The Doll House Shop in Richmond, VA – Under new ownership

Monday, October 27th, 2014
Julie Silvester, new owner of The Doll House Shop

Julie Silvester, new owner of The Doll House Shop

Real Good Toys welcomes Julie Silvester as the proud new owner of the The Doll House Shop in Richmond, VA. For many years, Julie was a regular customer of The Doll House Shop and she once told Tom O’Dea, then the owner of the shop, that her dream had always been to own her own doll house shop. Tom encouraged Julie and when he retired, he offered the shop to her.

Julie’s background is in finance and information technology.  In early 2013, she started an online dollhouse and miniature retail store to help with tuition costs for her daughter to attend a school for dyslexic children. Now that Julie has her own brick and mortar retail shop, she’s looking to expand to include space for classes and room for customers to come and work on their projects. She said many customers have been interested in this concept because they don’t have room at home to build a dollhouse. Julie envisions the store to be geared more toward children and plans to expand the store’s inventory accordingly.  Julie says, “When parents with children enter the store, the first thing the parent always says is , “Don’t touch anything!” I’d like to change that to, “Please touch all of these!”.

Julie believes that most people think miniatures is an expensive hobby or that they don’t have enough room at home to build a dollhouse.  She would like to change that perception and show people that miniatures and dollhouses come in every size and in every price range.  Julie says there is something in the miniature and dollhouse world for everyone.

We welcome Julie and wish her success! If you’re traveling through Richmond, VA, stop by and say hello.

The Doll House Shop is located at 8534 Patterson Ave., Richmond, VA 23229.

You can reach the shop by calling 804-285-8484 or by email at [email protected]

                                                                                      

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

Dollhouses for a Cause Does it Again

Monday, June 9th, 2014
Real Good Toys Victoria's Farmhouse

Real Good Toys Victoria’s Farmhouse

Since 2009, The Dollhouses for a Cause Program  at Real Good Toys has flourished and still continues to spark interest in crafty folks to use dollhouses to raise funds for their favorite charities. As I look back on 5 years of applications, I am amazed at the variety of charities and organizations that this program has benefited. As you would expect, we have sent kits to benefit hospitals, schools, libraries, churches, shelters and nursing homes. It is always nice to hear from those involved how their event turned out.

Recently we sold a dollhouse, Victoria’s Farmhouse, to the Dolphin Foundation of South Burlington, Vermont. The SB Dolphin Foundation is dedicated to the sport of youth football in South Burlington, and the Foundation decided to decorate, furnish and offer this dollhouse for auction. The event benefited the Mercy Connection of Burlington, Vermont. They are a non-profit organization whose mission is to focus on educating, mentoring and empowering individuals that have fallen on hard times. Mercy Connection enables people to make significant life changes so they can re-enter society in a responsible way. The Victoria’s Farmhouse was lovingly finished and beautifully furnished with miniatures by René and Linda LaBerge. René is the President of the SB Dolphin Foundation and he tells us that they made a slide show of the finishing and furnishing process. They also distributed Real Good Toys brochures to everyone who bid on the dollhouse. This Real Good Toys dollhouse was considered the talk of the event ,which was attended by over 300 people. René and Linda said, ” We are proud to have participated in the fundraiser for such a worthy organization and really appreciate your help in making this all possible. Thank you very, very much.”

 

Victoria's Farmhouse 1Victoria's Farmhouse 2Victoria's Farmhouse 6If you have had a fundraiser or charity event using your Dollhouses for a Cause masterpiece, and would like to share the results, I would LOVE to hear from you. We want to know how Real Good Toys dollhouses made your event a success!!

Send your information to [email protected]. I can’t wait to hear from you!

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

Ms. Peggies Place – In the Spotlight

Friday, April 11th, 2014

 

Ms. Peggie's Place, San Diego, CA

Ms. Peggie’s Place, San Diego, CA

A group of dedicated miniaturists at Ms. Peggies Place.

A group of dedicated miniaturists at Ms. Peggies Place.

