Can't quite remember the last time I took a relaxing soak in the tub to just slow down and indulge. The Cubebot challenge was such great fun, but it really took a lot out of me. I enjoyed it all, but kept myself quite busy and focused on making it a success. Mini Modern posted about her win, and Fran let me know that she already received her goodies! Congrats again, gals, and thanks again to AREAWARE and to all the entrants.

A quick recap of this scene: the modern tub is a soap dish from Bed, Bath, and Beyond or Target, don't remember, with a faucet from a large scale kitchen set. I always hunt the clearance section for random bath accessories and other adaptable pieces. My rule of thumb: always take a look, and then a second look. If you see something you think you might just use, pick it up!

The side of the stairwell is covered in strips of yellow flowered washi tape. I love the stuff, and always pick up rolls when I see them. They adhere well and even come off quite easily. The flooring is wonderful paper from Lee's Art Shop. Heavenly!

The cork backing is actually a flooring sample from Lowes. They are not free, but are quite affordable at .99/each. The towel is cut from a piece of adhesive-backed felt from Jo Ann Fabrics; it can be shaped and draped quite effectively.

I hope to post some more updates on a few other mini projects soon...I've been getting crafty! Perhaps I will get to completing some work over winter break.

By the way, speaking of projects, if you have been looking for an Artply Highland and are up for some light renovating, Lori has one for sale for pickup in Jacksonville, FL. It's in great condition and just needs some updating. You can see an album of photos on the Call of the Small Facebook page. Lori is asking $150/OBO. Please email me if interested at call-small(at)call-small(dot)com.

Credits: Tub is a soap dish; plant is Manor House Miniatures in a Playmobil planter; side table is brinca dada; chair is by Pepper of MitchyMoo Miniatures. Accessories are AG Minis, Re-ment, Petite Princess, beads, and random eBay finds.

The time it took me: 57 minutes

Cubebot Challenge: The Winners!

The results are in for the Call of the Small/Cubebot Challenge

First, I want to thank AREAWARE for being true collaborators in the challenge. They were invested in the process, enthusiastic, and appreciative of all the Cubebot love. I also want to thank all of the entrants. The submissions, which came from all corners of the world, were all so creative and fun, and made great use of the new Micro Cubebot, as well as other Cubebots.

Congrats to all the entrants for their thoughtfulness, time, and humor (alphabetical by first name):

Anna - Italy

Jaz of Jazzi Minis - Australia

Mandy of Mini Modern Mind - The Netherlands

You can view all the submissions in the Call of the Small/Cubebot Challenge Flickr stream - there are more than sixty lovely photos!

The folks at AREAWARE and yours truly had a difficult decision to make in choosing the overall winner of the challenge and the runner-up, but we did come to a unanimous decision.

D R U M R O L L . . .

The WINNER of the challenge was cited for her incredible photography, natural lighting of the scene, and inventiveness in using her bot in a realistic-looking, chic, modern environment. We wanted to LIVE in this space. The WINNER is...

Mini Modern! Mini Modern wins $200 to spend on the AREAWARE website. Enjoy!

And the RUNNER-UP was noted for her creative use of the bot, with the environment cleverly reflecting the bot's cubed existence. And it is very festive, too, with wonderful photography and styling. The RUNNER-UP is...

Fran of FranMadeMinis! Fran will receive an assortment of bot-related goodies from AREAWARE! Have fun!

Congrats to the winners, and thanks again to all for participating and following along these past few months. I had a blast, and continue to be amazed by the depth and range of creativity in this mini community!

Keep Calm

This is intended as a super-quick post, mostly because I am sleep-deprived and should go to bed!

This bold wallpaper of stacked houses from the Paper Source is so great...I love the saturated color, especially the inky black background. It set the stage for the rest of the scene. Cyd of Mini Mod Pod  created the awesome pillow, perhaps a sentiment shared by many out there???

Good night!

P.S. Stay tuned for the winners of the Call of the Small/Cubebot Challenge. The announcement is coming very soon! Until then, check out all of the submissions on Flickr.

Credits: The bed is made of a soap dish, coasters and a lucite drawer pull; white coverlet is handmade by The Shopping Sherpa, topped off by a Chilewich placemat; the lamp is vintage Bodo Hennig; side chair is Creative Playthings; stool is brinca dada; mirror is a craft store item; wallpapers are from the Paper Source. Accessories are AG Minis, Manor House Miniatures, and toy store and eBay finds.

