Monday, February 27, 2006

Dollhouse Miniatures

By Christina VanGinkel

Years ago, I worked for a company that made wood products for the gift retail market. My job there consisted of doing everything from painting and assembly, to taking inventory. Many of the pieces included assorted miniatures that would most commonly be found in dollhouses. We used them as accent pieces on the wooden scenes, and from the first time I saw a miniature set of baby blocks, none bigger than a quarter the size of a pencil eraser, I was hooked.

What exactly it was that drew me in, and made me want to collect more and more miniatures, I was never really able to identify, but I adored all the many individual items that came through our doors. Little milk buckets, tiny hay bales, rakes, rugs, rocking chairs, and more. Then, one day I brought home a couple of extra pieces that my employer told me were being discontinued from our own line, saying that I should give them to my daughter, about ten years old at the time, for her to add to her dollhouse.

My daughter had just received a custom-built dollhouse the Christmas preceding this happening. I had talked about the house at length with my co-workers, as my father-in-law had been both building it, and keeping it a secret from my daughter until Christmas morning, and this had been no small task. The dollhouse had been completed just a few days before Christmas, and we were then in the middle of decorating and furnishing it, with it just being a few weeks after the holidays when my boss was kind enough to send the extra items home with me.

Looking back, we had become obsessed with furnishing that dollhouse, to the point that someone who did not know what we were discussion might have assumed we were talking about a real house. For who would have thought that a discussion about wiring, chandeliers, and other lighting issues would be about anything other than a real house?

Anyone that collects miniatures, or collects dollhouses with the intention of decorating them with miniatures would have course known, but not your average eavesdropper!

While we never gave a thought to what size miniature to collect, as what we used at work was actually perfect scale for my daughter's dream home, there are different scales. The most popular being 1:12 or equal in size if someone were to compare a one inch measurement to one foot. An example of this would be if a rug in real life were six feet long by three feet wide, in miniature form, it would be six inches long, by three inches wide. The inch would of course be in the size of the miniature item, while the one-foot measurement would be what it compared to in 'real' life. There are sizes much smaller, and much larger. There are miniatures that are small enough to be used in a dollhouse for a dollhouse! Larger scale miniatures might be useful for a dollhouse for Barbie's, but not realistically for your typical miniature dollhouse.

Collecting miniatures is a great hobby for the young and old alike. While we were decorating a dollhouse for a child, many people both build and buy miniatures to recreate an actual historical copy of a house. This can be time consuming, and tedious, yet many people both do it, and enjoy doing it immensely, paying close detail to making sure all the pieces are as historically correct as if they were restoring a real house

Depending on what size dollhouse you are trying to furnish, chances are there are outlets for either finished pieces or kits to help you turn out every item your house could need or want. Why, building miniatures is just as popular as buying them. Thinking back to my daughter's dollhouse, I recall her wanting a large area rug to use in her living room. I searched, but when I could not find one in the colors or shape she wanted, I ended up crocheting one out of cotton yarn. It fit perfectly, and was the exact color she wanted.

If you are searching for a hobby that can be fun, or have a dollhouse in need of a major remodel, be sure to check out miniatures, as you will surely find something to peak your interest!

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