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 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

Real Good Toys 3rd Annual Fall Foliage Warehouse Sale September 28, 2013

Friday, June 7th, 2013

SAVE THE DATE!!!   SAVE THE DATE!!!   SAVE THE DATE!!!

Real Good Toys is having a huge warehouse sale on Saturday, September 28th, 2013 from 9AM – 4PMArrive early and stay all day.  FREE demonstrations at 11AM, presented by Gary Root (RGT’s resident Dollhouse Guru!), will cover electrifying a dollhouse as well as many creative uses for our ExtraBrite© LED Lights.  Have you ever wanted to light up your dollhouse without having to install all those tiny lamps?  Gary’s indirect lighting demo will spark your imagination and you will feel confident that YOU CAN light up your miniature dollhouse with ease!

You’ll also discover great deals on dollhouse kit closeouts, seconds, overstocks, components, accessories and so much more.  There will be door prizes, drawings, refreshments and amazing grab bag surprises!  It will be a perfect time to pickup the NEW Real Good Toys T-Shirt – celebrating 40 years of dollhouse magic!

Plan your trip now and experience Vermont’s extraordinary fall colors along the way to our warehouse.   Check out www.vermont.com for all your planning needs (dining, accommodations, other sites to visit in VT, etc.)

Directions to Real Good Toys Warehouse: 
Follow Interstate 89 (North or South) to Exit 6.
Follow Route 63 East about 4 miles to the stoplight at Route 14.  Turn left.
Go approx. 1 mile to Quarry Street, Turn Right (State Farm Insurance is located on the corner) and our showroom can be seen immediately on your left.

Everybody here at RGT looks forward to seeing you.  Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions – [email protected] or 1-866-524-0222!

Mini wishes – Jen

Join Real Good Toys at the Sturbridge Miniatures Festival

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

The Sturbridge Miniatures Festival, sponsored by Molly Cromwell, is THE biggest miniature show in New England!!  Molly has asked us to join them for the last several years but it’s never worked with our schedule…until now.  Jodi and I are so excited to attend our very first retail miniature show and display some beautiful Real Good Toys dollhouses.

This year’s show is going to be held at the beautiful Host Hotel on Cedar Lake in Sturbridge, Massachusetts and is located at 366 Main Street & Route 20.

Saturday, June 1st, 2013, we will be setting up our booth in anticipation of a great crowd.  There is an option of a Pre-Registered Preview which allows you access to early sales between 5PM – 8PM.  For $18 you receive your weekend admission, early sales, cash bar, post preview and pizza party!  Food and minis -what could be better than that??

On Sunday, June 2nd, the show hours are 10AM – 4PM.  Both days feature some very cool workshops and you can sign up now.

With 80 vendors displaying all things mini, there is sure to be something for everyone!  Not only will we be displaying some of our dollhouses and miniatures showcases, we’ll also be offering some of our very best selling dollhouse accessories, electrical supplies and probably a show special or two.  We’ll be promoting the Miniature Collector Bistro Kit Challenge contest and kits will be available at the show (no shipping costs!).

We hope you’ll save the dates and make your way to Sturbridge Miniatures Festival.  Help us kickoff June miniature style!

Mini wishes – Jen

Dollhouse Miniatures DIY Tutorials on Pinterest

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Are you a do-it-yourself kind of person?  Even if you’ve never built anything before, I know you can follow these easy dollhouse miniature tutorials and create custom one-of-a-kind dollhouse miniatures that suit your style and taste.    Whether you want to make some special miniature food, build custom kitchen cabinets, stuffed chairs, plants, blinds and so much more…Pinterest is a wealth of information and visual candy for your eyes.  Our motto is: “If you can imagine it, you can build it!”

We’ve been trying to post new DIY tutorials each week and I cannot wait to see what you all decide to create.  If you are already a member of the Pinterest community, please take a moment to check out our very popular board Tutorials for Miniatures.  If you’ve already created some of these fantastic dollhouse miniatures, we’d love to see them.  Please either post pictures on our active Facebook page or email them directly to me at [email protected].

Mini wishes ~ Jen

Real Good Toys 3rd Annual Facebook Build-Along Project Featuring JJs Dollhouse Cottage

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

The 2013 Facebook Build-Along Project is sure to be a hit again this year.  We have created the cutest little cottage for this year’s event.  JJ’s Dollhouse Cottage is a shell kit and has lots of options for expansion and customization.  The main kit will give you the dollhouse cottage shell and then you can purchase extra levels to build your dream dollhouse as tall as you’d like.  You can purchase two main kits and even put them side by side or use it as an addition to your taller main section.  The possibilities are endless and we’re sure to see some really amazing creations.  Jodi and I are so excited to be able to offer our 3rd Annual Build-Along Project in both 1 inch scale and 1/2 inch scale.  It seems to be a popular concept and I think many people will be trying their hand at the smaller scale, I know I will be!

Make sure to save the date – MARCH 1st we will begin this year’s event.  We are offering a SPECIAL PRE-BUY OPPORTUNITY Buy your kit(s) any time before February 15th and SAVE $$$$$.  All kits ordered will be shipped the week of 2/25/13 or sooner.

Check out all the pictures and details of our 3rd Annual Facebook Build-Along Project featuring JJ’s Dollhouse Cottage.

Hope you can join us – Mini wishes – Jennifer