Rad Pad Completed

It was a mad dash against time and daylight but I got my Rad Pad completed and photographed before tomorrow's deadline for the "I'm A Giant" Challenge. My son is very under the weather with a stomach bug, so my Rad Pad plans today had to take a back seat to ensuring he was comfortable and hydrated.

This was a particularly challenging experiment for me. I struggled with what to do for quite some time and found inspiration where I least expected it: Staples! In reviewing all I have been working on over the past few weeks in light of the end result, I am left feeling the following things:

1. Satisfied that I made the deadline
2. Happy to have found something new to repurpose
3. Mixed about the pressure of a deadline
4. Disappointed not to have realized the stairs and catwalk
5. Excited that this challenge has exposed more people to the hobby
6. Relieved that it's over

While I am happy with the end product, there's always more ideas and refining but I had to resist those impulses over the past few days. I did add a large "table" to the entryway (it's actually a votive holder from Crate & Barrel), which functions as a hearth of sorts. Fitting in the living area was a challenge, and I decided to abandon it, save for a white couch and rug. The stairs were a big disappointment...I did not have time to order from TAP Plastics and was concerned that I could not DIY-it satisfactorily. My kids' Jenga blocks didn't work out either. So, I went without -- you will have to use your imagination in this airy house...

I cannot wait to see what others have come up with, and hopefully Emily Henderson will post an update of her own tomorrow along with the others bloggers she recruited!

UPDATE, 12/16/11: Emily posted yesterday that she was extending the challenge until February 1, 2012, so that gives me and others time to refine and complete their homes!

Credits: I focused on the bath in my last post, so you can see all the credits there. Office: Wallpaper and flooring are papers from Michaels and the Paper Source; desk by ELF Miniatures; plant is Playmobil; shelving unit by Re-ment; chair is an ornament from Crate & Barrel; magazine holder is AG Minis; light fixture is by minimodernistas; accessories by Re-ment, AG Minis, handmade by The Shopping Sherpa, eBay finds, and Lilu Shop on Etsy. Kitchen: Wallpaper and flooring are papers from Michaels and Kate's Paperie; sink unit and stools are brinca dada; table and light fixture is vintage German; accessories are Reutter, Re-ment, and eBay finds. Bedroom: Wallpaper and flooring are from Michaels, the Paper Source and a dollhouse store; bed is vintage German; chair is Reac; bench is by Logan at OneFortyThree; accessories are Re-ment, ELF Miniatures, minimodernistas, and handmade by The Shopping Sherpa. Entryway: Flooring is made of two Crate & Barrel place mats; table is a votive holder from Crate & Barrel on a table base by Bozart; the couch is also Bozart; rug is by FranMadeMinis; moss bowl is by Gigi 'N Studio; planters at the doors are napkin holders with diorama trees from Michaels.

The time it took me: forever.

Rad Pad Bath

I hope you don't mind my Rad Pad updates, but the "I'm A Giant" Challenge ends on December 15, so I am trying to sort out all the finishing touches. The first room to be sorted is the bath on the lower level.

The bath features a lot of simple repurposing of common objects, and I want to share my store sources in case you want to keep your eyes out. I changed the flooring to a cork sheet of scrapbook paper and added some gorgeous white-on-white mod patterned paper too; both are from the Paper Source. I also reinforced the curved wall (a West Elm placemat) to make it "hug" the shape of the file holder. The gold accented "wall" behind the tub (a condiment dish from Crate & Barrel) is a porcelain tray from West Elm. The bamboo base of the tub is made of two pot scrapers from Crate & Barrel. I used some craft mirrors on the sink and added some beads as vases to the top of the bath wall; both are from JoAnn Fabrics. The round leopard print rug is a cutting from a rug sample.

Here you go!

You'll see most of the photos show the top open. There will, of course, be a floor above (the office), and while I really like the openness of of the holes, I'm not sure I will leave it open (would you want to be able to see down into your bath from your office??).

I'm going to try to tackle the kitchen next! I am waiting for some new brinca dada pieces. I also need to figure out a stairwell -- perhaps I can get some acrylic slabs from TAP Plastics in time.

