Miniaturist of the Month – Carole Risteen

Friday, November 28th, 2014
Carole Risteen- Miniaturist of the Month

Carole Risteen- Miniaturist of the Month

Carole just loves cats!

Carole just loves cats!

Real Good Toys‘ Miniaturist of the Month is Carole Risteen of Deltona, FL. Carole is someone every miniaturist wants to know.  For starters, she has been involved with dollhouses and miniatures for over 35 years. Over time, Carole has worked in three different miniature shops, and has built over 300 dollhouses. When Carole was working for Through the Keyhole in Texas, she taught classes and built dollhouses as a Santa’s helper.  She said, “Our double garage never had a car in it, but often had half a dozen or more houses under construction”. Carole has participated in four years of IGMA Guild School classes.  What is IGMA? IGMA stands for International Guild of Miniature Artisans and was founded to promote fine miniatures as an art form.  This organization holds a series of intensive training classes every year at their campus in Castine, Maine.  Carole said she has made many wonderful friends over the years. She considers this hobby her obsession.  She tells us, “There has always been some new technique or skill to learn and many old skills to share with others”. Carole confides, “It has never failed me – lifting me up in sad times and allowing me to help others along the way”.

Carole started in miniatures by making House of Miniature furniture kits. She was a buyer for a retail department store in Tucson, AZ and building the furniture kits was her way to relax.  Carole says she bought her first dollhouse in 1979 from The Doll House, Inc. in Scottsdale, AZ. Over the last 12 years, she has been able to share her love of dollhouses and miniatures with her special needs students through Morning Star School fundraisers. She hopes to continue building dollhouses for Morning Star School fundraisers, with the help of her students and her grandchildren.

Carole's Bossy Bungalow

Carole’s Bossy Bungalow

Carole and Susan with the house  they built!

Carole and Susan with the house they built!

 

Carol is an active fan of Real Good Toys Dollhouses on Facebook.  She has participated in our Build Along projects and was recently chosen as one of our finalists in our “What’s in Your Attic Contest”. She continually fascinates us with her ability to transform and customize our dollhouses in a way that makes them one of a kind.  One project she has shared with us throughout the building process is her Real Good Toys Classic Bungalow.  Carole nicknamed this dollhouse “Bossy”.  She was re-creating a dollhouse she grew up in and throughout the building process the dollhouse seemed to tell her which direction she should take with the customization. She customized the dollhouse with an extra floor and many other special touches.  Her abilities are remarkable and her work is exquisite. Now can you see why every miniaturist would love to know Carole? Not only does she love dollhouses and miniatures, she gets immense joy from sharing that love. Carole says, “…my addiction is complete and part of my retirement is minis, supplies and kits I have stock piled”.

 

Thank you, Carole, for letting us have a glimpse into your mini world and allowing us to get to know a little bit about 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 [email protected] 

I’m looking forward to letting YOUR talents shine!!sunshine 

 

Real Good Toys Dollhouse Factory Outlet Store – In the Spotlight

Monday, September 23rd, 2013
Granite Statue in Barre

Granite Craftmanship in Barre

Granite Quarry

Granite Quarry in Barre, VT

What does Real Good Toys, the leading dollhouse manufacturer,do when local miniaturists can’t find the dollhouse they’ve been wanting? The answer was right in front of us – open a Dollhouse Factory Outlet Store right here in our own warehouse, of course! Barre is centrally located in Vermont and just a little over 3 hours north to Montreal and the same going south to Boston. The city is touted as the Granite Center of the World, with many fine examples of granite craftsmanship throughout. Barre is also home to Rock of Ages, the Goliath of the granite industry. The Rock of Ages Granite Quarry is an open-pit granite quarry nearly 600 feet deep and 50 acres in surface area. What does this have to do with Real Good Toys? Real Good Toys lives in an old granite shed that was once occupied by Lawson Granite Company. Parts of this building are over 100 years old.  If you drive around the city, you will find quite a few old, rambling warehouses that were once active granite manufacturers that now house other types of businesses. Barre is a great place to live, work and visit.

Welcome to the Sale!

Welcome to the Sale!

In the Spring of 1988, Real Good Toys moved from their much smaller quarters in Montpelier to their own rambling 26,000 square foot warehouse here in Barre. Ruggedly built of massive timbers, there is still a crane in the rafters of our factory that was once used to move gigantic granite blocks from place to place in the building. We wasted little time in spreading out, and we filled every nook and cranny with inventory and raw materials. Real Good Toys now had the tools needed to push forward and continue to grow. We expanded our product line, designing exciting new products that gave our customers a greater selection of dollhouses.

Real Good Toys Dollhouse Factory Outlet

Real Good Toys Dollhouse Factory Outlet

Fast forward to 2009. We learned that the last of the retail businesses selling our products in Vermont had closed their doors, leaving no alternatives for dollhouse shoppers. We continued to receive calls from people traveling through the state asking where they might buy our products. It was very discouraging not to be able to offer sources where folks could buy Real Good Toys dollhouses within Vermont. After much thought, speculation, planning, some renovating, and then more planning, the Real Good Toys Dollhouse Factory Outlet Store was born.

