The Dollhouse Living Room

Mid Century Modern Miniature Dollhouse

Well, folks, I think it’s safe to say I’m hooked on miniatures. I love being able to envision a space in my mind, and then instantly create it with my hands, without much concern for a budget. Things just don’t work that way when you’re dealing with life-sized home design! Ha! If only I could spend an evening sculpting a fieldstone fireplace for my actual house, and then make a funky orange sectional the very next night. Wouldn’t that be a dream? Or maybe if I could just find that one machine from Honey I Shrunk the Kids…? (I mean, if we’re dreaming, might as well dream big. Or dream small!)

I’m finally wrapping things up with this dollhouse project, and it makes me a little bit sad. You know I’ll be changing things up from time to time, and certainly adding more details. I’d love to make more dollhouses, but I don’t have room in our home to keep them, much less work on them. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to turn this new passion into something else— maybe a book about crafting a modern dollhouse? It’s something I’ve been seriously contemplating since diving deeper and deeper into this miniature world. There’s so much process to share, not to mention the plans for my handcrafted furniture, but it’s pretty overwhelming to think about properly documenting steps just for this little blog. I’d love to have a reason to beautifully present the process more thoroughly, in book-form.

Mid Century Modern Miniature Dollhouse

Above you can see the living room with a quarter thrown in for scale. I made the fireplace, curtains (and rod), sectional, coffee table, side table, floor lamp, and frames for the art I printed. The illustration over the fireplace is by Natalie Hughes (used with permission) and the yellow Woodsfolk print is from Stitch Design Co‘s Dribble. I thought those little woodland creatures would look perfect in a Calico Critters dollhouse. The ship with sharks (above the fireplace) also adds the perfect element of whimsy and humor. I may be a little obsessive about every detail— even the art!

O T H E R   S U P P L I E S :

Stitch Design Co Dollhouse Miniature

dollhouse paneling construction

The picture above shows how the first floor looked after the floors were scored and stained and after the walls were painted. You can see I used a slightly different shade of white above the untinted white paneled area. I used wood spaces to evenly place my pieces of painted bass wood trim for the paneling. I glued each little strip of wood with quick grab tacky glue and then caulked any cracks after the glue dried. (Yes I’m insane and I caulked a lot in this dollhouse because even tiny cracks become super obvious when working in 1:12 scale!) Now let’s talk about the fun details I made! DIY dollhouse stone fireplace

T H E   F I R E P L A C E

The fireplace was much simpler than I expected it to be, though I will say it was fairly time consuming. I’m estimating that it took about 3-4 hours of labor to complete. I first made the base with pieces of foam board that I glued together. (I ended up adding a bumped-out portion below the mantle area after I took the above left photo.) Then I rolled out a sheet of air-dry clay to cover the foam board. Before covering the foam board with clay, I brushed it with a liberal amount of tacky glue. Then I draped it with clay and trimmed off any excess. I made my mantle before carving the clay, so I made sure to press it into the clay, marking where I would glue in the mantle after the clay had dried out. To form the fieldstone appearance, I used a bamboo skewer to dent and scrape the clay, keeping the unworked area of clay covered with two layers of damp paper towels so the clay wouldn’t dry out. I also used a wash cloth to push in random areas to give the stones dimension, also blotting the entire surface of the stonework with the cloth to add all-over texture. In addition to the cloth, I used a thick bristled hair brush to give the stones a porous texture. I let the clay dry out for two days without handling it much— I didn’t want to risk cracking. Then I used a foam brush to dab the surface of the bricks with white primer.

