Friday, May 30, 2014

Meet My First Antique Doll - Kestner #154

I got my first antique doll today. She is a bisque Kestner #154.

I've been researching antique dolls for a little while now, and I really like the French and German dolls. Kestner dolls were made in Germany from the 1820's until 1938.

She has a bisque shoulder head, brown sleep eyes, beautifully painted eyebrows, and lashes. Her cheeks are blushed a rosy pink. Her mouth is partially open and you can see her tiny teeth inside.

Believe it or not, I think my admiration for antique dolls started at Goodwill. I saw a large framed picture of an antique doll in Goodwill. The doll lover in me fell in love with the doll in that picture. I didn't buy the picture (kicking myself), but I did take a picture of it with my phone.

I came home and kept thinking about the beautiful antique doll in the picture. She wore a little pin on her dress that said Bebe. I looked up Bebe and found the Bebe Jumeau dolls. These very beautiful French dolls are in high demand and sell for thousands of dollars.

Since then, I started paying more attention to the antique dolls that I occasionally saw in antique stores, and I'd come home and research what I saw. I also started watching ebay auctions to get an idea of the current value. A few days ago, I decided to bid on this little Kestner and won.

She stands 16.5" tall.

She wears a brown wig that hangs in ringlets.

The back of her neck is marked 154 dep 5.

She has an ivory cotton dress with pin tucks and a ruffled collar. It closes in the back with snaps. She also came with black socks and black boots.

Her petticoat is made of the same fabric as her dress and has a lace trim. It closes in the back with a button and buttonhole closure.

Her pantaloons are also made of the same fabric, but they have a hook and eye closure.

She came with a straw hat that has the tiniest pink roses on it. I don't think the hat is old, but I can't tell if the clothes are old or not.

She has a gusseted kid leather body.

When you lay her down, her eyelids close.

I found a tear in the leather just under her bottom in the gusset where her leg bends at the hip. She is filled with a finely ground wood like sawdust. If anyone knows how to repair the kid leather, please let me know.

Her lower arms and hands are made of bisque. The red mark on the kid leather on her upper arm may be where she was originally marked Made in Germany in red.

Here she is all dressed back up and sitting on my bed with my antique doll tapestry pillows.

Finally here she is with Hitty Etta (which reminds me, I need a name for her).

Since Hitty Etta is named after my paternal Grandmother, I was thinking of naming her Lizzie, after my maternal Grandmother, Elizabeth. Or maybe Leah, after my husband's mother, who passed away almost 25 years ago, when we were expecting our oldest daughter.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and name suggestions. Please leave a comment below.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Dollhouse Progress Update Part 8

Lots of changes, both inside and out, are happening with the dollhouse, and I'm very excited to share an update on the progress. On the exterior, the stone foundation and the patio are finally finished. Well, not completely finished, but the stonework is done, and I love how it turned out! I'm working on a stonework tutorial to show how to do this.

I wasn't really happy with the balcony railing that came with the house. Here is what the balcony looked like before.

Balcony - Before

I built out the balcony a little and changed the railing to this iron-look railing. I think it has a touch of a New Orleans French Quarter feel to it now.

Balcony - After

More pictures of the balcony and stonework.

Here are the exterior before and after pictures.


Back inside, there's lots of changes here too. The dollhouse kit included staircases and railing for the 1st and 2nd floor, but no 3rd floor railings were included.  This left a huge hole in the 3rd floor at the staircase. This picture was taken before I added the finials to the newel posts.

Before - no stair railing
on the 3rd floor

I didn't want any dollies falling down the stairs, so I decided to build my own 3rd floor stair railing. The spindles are different, but I painted them to match the 1st and 2nd floor railings.

What was once a big hole in the floor is now a usable space.

I found this child size bunk bed set at an antique store this past weekend. It's not antique, but it was quite a bargain at just $6.

The bunk beds can also unstack to make adorable twin size beds. Now I just need to make some bedding for them.

On the left side of this huge 3rd floor room is the baby's area.

The sweet baby in her bed.

Amelia Thimble looks after the baby from the comfy rocking chair. The rocker, which was a $1 flea market find, was originally brass, but I painted it white.

Here is a current view of the whole 3rd floor kids room.

On the 2nd floor, the bathroom has gotten a few finishing touches. I hand painted roses on wood to go above the refinished cabinet.

Lacy curtains and border, roses, and pink towels and tissue makes for a very girly bathroom.

I handmade all of the matching shelves and the towel rack from wood.

I dry brushed the edges of the mirror with white paint and added a pretty pink rose.

Current view of the bathroom.

The bedroom is also making progress with some new furniture including a walnut bed, two nightstands, chest of drawers, and a trunk. I have plans for lots more accessories to add to this room, but it is already developing it's own old fashioned vintage style.

I added a vintage lace bed skirt to the bed. I purchased the vintage lace from an estate sale. The sweet patchwork quilt is from orlady49 on eBay. She makes lovely, affordable doll size quilts in every color and fabric you can imagine. On the nightstand is a mini alarm clock and the mini Hitty, Her First Hundred Years book from the kit at

The lace curtains are topped with a garland of roses. There is a real working Tiffany lamp on the night stand.

Since my dollhouse is not wired for electricity, there is actually a 9V battery hidden under the bed to power the lamp. This is a regular wired dollhouse lamp and a standard 9V battery. I was able to purchase four of these battery connector wires from eBay for less than $5. Here's a link to them if you want to check it out.

Just plug it in and hide the battery under the furniture. A simple inexpensive solution to add regular dollhouse lighting to a non-wired dollhouse.

Atop the chest of drawers is a candelabra and a photo of Hitty. The candelabra originally had a brass finish, but I repainted it white and gave it an antiqued finish.  The Hitty photo was also included in the mini Hitty book kit from

The puppy is in the kitty's bed, and kitty has taken over the big bed.

The kitty is from Hobby Lobby. I decided to repaint him to look like our kitty, Monroe. The kitty was glued down to the bed, but he came off easily. Since I was repainting, I decided to also repaint the black basket bed an antique white to match the room.

Before - Original Kitty & Bed
After repainting Kitty & Bed

Our kitty, Monroe, is named after a really sweet character from one of our favorite TV shows, Grimm. We are big fans of both Once Upon A Time and Grimm!

I'm thinking about making the room next door a craft room for sewing, painting, and other crafts. An artist easel with lots of painting supplies would be great over by the window.

Next to the staircase is an antique style sewing machine.

On the other wall, there's another sewing machine on a table with some sewing notions. The baskets on the shelf under the table hold more supplies.

There's a metal sewing box of threads and other supplies, a pattern, scissors, and fabric on the table.

Finally, here is a current view of the inside of the entire dollhouse.

Next, I'm planning to work on some furnishings for the living room.  I'd love to hear your thoughts, opinions, and suggestions. Anyone interesting in a stonework tutorial? Please leave a comment below.