Sue,Assembly Manager

Sue, Real Good Toys Assembly Manager

The store resides within our Assembly Department, allowing Sue, our Assembly Manager, to wear two hats. Frequently she will be assembling or painting a dollhouse just behind the front desk while folks browse and ask questions. When they are ready to check out, she hops behind the cash register to tally their purchases. Sue is happy to run through the basics of beginning your dollhouse project with anyone who needs help. The store is a bright and friendly place, with lots of dollhouse models, furniture, accessories, seasonal miniatures, and depending on the holiday, lots of life size decorations nestled in between the dollhouse and miniatures. Recently, we spruced up a part of the factory to create our Clearance Area, which is adjacent to the store. Here is where you’ll find old prototype and sample dollhouse kits, odd components and trims, and sometimes you’ll come upon a box of miscellaneous parts that even we can’t identify. You’ll find the Clearance Area is packed full of great deals you just can’t pass up.

Wiring Demo

Gary giving a wiring demo at the 2012 sale

Discover Great Deals!

Discover Great Deals!

With Mid-September upon us, everyone at Real Good Toys is gearing up for our 3rd Annual Fall Foliage Clearance Sale on Saturday, September 28th, 9 am to 4 pm. It’s all hands on deck, as we stock up all the shelves and dust off some more merchandise so you can rummage to your hearts’ content. We’ll have those special grab bags, door prizes, drawings and refreshments. Gary, our Production Manager and resident Dollhouse Wizard, will be hosting a free workshop at 11 am entitled “Creative Uses of LED Lighting”. You’ll find us right next to State Farm Insurance at 10 Quarry Street. You can’t miss the store front – it looks just like a dollhouse. Come early and stay all day. Late September promises to be a beautiful time of year with our fall foliage at peak color.  Perfect for sightseeing and snapping photos. We can’t wait to meet you! Everyday store hours are 9 am – 4 pm, Monday through Saturday. If you can’t make the sale, not to worry. There are specials deals everyday! The direct line to the store is 802-477-6464, or call Jodi or Jen at 802-479-2217. While you’re in the area, check out the many activities Central Vermont has to offer. Read more about the sale and the store at www.realgoodtoys.com.

Fall in Vermont

 Come and visit the spot Real Good Toys has created for all the dollhouse and miniature enthusiasts in Vermont, and neighboring states, to get the dollhouse of their dreams!

 

  

 

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…)

Customizing a Victoria’s Farmhouse, part 4

Monday, December 13th, 2010

More Wiring:

use the layout stick from the EL-66 to mark for tapewire   Run the tapewire around the attic partition

The Dividers are in, and it’s time for a bit more wiring.  (more…)

Dollhouse Donation brings good things to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Larry Fleming from Arizona needed a little help from his friends at Real Good Toys in early April.  He was building the Painted Lady dollhouse for a very special auction.  He realized, at some point, that he painted the interior window frames the wrong color and it just wouldn’t do.  He needed to order some more frames so he could correct his color scheme.  Time was of the utmost importance because there was a deadline for the auction donations to be submitted.

We got Larry the parts he needed in plenty of time for him to correct and finish the Painted Lady dollhouse.  This beauty was donated to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital for their Spring Auction, which is one of their biggest fundraisers.

The Painted Lady dollhouse by Larry FlemingThe Painted Lady dollhouse by Larry Fleming

Larry wished he had enough time to electrify the house but didn’t want to risk missing the deadline for submission.  They were able to purchase the wallpaper, textured ceiling paper and miscellaneous dollhouse building supplies from a couple of stores in the Phoenix area that have a very nice selection of miniatures and supplies.

Larry used Dutch Boy paint: Willy Willow for the housebody, Duncan’s Delight for the dark trim, Nectar Fizzle on the orange accents, Satin Brilliant White on the white accents and Kilz paint Golden Corn for the yellow accents.

Larry you did an amazing job and I’m sure the Phoenix Children’s Hospital was very grateful for your kind generosity!  Thank you so much for sharing with all of us!

Mini wishes – Jennifer

Having fun with dollhouse paint colors

Thursday, April 15th, 2010
Real Good Toys Classic Bungalow

Real Good Toys Classic Bungalow beautifully finished by Lynlott Miniatures in Pittsburgh, PA

Visualizing and choosing colors for your dollhouse can be a challenging task. You think (and hope) that the colors you’ve chosen will look good together and more importantly, look good on your dollhouse. Well not to worry – Benjamin Moore has a fun, interactive page on their website called the Personal Color Viewer. This will take most of the guesswork out of the task and you’ll be looking at color combinations  for every room of your dollhouse before you’re through. You can even upload your own photos so you can see how your very own dollhouse would look with different color combinations! Yes, it’s really for life size houses, but it’s a great resource for the mini decorator too. Benjamin Moore also sells 2 ounce color samples so you don’t have to buy a whole quart of paint just for trimming your dollhouse. You’ll also find many other paint retailers who sell these 2 ounce samples for your convenience. Real Good Toys has always recommended Benjamin Moore paints for your dollhouse. We always say the better quality paint you use, the more beautiful your finish will be. So go ahead and have fun with dollhouse paint colors!

Dancing with Paint

Friday, March 13th, 2009

There are two principles at work in dancing back and forth between painting and gluing when building a dollhouse.  The structural strength of a dollhouse requires gluing to un-painted surfaces, but the tidy look of clean paint-lines requires that the parts are painted before they are glued together.  How can you do both?

The short answer is to plan ahead – to assemble before painting where the colors are the same, and to paint before assembly where they are different.  Well, like most short answers, that’s not always true.  (more…)