How can a 700 square foot dollhouse and miniature shop have anything and everything your miniaturist heart desires? It’s true. Ms. Peggies Place in San Diego, CA is filled to the brim with delightful dollhouses, miniatures and accessories.  Michael Sue Nanos, the Proprietress of this gem, brings a lifelong love of miniatures and a career of working for Lee Ward’s, the craft industry giant that merged with Michael’s in 1994.  While working for Lee Ward’s, Michael Sue became acquainted with then frequent customer and miniature artisan, Peg Devine, the original owner of Ms. Peggies Place. Ms Devine must have seen the love of miniatures in Michael Sue. Not only did she ask Michael Sue to create custom items for the store, but in 2003 when Ms. Devine retired, she sold the store to Michael Sue.

Michael Sue Nanos, Owner of Ms. Peggie's Place

Michael Sue Nanos, Owner of Ms. Peggie’s Place

 This compact shop is well organized and amply stocked with rows and rows of miniature displays showcasing just about every type of miniature imaginable. Miniature food to miniature garage tools. Electrical supplies, trims, floor coverings, wallpaper, doors, windows, and of course, dollhouses! Michael Sue says she only carries Real Good Toys dollhouses.  She says the selection is good and there is no better quality on the market. And she adds that our customer service is amazing! Michael Sue also stocks handmade, one-of-a-kind miniature treasures, and if she doesn’t have it, she will find it for you. She carries everything needed to make a miniature house a home. Michael Sue says, “I want this to be a feel good shop.” To that end, all displays in the shop are open and touchable. She has created an inviting and friendly atmosphere in her shop.

Displays full of miniature treasures

Displays full of miniature treasures

 The people that walk through the door are Michael Sue’s favorite part of owning a miniature shop. She says, “There is a constant exchange of ideas and I’m always learning.” Ms. Peggies Place offers onsite classes for children on designing and building dollhouses and miniatures. Just call the shop at 858-483-2621 for details. The shop is located at 5063 Cass Street, San Diego, CA 92109-1810. The shop hours are Monday & Tuesday – Closed, Wednesday & Thursday – 5pm to 8pm, Friday – 12 pm to 5 pm, Saturday – 10am to 5 pm, and Sunday – 11am to 5pm. Find them on Facebook at Ms. Peggies Place and online at www.mspeggiesplace.com. You will also find a delightful and informative blog on her website. Take a few minutes and look at all of her dollhouse building projects too. They are exquisite! Planning a visit to Southern California in the near future? Put a visit to Ms. Peggies Place at the top of your list!

 Here is what customers have to say about the only miniature shop in San Diego,

…So happy I finally found a great miniature store in the San Diego area.

…This is the best kept secret in town.

…One on one service, as well as unhurried advice.

Niagara Hobby & Craft Mart – In the Spotlight

Monday, August 26th, 2013
Niagara Hobby & Craft Mart, Cheektowaga, NY

Niagara Hobby & Craft Mart, Cheektowaga, NY

Nestled in Western New York, just 10 minutes from Downtown Buffalo and 30 minutes from Niagara Falls, you’ll find Niagara Hobby & Craft Mart, the “Biggest Hobby Store in the U.S.A.!” With thousands of square feet of store to explore, Niagara Hobby & Craft Mart has a rich history filled with family traditions. While building traditions in their Cheektowaga, NY store, they celebrate families. They focus on products that you and your family can grow with…not out of.

The 1949 red Cabbose at Niagara Hobby & Craft Mart

The 1949 Red Cabbose at Niagara Hobby & Craft Mart

John Kavulich, Sr., the founder of Niagara Hobby & Craft Mart, began in the hobby business in 1945. After becoming more and more successful, expansion was the natural next step. In 1954, Mr. Kavulich started the wholesale distribution of hobbies and crafts with Niagara Hobby Distributors. From there, came the present day Niagara Hobby & Craft Mart. The store boasts four interactive working train layouts and carries HO, N-Gauge, Lionel, MTH and LGB trains. For the train history buffs, Niagara Hobby & Craft Mart has a fully restored 1949 Red Caboose in their parking lot. Just perfect for pictures! For the younger train lovers, they can have their picture taken in front of a 10 foot “Thomas the Train” engine. Speaking of interactive, families love their 150 foot six lane slot car track. They even have a 32 foot aluminum Pinewood Derby Test Track!