The time it took me: 44 minutes

Look Up

Yes, I know, we are often looking "into" or "down" at our miniatures, but I could not resist *finally* using my "Look Up" letterpress print by the very skilled Ampersand Duck.The print was made available as an edition through the Call of the Small exhibit, curated and masterminded by The Shopping Sherpa back in 2010. Perhaps this little shout-out to my buddy will bring her back from blog-silence-land??? Where are you and your minis, Anna-Maria??? Miss you!

I cannot recall ever covering the plexi back wall here in the Villa Sibi, and it was fun indeed. I wanted to mix some grey, black, and creme patterns, so I utilized scrapbook paper from Jo-Ann Fabrics and went at it. The "rug" is cut up along the pattern lines. I just wanted something other than a large square. Didn't really think too hard about how it would turn out. I love the snowy white owl paper -- it's new from the Paper Source, and has lovely flocked texture.

The red ladder was a spontaneous addition, but I think it works. It is from my TOMY Sylvanian house, and it was lying nearby. Sometimes things just work that way!

There are some new Paul MacAlister 1:12 scale pieces in here, recently won on eBay: a dining table, lamp table, and small coffee table. They are as lovely as my other 1:12 pieces, really well-made of fine materials.

The little box is glued on and hand painted!

Hard to see here, but the edges are turned down with an edge

Perhaps it was the dusting of snow we got here today, but this scene just feels wintry to me. Could be those puffy chairs, too. They are ornaments, after all (from Anthropologie)! Hope this winter is a gentle one...I'd take a little more pretty snow, but not too much!

Photo by Pepper of MitchyMoo Miniatures
A final reminder about the Call of the Small/Cubebot Challenge: its ends on this Saturday, December 1, so get your entries in for your chance to win $200 from AREAWARE! There are some really wonderful, creative entries so far in the Flickr photostream, like Pepper's at left. Good luck, all, and thanks for participating!!

Credits:Dining table, lamp table, and coffee table by Paul MacAlister; couch is minimodernistas; hanging lamp is Re-ment; table lamp is vintage German; storage unit is by Dragondee Miniatures; Eames chairs are Reac; ladder is TOMY Sylvanian; puffy chairs are ornaments from Anthropologie; wall hanging is a rug by Fran Made Minis; artwork and couch pillows by Cyd of Mod Pod Miniatures; Look Up letterpress print by Ampersand Duck; outdoor planter is a handmade paper creation by my buddy A.'s talented Mom. Accessories are Re-ment, AG Minis, eBay and dollhouse store finds, Dragondee, Mod Pod Miniatures, and The Shopping Sherpa.

Hogarin Play Set

Introducing...a new acquisition! Presenting a Hogarin play set from 1973, purchased recently on eBay. Hogarin is a brand of Modisa, a now-defunct company based in Spain that produced a range of doll houses, play sets, furniture, dolls, and accessories in the 1970s.

First, a little background...

I first became acquainted with Hogarin when reading a 2007 post by Mini Modern a few years ago, which included photos about an eBay sale of two Villa Hogarin houses and many boxed sets. I was completely taken with the design of the houses, which resembled German bungalows from the 60s. Then, in 2010, I read about Florine's Hogarin on her blog (including her humorous take on the house's inhabitants!), and really enjoyed looking at all the detailed photos.

Photo courtesy of My Vintage Houses

Photo courtesy of My Vintage Houses
About a month ago, there was a GORGEOUS two-story Hogarin on eBay within driving distance (Florine tipped me off), but the Buy-it-Now price was incredibly high and out of my reach.So, it went to someone else :(

Photo from eBay listing
Photo from eBay listing
Photo from eBay listing
So, for now, I will have to console myself with my first Hogarin play set and hopefully one day I can add a house to my collection. It came intact with its plastic cover, and is a toy store with brightly colored walls and shelving. The colors and lines reminded me of Modella room boxes, and I recalled that blogger diepuppenstubensammlerin, who has an amazing Modella collection, wrote an article in Dolls Houses Past and Present in 2011 about the history of the room boxes. She notes that the "die-casting machines, molds, and other patents" were likely sold to Spain, because the Hogarin play sets and room boxes look quite similar to the Modella sets. You can see this in the fabrication of the chairs, credenzas, and tables.Check out diepuppenstubensammlerin's Flickr stream of her Modella sets -- worth a look!

Here are some photos of my set. I do love the miniature room boxes on the side wall shelves, the shape of the main shelving, and the Saarinen-like Tulip chair.

The set also came with the original catalogue, and it was great to see pictures of other sets available in 1973.

For more Hogarin eye candy, look at El Cuartin de Juguete's blog. Great photos and information, and the blog has photos of the same set

Photo courtesy of El Cuartin de Juguete
It has been very interesting for me to find out a bit more about Hogarin, and I would love to hear more from anyone! 
Share some pictures and information about your Hogarins!

