Friday, February 21, 2014

Building a Dollhouse, Part 1

Since building the Fairy Tree Dollhouse, I think I have been seriously bitten by the dollhouse bug. I had so much fun finding furnishings and decorating it.  When you love small dolls, it's wonderful to have a dollhouse for them.  I've actually always loved dollhouses and miniatures too.  When my daughters were really into Lego's, I wanted all of the house kits.  We have several Lego house kits, and those were my favorites to build, play with and just look at. Our Lego house kits are built and displayed on shelves in my daughters' room.

Last summer, we found a big dollhouse kit on clearance at Tuesday Morning.  I bought it on impulse (something I rarely do) because of the bargain price. The list price was $499.99, but Tuesday Morning's price was $199.99. They had marked it down to $139.99, and that weekend all clearance toys were an additional 70% off. Final price was $44.94 with tax. It is a House That Jack Built Rose Marie Dollhouse Kit. It is currently available on Amazon for $221.51, so I think $45 was an excellent bargain.

I guess I was a bit intimidated by the unknown task of building this large dollhouse, so it sat unopened for 9 months. Building the Fairy Tree Dollhouse must have given me just the encouragement I needed to get started on this kit. So this week, I finally opened the box.  Before I got started, I did some research online about building dollhouse kits.  I could't find any information on this particular kit, but I did find a wealth of information on dollhouse construction.  

If you're interested in learning more about dollhouses, check out Joanne's Minis Blog.  She has a whole series of videos on YouTube filled with information on Miniature Building Construction starting with Step 1.
You can also find Joanne's Mini's on Facebook.  

Also, check out Dollhouses and the Things that Go in Them on Facebook. That's Sharon's Facebook dollhouse community where you'll find lots of cool dollhouse info.  Sharon did the awesome tutorials that inspired my Fairy Tree Dollhouse. 

Here's what I've done so far...

Step 1 - Checklist - Check to make sure all of the pieces were included in the box. This should have been done immediately after purchasing the kit to make sure there were no missing parts. The instruction booklet included a parts check list, and fortunately all parts were present and accounted for.  

Step 2 - Primer - I primed all the parts with a water based primer. I decided to stain the original dollhouse floors, so I didn't prime those. You won't be able to use a wood stain on any wood that you have put primer on.  I stained the three floor boards on the top side with Minwax stain. I primed the opposite side of floor 2 and 3 since those would be ceilings. I haven't done anything to the stairs or stair railings yet, because I can't decide whether to stain or paint them.  

Priming the pieces

Step 3 - Dry fitting - I read alot about dry fitting the pieces together before you assemble them with glue and nails to make sure everything fits. I used masking tape to hold the pieces together. I'm glad that I didn't skip this step because now I have a much better idea of how it all goes together, which will help with the building process. 

Dry fit - The interior
Here's what it looks like from the front of the house. I used containers of dog food to help support the heavy sides of the house in addition to the masking tape.

Dry fit - The exterior

I only left it together long enough to take a couple pictures and quickly take some measurement of the interior rooms for wallpaper. Since this is a cabinet grade kit, the pieces are 3/8" thick, which means there are a lot of very big heavy boards held together just with masking tape.

I hope to get started on the actual building process with glue and nails tomorrow. Please leave a comment below if you'd like to see future updates and more pictures of this project. Also, if you have built a dollhouse, I'd love to hear from you. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!  

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Bargain Hunting at Target, Wal-Mart, Disney, and More

I love bargain hunting.  Shopping is always fun, but it's so much more fun when you find a great deal.  I thought it was about time for another bargain hunting post so I could tell you about the bargains I've found recently. I'd like to pass along the word about bargain finds to everyone so they can look for them in their local stores.

Disney Animators' Collection Dolls

You can't find a better bargain than free!  That's right, I got two Disney Animator's Collector Dolls from Disney for FREE!  Have you heard of Disney Movie Rewards?  In case you haven't, this information is definitely worth sharing.  Inside every Disney DVD or Blu-Ray movie, you'll find a little slip of paper with a code on it.  Sign up for an account at and put in the code for each Disney movie you buy.  These codes are in every Disney DVD or Blu-Ray that you buy anywhere.  You can also get points for movie theater tickets, surveys, etc.  Your points will be automatically saved in your account, and when you have enough points, you can order FREE stuff from Disney.  We recently ordered with our rewards points and were able to get both Jasmine and Mulan 16" Animator Dolls.  Disney sends out your rewards totally free, you don't even have to pay for the shipping. Here are our adorable new girls, Mulan and Jasmine.

Disney must have had some leftover Mulan and Jasmine dolls from the old series of the Animators' collection, which they have now put into the movie rewards program. Even though we just received them, they are the older style with their little pets. The newer Animator dolls' outfits are a little different and they no longer come with a pet.

The back of Mulan and Jasmine's boxes.

Disney Princess & Me Merida

We found Merida on clearance at Target.  She was originally $39.99 at Target, but they had her marked down to $19.98.  Half price seemed like a really good deal, too good to pass up. Merida is bigger than Mulan and Jasmine, and she has a more mature look too.  I haven't opened her yet, but from what I read she is an 18" doll, although she appears to be thinner than an American Girl.