After the paint dried, I added the mantle., which I made with a piece of bass wood that I scraped to give the look of rough sawn timber. I added mitered pieces to either end so the end-grain of the bass wood wouldn’t mess up the appearance of my mantle’s edges. (End grains soak up stain making them stick out like a sore thumb.) I stained the entire finished piece and then brushed with a light coat of brown acrylic paint to give the color more depth, since bass wood doesn’t take stain very well. I also added some extra tile sheeting from the bathroom project in the back of the firebox and as a little hearth. (Yes, I caulked that too!) DIY dollhouse stone fireplace

T H E   C U R T A I N S

Here is the completed room with all of the architectural details in place. Ready for decorating! First I needed to decide what kind of window treatments to use. I decided on semi-sheer white curtains, just like I have in my own home. It’s the perfect choice for those of us who are noncommittal and enjoy a simple design aesthetic. To make my curtain rod, I simply glued a trimmed bamboo skewer to wooden beads and painted it white. Then I glued the rod to the wall at the beads. The bead finials brought the rod out from the wall about 1/8″. Then I glued on each curtain panel, which I made by starching pieces of semi-sheer white cotton. I simply arranged the curtains onto a piece of foam board, using dowels to give it the gathered appearance, and straight pins poked through the fabric and into the foam board to keep everything in place before spraying with a generous amount of starch. After it dried, I removed the pins and dowels and had perfectly crispy curtain panels that were glue-ready.

I know the curtain-making procedure might be difficult to picture, so if you don’t follow me on Snapchat (mandimakes), you might not have seen the video I posted when I was making the curtains. This is exactly why I’d like to put all of this stuff into a book! So much to say… so little space on this blog to say it. (I’m trying not to turn this place into a DIY dollhouse blog.)

Modern Dollhouse Curtains

DIY dollhouse floorlamp

T H E   F L O O R   L A M P

No step-by-step pictures for the curtains, but I did manage to snap a few shots of the making of my attempt at a Panton floor lamp replica. Here’s what I used to make it— all of these items I already had on hand. Floor Lamp Materials:

  • ping pong ball
  • small dowel (I forget the diameter I used, but something skinny)
  • small wooden coin
  • primer
  • gold leaf paint
  • sand paper (something around 180-220 grit would work well)

Tools:

  • power drill
  • Xacto blade
  • glue (your preference)
  • pencil sharpener (optional)

DIY dollhouse floorlamp

Step One: Cut your dowel to the desired height of your floor lamp. Then sharpen one end with a pencil sharpener or with sand paper.

Step Two: Drill a hole in the very center of your wooden coin. This should be a hole perfectly sized for your dowel diameter.

Step Three: Glue the dowel into the hole of your wooden coin.

DIY dollhouse floorlamp

Step Four: Cut your ping pong ball in half with a sharp Xacto blade. This is easy to do, as the blade easily will follow the seam in the ping pong ball. Sand down the cut edge so it is very smooth and even.

Step Five: Drill a hole into the very center of the ping pong ball half. This should be a bit smaller than the diameter of your dowel. Step Six: Prime and paint the base of the lamp— the dowel and the wood coin.

DIY dollhouse floorlamp

Step Seven: Glue the ping pong ball shade onto the base of the lamp.  DIY dollhouse sectional

That’s it! I had to stop myself from putting a glamorous little floor lamp in each room!

dollhouse plants

I also made tons of little house plants using beads as vases and trimmed pieces of artificial floral materials. I sanded down the bottoms of the beads so they would sit straight on flat surfaces without falling over. To make cylindrical vases, I stacked together small beads, as seen on the right side of the fireplace mantle. I found a set of mini glass cloches (which I used my 60% off coupon for at JoAnn) which I placed over smaller houseplants on the coffee table for a nice little display. Making houseplants was one of my favorite little dollhouse projects!

Mid Century Modern Miniature Dollhouse

I do still have to add the stair rail, which I hope to do in time for Christmas, because I definitely bought some tiny garland that I’d like to drape on the handrail. Because I’m a crazy person! And also because I don’t have a real-life stair rail to decorate, so this is the next best thing. If not the better thing.