By the way, I have inquired with Emily Henderson, who launched this challenge, on next steps for people to upload their completed projects, etc. As soon as I hear more, I'll let you know. You may also want to keep tabs on her blog, where she is sure to post updates of her own!

The November ***FREE ALERT*** is going on now at the Call of the Small Facebook page. I am giving away some terrific modern planters. Just leave a comment on this photo for a chance to win! Comments close on Friday, December 9, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time. GOOD LUCK!

Credits: Sink is an eBay find; toilet is IKEA; tub is a condiment dish from Crate & Barrel, and the bamboo base is from there too; tub wall is a tray from West Elm, and the curved wall is a placemat from there as well; flooring and wallpaper are from the Paper Source; air plant is from toHOLD on Etsy. Accessories are Re-ment, beads, Ryan's Room.

The time it took me: 1 hour, 10 minutes (including wallpapering)

Rad Pad Progress

The long weekend is over and one of my goals was to make some progress on my Rad Pad for the "I'm a Giant" challenge. Well, I wallpapered the exterior and figured out the layout, so I think I am on my way. I need to add wallpaper and flooring to the inside rooms and furnish fully and accessorize, but here is where I am now:

I want to add some level of realism, so I need to figure out a stairwell. A bit stumped right now; would love a lucite one, but not sure I can swing it. I also have a catwalk in progress to connect the two upper levels, using a slab of plywood covered in a Kunta placemat from Crate & Barrel (the Kunta is now discontinued, but it is close to the Jakarta). Will share more on that soon -- wish me luck!

By the way, I am spreading the word about a great dollhouse for sale: a vintage VERO from the 1960s! I actually have this one in my collection, and it is a fantastic find. Mandy from Germany is selling her pristine one, and I have posted pictures on the Call of the Small Facebook page. If you are interested, I can connect you with Mandy. Email me at call-small(at)call-small(dot)com for more information.

Rad Pad, Configured

After much experimentation, I think I have finally arrived at the configuration of my Rad Pad for the I'm a Giant Challenge. I tried so many different things, and got a lot of recommendations for going circular. Circular looked way cool, but I felt like something was missing...perhaps not knowing which was was in! I also wanted more contrast of textures, but could not figure out a way to do a wood roof. I remembered I had two wood slatted place mats from Crate & Barrel and thought they might work. They did not, BUT they did work as the base. Once I saw the rectangle formed by the place mats, I stacked the file boxes, two in each corner. A space formed in between them and I thought "doorway!" I kept it open at the back, like a traditional doll house.

The result:

What do you think?

I used a piece of acetate for the doorway and outlined the frame using deco tape. The flooring, siding, and roof material is still not finalized (in fact, the green paper on two of the walls is the original Staples label!). I experimented using a variety of papers and fabrics, but am still not convinced. I might use a brick paper for the exterior, perhaps on the bottom level, and then mark out some windows on the top using deco tape. The interior layout is also not completely finalized. I know I want the bedroom and office on the top levels and the kitchen, bath, and living area on the bottom, but the bath is a bit of a puzzle. Space is limited and I would like to put a full bath in -- what do you think of my little wooden platform solution?

Time is running out--December 15 is around the corner! What has everyone else come up with??

Credits: Even though this is not fully furnished, I'll share: white couch sectional and coffee table are Bozart; desk is ELF Miniatures; chair is a Crate & Barrel ornament; kitchen units are vintage Lundby; bed is vintage German; bath set is Ryan's Room; ladder is from my TOMY Sylvanian house; indoor plant is Playmobil; outdoor planter is a napkin holder from West Elm with a diorama tree from Michaels; doorway platform is made of two coasters; base consists of two placemats from Crate & Barrel. Accessories are Lundby, Lilu shop on Etsy, handmade by The Shopping Sherpa, AG Minis, random craft store finds.

The time it took me: I fiddled with this for a few hours today, in between cleaning up my work room!

Rad Pad Continued

OK, I now have a magazine file folder holder obsession! My last post showed a scene in a clear plastic one from Staples, and I bought three more to think about the configuration for the "I'm a Giant" Challenge. I do like the idea of circular, but then I started to experiment with how the shapes can fit together and how I might create a more traditional house-like environment.

