It All Starts Here

Sometimes our ideas flow from an existing kit to bash, a house style to scratch (aka custom) build, or from an interesting doll who needs a place to live. Our settings are always modern-day (ca. 2001 when we started this hobby). We try to create things that will make people smile and feel good.

We think that if we had to build the same house twice, we literally could not do it! Fortunately, we have very unique little people who have definite opinions and so far, no one has wanted a house “like so-and-so” has.

We work as a family unit: my wonderful husband, my beautiful sister, and I. We don't always agree as to the direction of the build, but I think that we end up with a better dollhouse because of all our grumblings -- and we do have a lot of fun!

The Purpose of this Blog

We needed a place for all we wanted to say about the background of the build and the nuts and bolts of the design and build process. Thus this blog.

All our dolls' homes have families living in them and a story is built around their personalities and lifestyles. This story is an integral part of our building process. We would like to share these stories -- actually, the little people insist upon it!

Many of our houses are located in Fredericksburg, Virginia because that is my sister's favorite place.

Also, we have started a Rouges' Gallery with photos of our little people and information about the dolls.

If you would like to start with the dollhouse that "started it all", it is the Original Rowbottom Manse; if you would like to see the scratch-built Georgian that our first build gave us the confidence (or fool-hardiness) to do, it is Sunnybrook Farm.

Let the stories begin!

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Reflections on art work

My goodness, life has been a blur since Thanksgiving! Once I did Sunnybrook for the holidays, I got into a "musing" mode and just drifted.

One area that had a lot of thinking time was the purchase of "artwork". I found a number of nice vendors on eBay and I already have a bunch of the Jacqueline pictures. One thing I noticed immediately was that it is not easy to mix and match paintings from different vendors. The size and type of the frame, the type of paper used, and the printing process varies quite a bit. This, added to trying to compose harmonious groupings of pictorial content, could drive a person crazy. Sometimes, one can carefully merge vendors, but when this fails--one room, one vendor; and then pick groupings from that vendor.

The next sticky points are that some of the commercial paintings are not the size I want, and some of my favorite painters' works are not to be had. With regard to sizes, I like my paintings to be scaled from the "real" size, unless I need it in a different size, but still keep the aspect ratio. The other point is that the colors are "off". I love Van Gogh but his colors often lose "in the translation", plus I can't find many of my favorites. Edward Hopper's work is sadly missing so far. Also, often I find a painting I like but not any for companions!

OK, enough grumbly ... what to do? I am buying DVD/CD-Roms of artwork (eBay and Amazon), cutting pictures out of magazines (mine), and scanning artwork from books (mine and the library's). In the spring I shall take trips to my favorite museums in New York City and browse the giftshops. They often have postcards with great artwork on the picture side. I have the start of a large collection.

My collection will be printed as needed on my Epson printer. I can adjust the size and get the colors as correct as possible on my system. I print onto good quality cardstock or matte presentation paper. Posters are printed onto semi-glossy photo paper. Artwork is then glued onto another layer of cardstock, illustration board, or Bristol board--I am still experienting here. If I decide the artwork needs "brush strokes", I use gel medium. I am experimenting between little brush strokes and stipling. Some of my friends put a light spray of "lacquer" as a final coat. I think I may just use a gloss gel...We'll see.

Another solution for printing is to "outsource" it to Staples. My friend puts the artwork in a Word document and emails it to them to be printed as photos. She then picks up the printouts.

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