DIY dollhouse coffee table

Thanks for following along on this process! I get so excited to share each little detail with you, and hope that I can inspired some of you to begin your own miniature journey. And no— you don’t need kids as an excuse to do this! It’s probably easier if you don’t have children, actually, because then you don’t have to share your toys! :) Next up I’ll be sharing the kitchen. You may have caught a sneak peak of that on my Instagram. Tomorrow I’m making the vent hood and open shelving for display tiny dishes! If you don’t hear back from me, it will be because I died from the cuteness of it all.

Mid Century Modern Dollhouse

Holiday Craft Projects

gift wrapping ideas

I’m not sure if it’s the cooler weather and resulting hibernation or what, but Christmastime always seems to be the perfect time for crafting! As you might have noticed from my holiday house tour, I prefer a handmade touch for our Christmas decorations, so each year I make something new for our home. I thought you all might like to see what kind of holiday crafts I’ve done in the past, so I’ve rounded up my favorite projects I’ve shared at A Beautiful Mess and linked to them right here.

Top: Creative Gift Wrapping Ideas / I grabbed supplies from around the house to make extra beautiful gifts for friends and family. Did you notice the orange mesh I stole from a bag of clementines?

star light and holiday village

Above Left: Star Light Holiday Decoration / This star light was so easy to put together! You may have noticed it lighting up our desk in our holiday home tour.

Above Right: Simple Winter Village / I didn’t have the gusto for a gingerbread house last year, so I made this little village out of cardboard instead! It’s backlit with a strip of LED uplights.

ceramic trees and holiday wreath

Above left: Porcelain Holiday Trees / These little tree cones are simple to make with the provided cone template and some air dry clay. I used LED tea lights inside for a festive glow.

Above Right: Winter Wreath / This delicate wreath uses unusual supplies— a coat hanger and ping pong balls to name two!

gift tags and citrus ornaments

Above Left: Homemade Cards + Tags / If you like to give handmade, but your family isn’t so into handmade gifts, this is the perfect compromise! Create handmade cards and tags for your store-bought gifts.

Above Right: Dried Citrus Ornaments / While simmering citrus and spices on the stove for a fresh scented home, why not slice up some extra pieces to dry for ornaments?

cake stencils and holiday garlands

Above Left: Cake and Beverage Stencil / This is the perfect decoration for a simple naked cake or pan of brownies. I also dusted a design on the top of my homemade latte!

Above Right: Homemade Holiday Garlands / So many garland ideas, so little time! My favorite is the “PEACE” one which hangs near my front door and kitchen sink.

Making Merry in the Midwest

Making Nice in the Midwest Christmas

Welcome to Christmastime in our little Ohio ranch! This truly is my favorite time of year, and having little ones makes it all the more special. Since we’re still a young family, we’re just now creating our own traditions and watching the wonder and excitement that we’re helping to create in Lucy’s life. I’m learning to let go of my own expectations for this time of year and to be more flexible. Lucy’s actually been allowed to play with some of the decorations and she helps with everything I do, even though everything is much more difficult with little helping hands. Mom points for me! Ha! (I didn’t even rearrange the bulbs Lucy hung on the white Christmas trees above, though props to her, because she did a pretty good job!)

Seriously, though, this season is all about the ultimate gift of love, and my greatest hope is that above all else, we can teach Lucy about the love of God as we also strengthen the bonds of family and home during this season.

Making Nice in the Midwest Christmas

We just have one living room in our house— no basement, family room, sitting room, or any kind of bonus room. Just the living room. So in an effort to maximize our home’s Christmas decorating potential, we always put a tree in our dining room and mini trees elsewhere! I try not to get too crazy, because I want decorating to be fun, and not stressful. But often I dream of what it would be like to decorate a room with a mantle, or how I would adorn a stairway with evergreen and pine cones. Oh well! Maybe some day? But for now, I focus on our cozy home, happy famil,y and the gift of Jesus in our lives.

I also focus on the gift of food (aka butter and sugar) a lot this time of year. I’m not too worried about gaining a little holiday weight, to be honest. It always happens, and I’m happier indulging this time of year and dealing with the repercussions after the fact. January is what shift dresses and gym memberships were made for, right?

