My Tiny Obsession

This post is sponsored by eBay.

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When I was little my grandmother had a dollhouse built for me in replica of my Great Grandmother’s big yellow house in Pennsylvania. I think my Great Grandmother had recently sold it and moved to California and it was kind of a big deal because that house had been a part of the family for a long time. I think having a dollhouse built in memory of it was a way for everyone to hold onto it for a little bit longer.

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I’d been to the big yellow house once. So I remember it. Very vaguely though. We were just there for a week or so helping my Great Grandmother pack up and move cross-country. I was little so I don’t remember any of the packing but I do remember the smell of it (old house smell, I guess) the tiny strawberries that grew in the yard and my brother falling down the stairs. That was a really big deal.

So it’s really special that I have this dollhouse still. It’s been a bit of an albatross in my life as I have moved from place to place. Not all living arrangements are conducive for big four-by-four-foot dollhouses, especially when you are trying really hard to be a minimalist. I’ve almost gotten rid of it several times but it had too much sentimental value.

The dollhouse lived in my parent’s garage for a while in a big sagging refrigerator box. I brought it back home when Bug was born thinking that someday we could work on it together. It was in the way. In fact at one point I sawed off the porch that was a really important part of the original house. Everyone was upset with me. But I just couldn’t fit this monstrosity anywhere in my life. It was the porch or the dollhouse. I chose to keep the dollhouse. Someday, when I’m feeling really super handy I might built it back on.

I used to have all kinds of really cool furniture in this dollhouse when I was little. My relatives loved to spoil me with tiny furniture on my birthdays. I’d spend hours rearranging it and making new pieces out of tiny boxes, yarn and fabric. I never really played with dolls but I loved playing with my dollhouse which is kind of how I still am today. Maybe I should have been an interior decorator after all.

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Unfortunately, when Bug finally got old enough to play with the dollhouse it became a problem. Not because she was terribly destructive. She’s pretty gentle with her toys but her friends were animals. They would come over and take everything out of the dollhouse, stuff it with stuffed animals (breaking the stair banister, that made me so sad/mad) and then leave the furniture all over the floor to be stepped on. Finally when I saw a little boy break my tiny velvet couch into two pieces with his big clumsy foot, I had to say enough.

I packed all the tiny furniture up in a box and put it away in storage. I put books in the dollhouse instead and used it as a make-shift bookshelf. It was kind of sad but I couldn’t just let the kids wreck it. This is a struggle for me on many levels. At what point do you let go of your childhood treasures and just let go? I mean you can’t hold on to everything forever, right?

For me I couldn’t let go. I let the kids play with my fashion plates and my Strawberry Shortcake dolls and lose all the little shoes and hats and accessories that I so carefully kept intact over all these years but I had to draw a line at the dollhouse. It was just too hard.

I’m writing all this to lead up to the fact that I’ve started to play with my dollhouse again. Bug’s friends are older. The crazy boys don’t come over quite as often. Now she has girlfriends who like to play school and dress up Barbies and My Pretty Ponies. The whole toy box doesn’t end up on the floor quite as much anymore and I’ve noticed they’ve started to show a respectful interest in the dollhouse.

It started with a pizza table (you know those little plastic things they put in pizza boxes to keep the lid from touching the gooey cheese on the top of the pizza) and a champagne cork. Then we covered an old check box with construction paper to make a stove…and then the dollhouse bug bit me. I LOVE playing with my dollhouse and Bug does too! I don’t care how old I am. It’s just fun!

I can’t find my old box of tiny furniture for the life of me and it’s driving me crazy. I think I left it at my mom’s house when I moved last time but I cannot find it. I’ve looked high and low. I know my mom wouldn’t throw it away but it is staying good and hid.

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In the meantime I’ve started hunting on ebay and etsy for small furniture. I have collections titled My Tiny Life and I’m A Giant. It’s super fun. It may be a sickness.

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I’ve only bought three things so far but the miniature bug has bitten me hard. Bug and I shop online together and we decide which pieces we are going to save our money up for. So far I’ve bought a tiny plastic mid-century table and chair and we’ve ordered a wooden bed with a velvet bedspread and a faux fur throw. I can’t wait until it gets here!

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Then yesterday when I was prepping this post I got bit again by the need to make tiny things for my dollhouse. Bug is gone visiting her Dad’s family in Northern California so maybe for a minute (or several hours) I turned into a kid again and played with my dollhouse. I’m guilty.

I made a little bed out of a pretty estate-sale pillowcase that was too threadbare to use anymore, some random checked fabric and bits of burlap that I have in my craft box. I just wrapped it around a box and hot-glued everything down. I’m sure if Bug had been there she would have protested that the covers are not very useful being glued down but she was not there.

Then I made a lamp out of a battery-operated tea light, some wire and a wine cork. I set it on an old thread spool I had collected ages ago and it was a little nightstand with a real working light! Tell me that that is not fun? I dare you. I lost many hours having fun. Poor me. Hah! Who needs to date when you can play by yourself with a dollhouse for hours on end? Me and my dollhouse will live happily ever after. Or least until the kids come back and reality hits me.

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I’ve always collected vintage bottle brush trees. I’m not sure three qualifies as a collection but they look pretty cool in the dollhouse along with some ornaments that almost look the right size when you take their hangers off.