My latest idea is to square off two together (that you can then open out into "wings") and then position the other two on the sides -- one for a garage and the other for a covered patio area.

I know this is difficult to envision with on a patterned rug, and it may not work in practice, but we'll see.

As I was doing all this down in my dollhouse room, which also includes our home office, I saw an empty file folder from IKEA with a neat pattern and decided to try it out with some Playmobil, Lundby, and Re-ment pieces. Here is the result.

With all this repurposing, I am feeling like I am neglecting my actual dollhouses!

By the way, I was on the radio this week, on the show "A Miniature World with Binnie Klein" on WPKN-FM. You can have a listen here. Enjoy! I am also dressing up one of my houses for the holidays for a local newspaper article...I need to get into the holiday spirit a bit early this year!

Credits: Dining set is by Playmobil; credenza is vintage Lundby; hanging lamp and chair are Re-ment; plant pot is by Manor House Miniatures with a Playmobil plant; side table is a plastic storage box from Crate & Barrel; book is handmade by Oese.

Rad Pad

Maybe I have figured out the idea for the "I'm a Giant" Challenge...a plastic magazine file! Staples only had one, but perhaps I can go back for more and see how they might work stacked or adjacent. I liked the holes and the height of the space when it is on its side. I set up a quick scene with printed felt for flooring, and papers from the Paper Source on the walls: birch and Lokta Olive and Copper Crossed Lines. I cut a thin piece of birch to help frame out a door where the small opening is in the side. I do like the curved shape.

What do you think? Perhaps a few of these could work for the challenge? I might start experimenting...there's less than a month left!

By the way, "non-dollhousers" are kicking butt in the challenge -- read about Morgan's new mini furniture over at The Brick House. Simply amazing.

Credits: Side tables are vintage German; chair is Reac; air plant is by toHOLD; lamp is made of a craft store bead and cork; magazine holder is an eBay find; flooring is printed felt from Michaels, and wallpaper is from the Paper Source. Accessories are Re-ment and dollhouse store finds.

The time it took me: 30 minutes

Book Inspired

I am on a big 1960s decorator kick, inspired by a tattered copy of the McCall's Decorating Book, purchased at the book sale at my local library for a cool $5. Published by Random House in 1964, the pictures are dripping with saturated color and pattern. In addition to the groovy photos, there are helpful hints about mixing patterns, hanging pictures, and terminology for popular furniture styles.

Want to see some of my favorite photos?

I'm feeling pretty inspired by the colors, patterns, and textures. Hope this fuels some ideas for the "I'm a Giant" Challenge!

Another new (vintage) book find is Puppenhaus-gebaut + eingerichtet (Dollhouse - built and furnished) by Dietrich Kirsch and Jutta Kirsch-Korn, a wonderful hobby book published by Otto Maier Verlag Ravensburg in 1968. This compact book, which I purchased on German eBay, offers instructions for building your own 1960s-era dollhouse, furniture, and accessories from simple materials.

I dig it -- you? Any good books to share?

My UMBRA giveaway is still going strong, but it ends on Sunday, October 23! Comment on the giveaway post here NOW CLOSED for your chance to win one of two amazing, fun products!


Oftentimes, a piece of scrapbook or handmade paper will inspire me to do a scene. If I like a paper, I usually purchase at least two sheets, but for some reason I did not buy two of this cool Vespa paper from the Paper Source. It might have been the last one, or it was a temporarily lapse of judgement on my part, but either way I only came home with one.

I decided to go radical on the opposing wall and do it up in green glitter paper. I normally despise glitter, by the way, but I loved the way this paper shines and it is very sturdy for cutting and hanging. And it doesn't "shed," which is the main reason I don't care for glitter. Do you like the glow here? I liked using my AG Minis Room Box...the flooring is very warm and imparts a nice texture. The black square above the couch is magnetic, to hang the wall treatments that originally came with many of the sets. I decided to attach some magnets in a clock or gear formation...not sure which.