She has a cute face.  I love her freckles.

Life in the Dreamhouse Barbie

We found this adorable new "Life in the Dreamhouse" Barbie set at Ross for just $14.99. The set includes both Barbie and Midge.  I think the price at Ross for the two pack is closer to what one single doll sells for elsewhere. The Life in the Dreamhouse Barbie dolls are modeled after the new series of "Life in the Dreamhouse" webisodes that you can watch online at They look different than the average Barbie and Midge dolls, and they have more posability.

The back of the box shows artwork from the Life in the Dreamhouse webisodes.  

These Barbie and Midge dolls are adorable. They both have rooted eyelashes, which I love! I think this version of Midge is especially cute.

Kawaii Crush

Target also had several of the Kawaii Crush tiny dolls on clearance. The sets that were originally $5.99 were clearance priced at $1.78. We got Chilly Millie Yip Yip.

We also got Sunny Bunny Hop Hop.

We found another Kawaii Crush bargain at Ross for just $6.99. Betty Teddy Zoom Zoom is a cute little set that includes a tiny doll, a car, and some other accessories.

Mini Lalaloopsy

Browsing the toy aisle at Wal-Mart, I spotted two of the cutest Mini Lalaloopsy sets I had ever seen.  Both sets included the most adorable kitchen furniture.  I put both sets in my cart and took them to the scanner, thinking they would be a lot.  I was thrilled when both sets scanned for just $5 each.

Berry's Kitchen

Crumbs' Tea Party

I don't know if these sets are old or new, but I know they are new to this Wal-Mart because I've never seen them there before.  The furniture has lots of details like plates shaped like buttons, a safety pin stove handle, spools of thread for the table leg, and chairs shaped like cookies.

Here is a closeup of the table and chairs that comes with Crumbs' Tea Party.  The chair legs are a little fiddly and sometimes fall out.  I will definitely glue them in as soon as I can find out what kind of glue to use.

Here's a closeup of Berry's Kitchen stove and sink.

Here's a picture of everything together that is included in these two sets.

These kitchen sets can be fun to use for other dolls too.  Twinkle wanted to give it a try.

Hallmark Kitchenette

The local Hallmark store has all their Hallmark ornaments on sale for 75% off. I got the Kitchenette for just $3.75.

The oven and cabinet doors open and close.

This would make a perfect size kitchen for mini dolls.  Here it is with Twinkle for size comparison.

Li'l Woodzeez

Li'l Woodzeez are very similar to Calico Critters.  I'm a fan of Calico Critters, but I've never purchased any of the Li'l Woodzeez.  I've only seen Li'l Woodzeez at Target, so I was very surprised to find two Li'l Woodzeez families at Wal-Mart on the clearance aisle for just $4.00 per set.  That comes out to just $1 per animal, which is a good deal for these cute little animals with clothes.  I didn't know Wal-Mart carried Li'l Woodzeez, since I'd never seen them in the store before.  Oddly enough, Li'l Woodzeez are not even available on

Bushytails Squirrel Family
Waterwaggles Beaver Family

Target carries Li'l Woodzeez both in the store and online at  I was also surprised to see that not only does sell Li'l Woodzeez, but they also have Calico Critters on their website.  Calico Critters are only available online at though, not in Target stores.

So check your local Wal-Mart's clearance aisle if you're looking for a bargain on a Li'l Woodzeez set.

Dollhouse Shelf

We found this adorable little house shaped display shelf at Target for just $10.99.  It comes with hangers on the back, so the shelf can be mounted directly on a wall.  It would be so simple and cute to set it up as a little dollhouse room diorama.

Here it is with the mini Lalaloopsy sets.  This would also work well for dolls that are just a little larger. It would be so cute to decorate the walls with scrapbook paper to make it look like a decorated little room.

Hair Accessories

We found the cutest doll sized hair accessories at Wal-Mart in the baby clothes department.  These tiny ribbons, bows and clippies were on clearance for $1 per set.  I think they are a bargain even at the regular price of $2.50 per set for some adorable hair accessories, perfectly sized for dolls.  The tiniest ones are the sets on the round cards (these must be designed for the youngest babies).  Some come with one clip of each color per round card, so you may want to get two sets if you want a matching pair.

We had fun trying all these new hair accessories on our dolls.


I hope you are finding lots of great bargains where you live.  I'd love to hear about them. Please leave a comment below to tell us about your latest and greatest finds.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Wilde Imagination's So Sweet Sale

If you've been thinking of adding Patience, Ellowyne, or Amelia Thimble to your collection, you may want to check out Wilde Imagination's "So Sweet Sale" this weekend. Use promo code XOXO14 to get free shipping plus $14 off your order of $100 or more. Sale ends tomorrow night, Sunday, Feb. 16 at

I'm excitedly awaiting a new little girl who has been on my wish list for quite a while.    
Anyone know who she is?

Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, February 10, 2014

BJD Fairy Tree Dollhouse Craft Project

I wanted to share the craft project that I've been working on lately.  I've always been fascinated by all kinds of dollhouses.  I recently stumbled on to a tutorial on YouTube for how to make realistic tree bark.  The video made it look so simple and fun that I decided to make my own tree stump fairy dollhouse.  So here is my tree stump dollhouse craft project and some pictures that I took along the way.

First of all, here is a link to the awesome Realistic Tree Bark tutorial by Sharon Ojala. Her tutorial was the inspiration for this dollhouse project.  This would make an adorable dollhouse or diorama for any doll.  You can make it as big or small as you like to fit any size doll.  It is an affordable project that can be made with things you probably already have like cardboard, newspaper and glue.

I started off with two plain unfinished cardboard hatboxes from Hobby Lobby.  I stacked a medium oval on top of a large round and glued them together.  You could use plain cardboard and just curve it into the shape that you want instead of using the hatboxes.

I used an X-acto knife to cut the boxes into the shape I wanted.  I decided to leave the top open to make more light for taking pictures.  I carved away at the top first.

Then I cut the bottom floor of the dollhouse from the lower box.  I cut two round windows in the lower floor to add some extra light in there.  I added an extra piece of cardboard with the shape of tree roots and glued it to the bottom.  Then I started adding the layers of newspaper.  I had never tried paper mache before, but it's pretty simple.  I made a solution of one part white glue to two parts water.  Dip strips of torn newspaper in the glue/water solution, squeeze off the excess, and apply it to the cardboard.  The first layer was applied flat and smooth.  I wrapped that first smooth layer around the edges of the box where I had cut it.  Let the paper dry completely between layers.

The next layer is where the magic begins.  Lay the glue/water newspaper strip on the outside of the house, then scrunch and wrinkle it to make it look like tree bark.

Cover the entire outside including the root area with this wrinkled scrunched up pieces of newspaper.

Once that layer dried overnight, I added a layer of scrunched paper towels for more texture.  For this layer I used regular Scott paper towels, dipped in the same glue/water mixture with the excess squeezed out well.

Once the glue was completely dried, I began painting the outside completely with a base coat of brown craft paint.

Next I covered the outside with a coat of Minwax Wood Stain in Light Oak.  This did a good job of soaking into all the tiny crevices of the bark.

At this point the inside is still completely bare.

Once the stain was dry, I came back and started adding other colors to the bark.  Black in the deeper creases to add depth, and dry brushed lighter tan, yellow, orange and green colors over some parts to add dimension.

Moving to the inside, the walls and the floors are covered with wooden coffee stir sticks.  I followed Sharon's technique from her Wooden Floor Tutorial video.  Coffee stir sticks are wonderful to work with.  These small lightweight wood strips can be cut to the size and shape you need with regular household scissors.  They cut smooth without splintering.  These are individually cut to size, dry fitted in place, then glued in with a hot glue gun.

The wooden coffee stir sticks would completely cover the walls and the floor, but this would leave an exposed cardboard edge around the front of the floors.

I used garden cutters to cut a grapevine wreath into small pieces, then cut the pieces in half and glued them along the edge of the floor to give it a nice finished edge.  I applied a coat of MinWax Wood Stain to the walls and floors.  

Once the stain was dry, I applied a coat of Linseed Oil inside and out, to seal the walls, floors and the tree bark.

I glued tiny grapevine wreaths to the windows.

I got the idea for the wreath window treatments from Disney's Tinker Bell movie. 

Here is the dollhouse all done, ready for furniture.

I added a branch from the grapevine wreath to the outside which makes a nice perch for these two little birds.  The tiny birds are from Hobby Lobby's miniature dollhouse section.

I added metal steps to the side of the dollhouse.  These were a thrift store find.  I'm not even sure what the item was that these came off of, maybe some kind of candle holder.  I should have taken a picture of it before I broke it to get them off.   

These metal steps make a good doll stand for a BJD since they have magnets in their feet.

I added tiny silk flowers to the outside of the tree trunk and around the roots.  The moss is from Hobby Lobby's model train section.  It is called Lichen, and it had a mix of both light and dark green mosses.  I love the look of the Lichen, but I need to find another craft project to use it on because I have a ton left over.  I made the little mushrooms from polymer clay.

I love the look of the back of the dollhouse as much as the front.

Here is the front with all of the furnishings.

The stove is a thrift store find.  It is made of cast iron.

The chairs are from Hobby Lobby's Garden department.  These are fairy garden chairs.  They are made of resin, but look like branches.  Perfectly sized for RealPuki.

The adorable bed, tables, and stools are all from the Etsy shop, Rustic Miniatures.

I made Twinkle's friend Totoro from polymer clay.

Twinkle loves her new fairy house.

The windows are the perfect height for Twinkle.

She's watching for company to come by.

Come by and visit anytime.

And don't forget to take time to stop and smell the flowers.


I just uploaded a video tour of Twinkle's dollhouse.  Click the picture below to watch the video tour.