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The living room was looking kind of bare so I had to make a giant ottoman. You know how I feel about giant ottomans. I just happened to have this funny square piece of decorative wood that I picked up from the hardware store on one of my many craft shopping trips. I painted some thumb tacks gold, painted the wood black and then stuck the thumbtacks in as table legs. I think it looks pretty cute. Put a tiny dish of shells on it and you can almost pretend you are photographing a luxury home by the ocean IN MINIATURE!

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So yeah. That was fun.

If you are a little bit crazy, like me, and secretly harbor a burning interest to know what all those miniature things are up there, you should check out My Tiny Life (!) on eBay.

Here’s a little rundown:

1. Really pretty Japanese Gold Leaf Screen Maybe I like it because I know I could never afford it in real life. Can you imagine how dramatic this would be in a room? So dramatic. Perhaps in Miss Plum Pudding’s room?

2. Designer Boss Chair You know you could get some BIG business done in this chair. I always knew Huckleberry was a miniature tycoon.

3. Wee Tree! in blue. These little trees move fast during the holidays. I’ve got a whole collection I’m watching here. You have to snatch these babies up fast or they are gone forever.

4. Mahogany Harlequin Bookcase I wonder what makes it Harlequin? The diamonds on the side or the fact that it could hold some tiny Harlequin Romance novels! Barbie would love that.

5. Strombacker Refrigerator and Sink Unit It’s like a little Smeg! Except tinier and dirtier and kind of disheveled, sort of like me. In fact, this little kitchen is perfect for me. I love that it’s a bit distressed.

6. Strombacker Bedroom Dresser Vanity My Grandma had one exactly like this except in brown. I think the mirror was even like that. It takes me back in time…

7. Tiny Brown Paper Package Tied Up With String… these are a few of my favorite things!

8. 1950’s Mid Century Modern MCM Table and Chair I’ve got a tiny drink umbrella that would fit perfectly in that hole.

9. Are those tiny GingerBread Men Cookies I smell? It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, in the dollhouse!

10. Gingerbread House with Gumdrop Roof Of course the tiny Gingerbread Men need a tiny Gingerbread House. Or for Hunca Munca to throw at Tom Thumb.

11. Black Daisy Pink Pillows because Barbie is fabulous and needs lots of pillows on her bed.

12. Miniature Area Woven Rug Floor Carpet Tie it all up with a beautiful hand-woven rug (of which I could never afford in my size) and I say this dollhouse is pretty enough to live in!

If you like the above, there’s more here. I hope you enjoy my collection! Be sure to follow me on eBay to check out the rest of my shoppable collections.
(My eBay Collections were curated as part of my collaboration with eBay #FOLLOWITFINDIT)

11 Comments My Tiny Obsession

  1. mamalang

    I love this!

    My dollhouse story…My grandparents bought me a wooden doll house kit. Then my grandmother decided it was too much work for my grandfather, so they took it back and bought me a plastic one. To make up for that, they bought me this little wooden furniture kit, and my grandmother put it all together. The doll house is gone, but I still have the furniture in a shoe box. This post brought back good memories for me. Thanks :)

    And by the way, yours are some of the only ebay collection posts I enjoy. Good job :)

    Reply
  2. Susan:)

    I love it! I love all the furniture and decor! I had a half finished dollhouse growing up that was too small for most of my dolls and mostly got used as a bed for my cat! But I’ve always loved dollhousescand miniatures. My grandma and great aunt collected both, and inherited a lot of Grandma’s miniatures. Someday when i have the space, I hope to have a dollhouse again!

    And I completely understand how you feel about letting kids play with your toys. I have a large doll collection, as well as a bunch of toys from my childhood. I let my nieces play with them sometimes, but I’m definitely overprotective of my toys! I dont want them ruined!

    Reply
  3. Mary

    My mom stills has all of my Barbie doll stuff and houses. I did receive a nice wooden doll house for Christmas one year, but it is still in the box! Maybe when I have kids I will try to build it myself since my dad passed away almost 13 yrs ago. I do admit that I have a fair collection of rement items…I buy them in the name of therapy but really they are for my own enjoyment :)

    Reply
    1. SAJ

      Ooooh! I didn’t know that name, Rement. I’ve seen these tiny Japanese plastic food items around and loved them but never knew they had a name/brand! Now I have a new rabbit hole to fall down. Thank you!

      Reply
  4. BeachMama

    I love your dollhouse!! I wonder if the big yellow house is still standing and yellow?? That would be something to see. I have mini furniture, but not dollhouse, go figure…

    Reply
  5. MichelleE

    Brenda- I love your posts, especially the tiny obsession. Can’t wait for the calendar to come out- it’s a bit hit on my fridge!

    Reply
  6. Just J

    Try saying the following prayer to find your lost furniture. “Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony, please come round. Something is lost and cannot be found. ~ I loved this post … I too had a treasured dollhouse when I was growing up ~ your post brought back many happy childhood memories. Even if you’re not religious .. the above prayer always seems to work. Give it a try, can’t hurt ~ St. Anthony of Padua (1195-1231), patron of the poor and was often asked for help, particularly in finding lost articles. He was a Franciscan -a member of the religious order founded by St. Francis of Assisi.

    Reply

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