Tick, tick...! Time is slipping away to enter the Call of the Small/Cubebot Challenge, which ends on December 1. Get your entries in for your chance to win $200 from AREAWARE! Good luck!

Ben Holiday House: First Peek

This might be my shortest post ever, but it does concern a very diminutive house: the new Ben Holiday House from CB2. Megan of Modern Mini Houses posted about it here, and I was enchanted. It is 1:24 scale, so quite petite. I have been slowly accumulating 1:24 pieces, especially some rare ones by Paul MacAlister (Megan has some great write-ups about MacAlister on her blog), purchased as recently as this month via some new sales on eBay.

I have just started playing around with the house, but wanted to share the first few shots. I did not decorate as fully as I would like (need wallpaper, flooring, more accessories), but it was fun so far. What do you think?


While the design is extremely cool, there are unfortunately some production flaws (lots of glue residue, some splintered window panes, crooked slats). I'm looking into this and will share anything I discover. I imagine folks might overlook these things if the house were intended as a table top accessory, but detail-oriented dollhouse play like this will make the flaws stand out.

More to come...!

Don't forget about the Call of the Small/Cubebot Challenge! The deadline is December 1, so get your entries in soon for your chance to win $200 from AREAWARE! Contest details are here, and you can view all the submissions to date in the challenge Flickr stream.

Credits: All pine, birch, and walnut pieces are by Paul MacAlister; plastic kids room furnishings are Megahouse; rug is a cut piece of felt from Michaels. Accessories are Re-ment, Petite Princess, and dollhouse store and eBay finds.

The time it took me: 55 minutes

Betsy McCall Progress

I love when I make some headway on a "rehab" house. I've been considering what to do with the remainder of the main living area in the Betsy McCall house. I added a bold patterned paper and covered the fireplace way back in February, leaving me to decide how to paper the other walls and organize the space.

Here is my solution -- a light brick patterned paper from my DCWV "Downtown Loft" stack, with a place mat for flooring and adhesive cork for the stairs. The wall presented a neat backdrop for the amazing brutalist sculpture Pepper of MitchyMoo Miniatures made as part of our swap. LOVE it!

What do you think?? 

Submission from Rosa of Minismodernas
A few more submissions have arrived for the Call of the Small/Cubebot Challenge -- go check them out on the Flickr stream! And please consider tossing your own hat into the ring for a chance to win $200 from AREAWARE! Contest details here. It ends on December 1, so get cracking!

Credits: Couch is a custom piece bought at a Denver doll house store; Eames chairs are Reac; table is a crafting block with a bowl base; plant is AG Minis; sideboard is vintage German; globe light is minimodernistas. Accessories are Jo Ann Fabrics, dollhouse store and eBay finds, AG Minis, and handmade by The Shopping Sherpa.

The time it took me: Three days, about 2-1/2 hours total


It's been a crazy few days with Hurricane Sandy here on the east coast, and my home state of New Jersey got hit pretty hard. We consider ourselves very lucky, because we only had a downed tree (and many lost branches), and lost power for a day. Many are still without power, and the temperatures are now going down, so folks are scrambling to stay warm, fed, and entertained.

All schools have been closed this week (and my work is as well), so it has been an unusual time at home -- the kids have been helping to clean up the leaves and stay civil with each other, but when there is this much idle time, fights and other unappealing sibling behavior is bound to happen.

Of course, Halloween is today, and while NJ Governor Christie has officially postponed it until Monday (!), we plan to carve a pumpkin and do some baking. Here's a little scene that I brewed up, too...enigmatic and creepy. My Artply Higland is an ideal environment for such a scene, with its plentiful broken plexi, dust, and cobwebs. No cleaning was done in this room, to ensure it was a moody as possible!


See the curtains? I cut two swaths from a Chilewich place mat and hung them with a metal crafting sticker that looks like a curtain rod.

They work quite well!

The hanging lantern is also a crafting find from Jolee's Boutique-- fun!

I also wanted to share a few new items I found that might come in handy for your doll houses: LED-lit trees by Philips, purchased for $5.99 each from Target (I might get rid of the large star topper), and "Tangle" finials from west elm, on clearance for $6.99 per box (these could work as industrial light fixtures with a little Deco tape wrapping -- still experimenting).

I also picked up some minimal white napkin holders, also on clearance from west elm ($1.99/each), which show some promise for modern shelving.

I also have my eye on a lantern ornament from Pottery Barn (at left, without the monogramming!) that could have a second life as an outdoor fireplace. Speaking of ornaments, each year, Hallmark comes out with new Keepsake Ornaments...I haven't fully checked them out, but it's worth a look at those too. Make sure you check the dimensions before you buy, and let me know if you find any good ones!