The Dollhouse Department at Niagara Hobby & Craft Mart

The Dollhouse Department at Niagara Hobby & Craft Mart

Niagara Hobby & Craft Mart is a full line hobby and craft store filled with everything you’d ever need for your hobby. They carry RC cars, planes and boats, artists paints and supplies, Breyer horses, slot cars, kites, Estes Rockets, military die cast and of course, dollhouses and miniatures. They have the largest dollhouse and accessory selection in Western New York, with an impressive inventory of Real Good Toys dollhouses. Miniaturists have many choices when it comes to dollhouse furnishings, paints, adhesives, electrical components and trims. The store has a dazzling display of over 10 dollhouse models, with some of them being fully furnished and electrified. Their staff is knowledgeable and dedicated to helping you find exactly what you need. If they don’t carry it, they will special order it for you.

Miniatures at Niagara Hobby & Craft Mart

Miniatures at Niagara Hobby & Craft Mart

The Real Good Toys Bostonian fully furnished and electrified.

The Real Good Toys Bostonian fully furnished and electrified.

Niagara Hobby & Craft Mart truly has something for everyone and every age. They host free Children’s Craft Workshops for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Easter. Santa, his elves and reindeer visit every weekend during the Holiday Season. The store offers free gifts for every child and free photographs with Santa. No worries if you forgot your camera. They will take the picture and it can be retrieved from their website Photo Gallery.

If all of this doesn’t convince you that you just have to visit, take a look at their Virtual Tour of the store on their website, www.niagarahobby.com. It’s just like walking through the door yourself. If you find yourself traveling through Western New York, be sure you take some time to visit this amazing store.

The store is located at 3366 Union Road (At Walden Avenue, Exit 52E off of I-90), Buffalo, NY 14225. Store hours are Monday-Saturday 10 am to 8 pm and Sunday 12 pm to 5 pm. You can reach them by phone at 716-681-1666. You can also check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

“Begin something today that you, your family and friends can enjoy for a lifetime at the store that combines quality, value, service, brands from around the globe, lots of fun and so much more. Bringing moms and dads, brothers and sisters, and family and friends together for generations.”

 

 

Real Good Toys 2nd Annual Build-Along Project Finished Dollhouse Photos

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Jodi & Jen hosted the Real Good Toys 2nd Annual Build-Along Project on Facebook again this year and it was a huge success.  The project featured the Puzzle Dollhouse kit, which consisted of 70+ pieces of various size rectangles and triangles.  Each participant ordered their Puzzle Dollhouse kit and then had to “think outside the blocks” to create their own, one-of-a-kind miniature dollhouse or building.  At first, I think many people were puzzled by the concept and believe it or not, it’s harder than you think to create the walls, roofs and room dividers yourself.  Especially when you are used to opening a Real Good Toys dollhouse kit and everything is pre-cut for you!  Once you started playing with your puzzle pieces, it really sparked our imaginations and that of everybody who shared the fun with us.  We had such creativity in our midst – we are proud to call all our Build-Along participants our friends.  It’s such a wonderful experience to be able to share our ideas and problems with everybody and get instant feedback on what may work, or not.  Each year, I know I learn something new, that inevitably helps me with my next project.  A heartfelt THANK YOU to everybody who participated in the 2012 Real Good Toys 2nd Annual Build-Along Project featuring the Puzzle Dollhouse kit.  Be sure to check out all the Build-Along Photos!

We’re already thinking about next year’s project!  We think it might simply be a dollhouse shell – with pre-cut parts.  Put your thinking caps on and stay tuned for more information!

Mini wishes – The J-TEAM

Checkout the Progess on the 2012 Facebook Build-Along Project – The Puzzle Dollhouse Kit

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

WOW – Jodi and I never expected such a great response to our 2nd Annual Facebook Build-Along Project!  The Puzzle Dollhouse Kit has really resonated with many people who love to create something in mini.  I don’t think any of us really knew what we were getting into.  As we unpacked all of our 70+ parts and completed the inventory, there was a “what have we gotten ourselves into” moment.  We were certainly “puzzled” with the huge stack of parts we had but once you start playing with those blocks, your imagination takes over.  Before you know what’s happened, you’ve created a one-of-a-kind dollhouse, market, tree house, 2-car garage or book store.  Truly, the possibilities are endless.

