranch. She fell in love with the modern design.  Because her granddaughter’s room is not that large at home, Judi keeps the dollhouse at her house, which just delights Grandma!

Judi’s next project was the Real Good Toys Classic Bungalow.  She decorated the dollhouse in a Holiday theme, Christmas dinner at Grandma and Grandpa’s house! Such a happy little dollhouse. Oh my, she is giving me some gift ideas! Judi did a little customizing on the Classic Bungalow.  With the help of her husband, Judi installed two craftsman style skylight windows in the attic ceiling to break up the broad expanse of the ceiling. Those windows really open up the attic rooms.

Judi's Holiday Bungalow

Judi’s Holiday Bungalow

Real Good Toys Classic Bungalow

Christmas at Grandma & Grandpa’s

Judi is loving retirement and is keeping very busy. She swims every day, and has learned to knit.  She is involved in her church choir and of course, Judi has become a true dollhouse enthusiast. She thinks her next dollhouse will be the Real Good Toys New Orleans dollhouse. Judi says,

“It’s a great hobby and I totally understand how a person could get hooked on building these little works of art. It’s a way to use all of the skills at your disposal (your imagination, design, artistry, etc…) My finished dollhouses have pride of place in my family room so I can look at them all the time – but if I keep making dollhouses at this rate, there will be no room for either my husband or me to sit in the family room anymore. Thanks for manufacturing such good quality, top of the line, easy to build dollhouse kits”.  

 

Thank you for sharing with us Judi.  Your enthusiasm is contagious and we hope you continue your rediscovery of dollhouses.

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 your email to [email protected]

I want to let your talents shine!sunshine

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!!

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 [email protected].

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 [email protected]  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

Miniaturist of the Month: The Real Good Toys J-Team!

Monday, August 4th, 2014
Jennifer Fitzgerald, RGT J-Team

Jennifer Fitzgerald, RGT J-Team

The Classic Bungalow by the J-Team.

The Classic Bungalow by the J-Team.

I had never even built one of our dollhouses until 5 years ago when Jodi and I decided to tackle the 1 inch scale Classic Bungalow dollhouse.  We built this magnificent dollhouse, decorated the interior and exterior and donated to a great cause.  After that, I was hooked!

I’ve always loved working with wood crafts and our dollhouses are no exception. I was so happy with our build that my husband and I purchased a Ponderosa Log Cabin and started customizing right away.  It’s still sitting in my basement waiting for us to return to our “winter project”.  Each year we get a little further on it, but we haven’t even begun to decorate the inside yet.  I’m really looking forward to that phase of our build.  All in due time!

Over the last several years, Jodi and I have built several dollhouses and we also create our Build-Along project each year.  We have had the great privilege of being one with our community of online miniaturists.  I’ve learned a great deal from what others have done and I’m no longer afraid to try something new.  Even when I make a mistake, I’m always happy to learn how I can correct that mistake and move forward with my project.  It almost makes you feel fearless when customizing because you know there is a way out of it (thank you Gary!)  My tip to all of you would be to just go for it…if you can visualize it, dream it or imagine it, it’s probably possible.  Don’t let anything stand in your way of what you truly want to create in miniature.

I feel super lucky to work with Jodi.  Over the past 15 years, we have had lots of great ideas and some come to fruition and some do not.  However, having someone else who is like-minded really makes a difference when you’re bouncing ideas off each other.  We make a great team!  When I’m not dollhouse building or decorating, I have two teenage daughters who keep us on our toes.  I also love to quilt – it’s my first passion.  We’re big on the great outdoors and love to camp, fish and go boating.  I also love to read and yes, I still like the real book (no hi-tech reading gadget for this girl!!).

Jodi Towne, RGT J- Team.

Jodi Towne, RGT J- Team.

I have worked for Real Good Toys for 26 years as the Office Manager.  My job entails, in a nutshell, accounting and customer service.  Being one half of the RGT J-Team has made my job infinitely more creative and interesting.  Having the ability, and freedom, to switch gears in the middle of the day and work on a dollhouse build has been very refreshing for me.  I feel very fortunate to have this diversion in my job.

The Lilliput Kiwi Cottage Dollhouse kit by Real Good Toys

The Kiwi-The lights are on! The J-Team’s lighting project.

Being able to build, finish and furnish a dollhouse has also made me confident in tackling just about any technical question that may come my way throughout the day.  I’ve learned so much about dollhouse building and about myself, and I learn new things from our customers and Facebook fans, just about everyday.  Jennifer and I are able to do a fair amount of brainstorming and collaborating on promotional ideas.  We are always looking for ways to draw more folks into our hobby, which only enhances my job even further.  Some days just fly by when you’re in a mini frame of mind!

I have one daughter, who will be 30 this year. She is a Visual Merchandiser and Wardrobe Stylist in Los Angeles, CA.  When she was small, we did various projects together, and yes, she had a dollhouse.  We had a Simplicity dollhouse model that had fallen off a shelf here at RGT.  It was sort of banged up and needed refurbishing.  After a little TLC, it came home with me.  We had many years of fun making furnishings for her dollhouse from everyday items.  We made rugs, bedspreads and curtains from scraps of fabric.   Those little white plastic pieces from the middle of a delivered pizza made great tables for her dollhouse.

Over the years I have dabbled in several different crafts, mostly sewing and card making projects.  I also love gardening, camping, reading and cooking.  My husband and I enjoy snowshoeing in the winter. At the moment, I only have my Collectibles Cabinet at home.  Room is the issue.  I have several kits in mind that I would like to build, furnish and give as gifts.  I know I shouldn’t say someday…but someday I will build them.  Until then, I take great pride, and get tons of enjoyment, participating in the Real Good Toys Facebook Build-Along projects and being part of the RGT J-Team.

This post is the first in our new Miniaturist of the Month feature. Jen and I thought we would get the ball rolling.  See how easy that was?   We look forward to hearing from our customers, because we want to make you our next Miniaturist of the Month!  Email your information with attached pictures to [email protected] We can’t wait to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 [email protected] 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

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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