A last tip: refrigerator magnets from Acme International. I bought up a few this week, including a cappuccino maker and wine rack, a copy machine, and an arcade-style video game. Worth a look!

Photo courtesy of Acme International
Photo courtesy of Acme International

Hope your Halloween is still happening, and you get lots of candy!

A quick update on the Call of the Small/Cubebot Challenge: the first entry is in: Nick James of the UK shows his Micro Cubebot wreaking havoc in his daughter's dollhouse! Naughty bot! Hope you are working on yours, too! Submit your entries (No more than five images, ideally 1 MB or under each), to minibotchallenge(at)gmail(dot) com for your chance to win $200 from AREAWARE. Full contest details are here.

Credits: Table is ELF Miniatures; male doll is Jasper from Twilight, and I got him at a $5 store; the female doll is from DHE; chairs are eBay finds; trees are from; table runner is from the Paper Source. Accessories are lots of Re-ment, Manor House Miniatures, and eBay finds.

The time it took me: 1 hour, 53 minutes, over three days 


This scene evolved over a series of days. Inspiration came in spurts, rather than in one fell swoop, which often does happen. I think the scene made its way to completion gradually because I kept adding to it, and also challenged myself on this layout.

I knew I wanted to use these great new kitchen components from the lovely Pepper of MitchyMoo Miniatures (received as part of our fall swap; you can see some of the other treasures I received in this post).  The black glossy top provides such a nice surface for accessories and color, so I employed Asian-themed food items with reds, greens, yellows, and oranges.

Once the food started coming into the scene, I knew I wanted a small dining area with a round table and a dramatic lighting accent. I decided to use a brass metal spray paint for one of my silver arc lamps, bought on eBay some time ago; I have two, so decided to sacrifice one to bronze :) I also impulsively spray painted two orbs with slits, purchased on clearance from Crate & Barrel. These are intended as place card holders, but now they hold magazines!

The area with the couch was the more difficult part of the scene, given its placement in the room...I added a couch facing the kitchen area, and then put in a makeshift coffee table made with a clear vintage Petite Princess table placed inside a brass napkin ring. Gold Japanese origami paper under a "fish scales" stencil paper from the Paper Source animated the space and visually tied in with the arc lamp.

Every time I create a scene in my Citadel, I am reminded how much I love the house (I drove from New Jersey to Chicago and back for it!), and how much I've neglected its renovation! More than 60% of the house still needs work, including the wraparound balcony, main stairwell, front doorway, kitchen, the list goes on...any projects holding you up lately???

And please don't feel badly about your projects. The Citadel is one of four houses that are in active renovation for me:


Betsy McCall

Artply Highland

Perhaps as you are considering your latest challenges, you'll consider entering mine: the Call of the Small/Cubebot Challenge! It ends on December 1, and the winner will get $200 to spend on the AREAWARE website. I am anxiously awaiting your entries -- show me what you've got! All the details are here. Good luck!!

Credits: Kitchen island, counter, and stools made by Pepper of MitchyMoo Miniatures; couch is by Annina; dining table is by abm.models on eBay; chairs are CB2 "Reed" ornaments; shelving unit is by ELF Miniatures; plant is vintage TOMY; side table is Re-ment; coffee table is Petite Princess with a napkin holder; Eames elephant is Reac; flooring under island is a floor sample from Amtico; dining table mat is origami paper; cowhide rug is handmade by Oese. Accessories are lots of Re-ment, Manor House Miniatures, ELF Miniatures, Mighty World, Lilu Shop on Etsy, and random eBay and dollhouse store finds.

The time it took me: 1 hour, 43 minutes, over a period of three days


As soon as I saw this fireplace in a dollhouse store in Denver this summer, I knew I had to have it. It surprised me that I wanted it, actually, since it is more traditional--I have been dreaming about a retro/modern brick one for my Doll Domiciles Contemporary house, which is under construction--but I just liked it. And the price was good too: $19.99!

I have not used it until now, but it has been on my mind. I then realized why: it strongly reminded me of the stone fireplace in our summer house when I was growing up. That one was a darker grey stone, but the profile was similar, and it even had a wooden mantle. This room is arranged in a completely different way than our cabin, which had dark wooden panels and country plaids, but it managed to make so many good memories come flooding back.

Let me know if you've done some creative fireplace work lately -- would love to see your ideas, especially as inspiration for the Doll Domiciles home. Here's a picture of the house in progress as a refresher!

A bit tricky, eh? I hope to go visit the house again soon to check its progress!