We’ve seen a ton of ingenuity with the Puzzle Dollhouse Kit and it’s just the beginning.  We have several more months to complete our projects.  Good thing because Jodi & I have alot of work to do!  Jodi is creating a Coffee Shop with live-in apartment above.  She had a vision of a spiral staircase and with Gary’s help, this will definitely become a reality.  I have decided to build a custom 2-car garage with man cave on the 2nd floor.  I’ll be logging the garage to match my Ponderosa dollhouse and Jodi is using these amazing bricks (which are Made in Williamstown, VT).

One thing is for certain – this is not your typical mini project.  Usually you receive one of our kits, unpack the parts and start prepping the pieces with paint, stain, etc.  This kit is a little different because you actually have to create your own walls and glue your blocks together before you can even consider painting or staining.  This is a whole new experience for Jodi & I and I’m sure many of you too, but oh what fun we are having with everybody who is participating.

If you haven’t stopped by our Event Page, make sure you do so soon and see what is so puzzling about this Build-Along Project.  You can see mine and Jodi’s progress by checking out our Photo Albums on our Facebook Page – Real Good Toys Dollhouses.

Stay tuned next month for more on the 2012 Facebook Build-Along Project – The Puzzle Dollhouse Kit!

Mini wishes,
Jennifer

The J-Team ventures into dollhouse wiring

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

 

The Kiwi-The lights are on!

Our Lilliput® Kiwi Cottage Dollhouse Kit is finally done!  After adding some finishing touches, Jen and I can proudly say that we have successfully wired a dollhouse!  Seeing your hard work come to fruition is very satisfying.  But isn’t that the case with every dollhouse you build or miniature you create?

Come on in. We've left the light on for you!

We started the Kiwi with the idea that we would focus on wiring and lighting and not so much on the finishing details.  Having said that, we still put stucco on the exterior and wallpapered a couple of rooms.  We wanted to  experience several different wiring situations while working with a couple of different fixtures. To wire a dollhouse is to take a real leap of faith.  We did lots and lots of prep work, running tapewire, spackling and using liner paper to hide the wiring.  Then we tested our work.  We actually held our breath when we held the tester to the tapewire to confirm good connections.  And then….there was light.  We got that “kid on Christmas morning feeling”.  We were on a roll. (more…)

30 years of dollhouse wizardry celebrated

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Gary Root, RGT Production Manager

When you think of momentous 30 year anniversaries that have occurred so far in 2011, you might rememer (or not) that MTV turned 30. The 30th anniversary of the 1st space shuttle launch was also celebrated this year. The most important  2011 milestone in the world of dollhouses is that Gary Root, dollhouse wizard, has been with Real Good Toys for 30 years!! Recently, the employees of Real Good Toys had a luncheon to celebrate this event. It was a very pleasant afternoon full of funny anecdotes, interspersed with a bit of nostalgia, honoring Gary’s 30 years at Real Good Toys. Gary has such a following of miniaturists through Facebook and his website, and his contributions to the success of Real Good Toys dollhouses is so important, that I thought I would let everyone know a little something about this special guy.

In 1981, Gary came to Real Good Toys by applying for an advertised job for Production Manager. The day Gary applied for the position a Powermatic table saw broke down during an important run of work. Story goes that no one knew what to do. No one knew how to fix it. Gary saw the dilemma and, althought not yet a Real Good Toys employee, rolled up his sleeves and took the motor apart. Minutes later it was back together and working like a charm. Needless to say, Gary got the job. Here we are 30 years later, and Gary is still willing to roll up his sleeves and do whatever it takes. He is the epitome of the word multi-tasking. Gary has worked at a myriad of different jobs anywhere from a gardener to a shrimp fisherman to a lumberjack, with lots of others in between. He was a licensed master electrician at the age of 18 and studied engineering at Cornell University. His experience has proven invaluable to Real Good Toys. (more…)