Making Nice in the Midwest Christmas

Lucy and I tried a new gingerbread recipe this year that we really liked from the Brown Eyed Baker. I think I might try different variations on it the next time I make it, but overall I was really happy with how soft and flavorful they were. I thought Lucy would have fun using squeeze tubes to decorate them, but it was sort of a fail for her developing muscles. Next we’ll try thumbprints, I think.

We’ve also been watching the same movies over and over when the sounds of Pandora Christmas stations aren’t filtering through our home. Mostly the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July. Today we watched the Veggie Tale’s Little Drummer Boy to make sure Jesus gets his screen time too. But as of now, it’s all about Rudolph and Snoopy.

Making Nice in the Midwest Christmas

I’ve still got more Christmas decorations up my crafty sleeves, and I can’t wait to share them with you! Later this week I’ll be cutting up fabric scraps for a last minute Christmas gift for Lucy that I’ll share at A Beautiful Mess, and also mixing up some salt dough for a project I’ve been wanting to work on for ages. Stop back soon! I’ll also be decorating Lucy’s dollhouse for Christmas, and I couldn’t be more excited!

Making Nice in the Midwest Christmas

Making Nice in the Midwest Christmas

Making Nice in the Midwest Christmas

Making Nice in the Midwest Christmas

My mom and dad are pictured above. Aren’t they precious? This is my favorite ornament that my mom made when they were newlyweds.

Making Nice in the Midwest Christmas

Making Nice in the Midwest Christmas

Making Nice in the Midwest Christmas

Making Nice in the Midwest Christmas

Making Nice in the Midwest Christmas

Making Nice in the Midwest Christmas

WHAT WE WORE | Purple Velvet

mother daughter vintage style blog

So here I was, sitting at my desk, mindlessly staring at this photo of me and Lucy wondering what in the heck I had to say in this blog post, besides, “Hey guys, we took some pictures, and here they are!” When it hit me— I’m turning my kid into a mini me, and the internet can give irrevocable proof! Yes, it’s true— turns out I had almost the exact dress Lucy is wearing, but in a larger size, because yeah… I wasn’t exactly a toddler when I wore it— I was a married lady attending an adult New Year’s Eve party! Ahhh! Click here to see the dress I’m talking about, though sadly I didn’t get a super clear shot of it. Just trust me— it’s alarmingly similar to this one Lucy’s wearing above.

Oh my goodness! Does this make me a fun mom or a crazy mom? I guess either is okay as long as Lucy doesn’t mind it. What ever shall I do when she develops her own sense of style? The answer: deal with it, I guess. It will actually be loads of fun seeing what kinds of clothes she picks out for herself when the day comes that she refuses to wear what I like. Won’t it be a laugh if she becomes obsessed with active wear and begs me to let her wear a sweatshirt to church?! (Speaking of activewear, you have to watch this video if you haven’t yet! I actually LOLed when watching it, and it’s been stuck in my head ever since.)

mother daughter vintage style blog

mother daughter vintage style blog

mother daughter vintage style blog

Speaking of church, this is what we wore to our church’s service yesterday, hence the wrinkles in my skirt. (Church services involves lots of prolonged sitting.)  Ah well! I still love it. Felt good to get some new clothes recently— the first I’ve enjoyed postpartum! Juniper didn’t join us for this mini photo shoot because she was snoozing away in her car seat. Thanks, Phil, for the photos! Here’s what we wore:

O U T F I T    D E T A I L S :

Me: blouse / skirt / scarf: thrifted / shoes: Franco Sarto 2013 (newer version here) / jacket: thrifted

Lucy: dress: vintage from Vintageous102607 on Etsy / winter cotton tights / shoes: Zimmerman Shoes / coat: vintage

mother daughter vintage style blog

mother daughter vintage style blog

mother daughter vintage style blog

 

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