I hope lots of you out there are busily working on your scenes for the Call of the Small/Cubebot Challenge! There were 10 lucky international readers who were the first to respond on my post, and free Micro Cubebots are on their way to Canada, UK, The Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Finland, Spain, and Italy! Can't wait to see what they do! Remember, the winner gets a $200 gift certificate to the amazing design store AREAWARE! Submissions are due on December 1 to minibotchallenge(at)gmail(dot)com. If you don't already have a Cubebot, AREAWARE is now offering a 20% discount on their site; use the promotional code MINIBOT upon checkout and have fun shopping!

Credits: Fireplace is from Norm's Dollhouse store in Denver; couch is minimodernistas; side table is from; rug is handmade by The Shopping Sherpa; cat tower is Re-ment; light fixture is vintage German; flooring and wallpaper are all from the Paper Source. Accessories are beads, Playmobil, Michaels, and vintage eBay finds.

The time it took me: 1 hour, five minutes

Cubebot Challenge

I am so excited and pleased to launch the Call of the Small/Cubebot Challenge! I intimated in this post that I had a special giveaway coming, and I've been busily working out the details with the great folks at AREAWARE, who are responsible for the David Weeks-designed Cubebot, a phenomenal wooden puzzle "person" with endless options for endearing poses and shapes.

Cubebot has attracted a following worldwide, creating demand for Cubebots of all sizes, including the latest: Micro Cubebot, which was just released in a rainbow of colors on October 1.

Photo courtesy of the Cubebot Facebook page
I've tried out Micro, and it is so well suited for 1:12 dollhouse environments, closed or open (or somewhere in between)! So...I thought why not put out a fun challenge to dollhouse hobbyists working in all scales (that's right, my 1:16 and 1:6 friends, that means you too!) to use Cubebot in a creative, innovative, and unexpected way!

Are you up for it????

Here are the details:

1) Have a Cubebot already? Great! Don't have one? Not to worry! AREAWARE is offering a site-wide 20% discount to help you along in buying your very own Cubebot! Use the promotional code MINIBOT at the time of your purchase on to receive 20% off. The discount applies to your entire order, not just the Cubebot you choose to purchase, so have fun shopping!

A special note for my followers outside of the United States: I WANT you to participate, but the international shipping costs from AREAWARE are quite high. So...thanks to AREAWARE, I am able to offer a FREE Micro Cubebot to the first 10 international followers who leave a comment on this post. In addition to being located outside the U.S., I ask that you don't already have a Cubebot -- I really want to give those Cubebot-less folks a chance to participate! Good luck! UPDATE - 10/8/12: All ten Micro Cubebots are claimed! 

2) Use any sized or colored Cubebot in a dollhouse or room box, using any aesthetic. This challenge is open to all tastes and scales. ***Regardless of style, color, or scale, it is important that you use your Cubebot in an innovative way, completely open or closed, or anywhere in between. It is also important that we still know it is a Cubebot -- so let us see his face! The three key criteria that will be used to choose the winner of the challenge will be: a) creativity/ingenuity b) artistry c) fun/surprise quotient***

3) Take photographs of your Cubebot setup and submit a maximum of FIVE (really, only five) of 1MB or less each to minibotchallenge(at)gmail(dot)com. Please include the subject line: "Cubebot Challenge." You may only submit once. Submissions MUST be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on December 1 in order to qualify for the challenge.

4) I will post all submissions as I receive them to a public group on Flickr: Call of the Small/ Cubebot Challenge. You will be able to view the submissions even if you are not on Flickr, but you need an account if you want to comment on any photos or pose any questions to the group. Go here to join Flickr.

5) All submissions will be reviewed by a panel of judges after the contest closes on December 1. The panel will include yours truly and a group of very enthusiastic folks at AREAWARE. One grand winner will be chosen, as well as one runner up. The grand winner will receive a ***$200 gift certificate to AREAWARE*** and the runner up will receive a Cubebot (AREAWARE will select a bot especially for you)! The winners will be announced within a week of the close of the challenge on December 1 right here on the Call of the Small blog.

Have I gotten you very excited about participating in this fun challenge??? You have a whole two months to  use your Cubebot in new and unusual ways, and I hope it's a chance for you to get reacquainted with your bot, or make Cubebot's acquaintance.

I tried my hand at it, and it is challenging, but fun...!

Go and get started, and look for updates and posts on the Call of the Small Facebook page, my Twitter feed (hashtag minibot), and on AREAWARE's social media networks, including Cubebot's Facebook page and Twitter feed!

I cannot wait to see what you all come up with!!! GOOD LUCK!