I went to my favorite Crate & Barrel outlet this weekend for inspiration for the "I'm a Giant" challenge launched by Emily Henderson, and came up mostly empty-handed, but did get some inspiring pieces. I posted my first mood board on the Call of the Small Facebook page -- I decided I am going for a ladylike McCall's decorator vibe. Still don't have a DIY abode, though, and the December 15 deadline is around the corner. HELP!! Emily is encouraging anyone who is participating to comment on one of her recent blog posts, so that she can share all the creativity going on.

A reminder that my UMBRA giveaway is going strong, and you still have a week to enter! Comment on this giveaway post NOW CLOSED for your chance to win one of TWO phenomenal products, like the TALI wall tile pictured here. Thanks to all who have joined in so far!

Credits: Couch is minimodernistas; plant is AG Minis; Arc lamp is an eBay find; ottomans are Concord; pillows and book are handmade by The Shopping Sherpa; Sketch chair is by Diatom Studio; wall magnets are from Office Max; table is my MitchyMoo Miniatures; wallpaper is from the Paper Source. Accessories are Lilu Shop on Etsy, AG Minis, ELF Miniatures, and beads.


I'm stumped. No clue what do create for the "I'm a Giant" challenge launched by Emily Henderson. I mean, playing with dollhouses and designing mini interiors is how I spend my hobby time, right? So, why is it so tricky to figure out what to do? I've been SO impressed by what others have done so far, like Morgan over at THE BRICK HOUSE and even Logan at One Forty Three, who has wood-worked midcentury magic for his geodesic dollhouse! And these are folks who are just dipping their toes into 1:12 scale. Impressive! Intimidating!

Got any ideas for me? Perhaps I need to rise to a challenge *YOU* throw my way! There is a strong DIY element to "I'm a Giant" so maybe I need to go completely radical. Little 'ol Lemon Cadet is dismantling an old Macintosh -- rocking!

Instead of making progress on the challenge, I crawled into a nook in my Brio house and did up a bedroom. You may notice two different lamps -- one is Re-ment and the other is a vintage German shade atop a Re-ment standing ashtray. What do you prefer?

A reminder that I've got TWO opportunities to win free stuff right NOW. First, the Call of the Small Facebook page has a ***FREE ALERT*** offering for a curated set of handmade papers from the Paper Source. You've got until 11:59 p.m. EDT tomorrow, October 10, to comment for a chance to win. And, I am offering two UMBRA products on my blog in celebration of reaching 500 followers -- comments close on October 23. Get hopping! BOTH GIVEAWAYS CLOSED

Credits: Bed and plant are vintage German; vanity is Barton; mirror is by Annina; chair is Reac; square pillows and magazine handmade by The Shopping Sherpa. Accessories are Re-ment, Petite Princess, ELF Miniatures, and random eBay finds.

Did Someone Say Dollhouse?

In my mind, there is truly nothing better when the enthusiasm for minis catches fire. When you are wrapped up in this hobby, you sometimes lose perspective on what hooked you in the first place, whatever it may have been: the smallness of it all, the control, escapism, realism, beauty, fun...

Today, the lovely and funny Emily Henderson, winner of the HGTV show "Design Star" and host of her own very cool show, "Secrets from a Stylist," launched the "I'M A GIANT CHALLENGE." The challenge entails decorating your own dollhouse, be it a store-bought one, a vintage tag sale one, or a DIY one. Parameters are broad: you can do just about anything and let your imagination run wild, as long as it is in miniature. Joining Emily in the challenge are six design and DIY bloggers: THE BRICK HOUSE, Design for Mankind, Hommemaker, Girl Domestic, Little Green Notebook, Making it Lovely, and Simply Grove. Each will be participating in the challenge, using their own spin on miniatures and decorating, and will post on their progress all along the way as they finish everything by December 15, 2011. There will be a celebratory event  in Los Angeles in January 2012, where houses will be on display and there is the potential for magazine coverage.

And YOU can participate too! Anyone can join in the fun. You can read more details on Emily's blog, and she even shares the start of her mood board:

Both images from stylebyemilyhenderson.com

Cool! I had the opportunity to meet Emily at a blogger event in New York City in August, and she was great -- so inquisitive, funny, and smart. A super down-to-earth and a regular gal.

We talked miniatures and she hinted she was working on a dollhouse-related "thing." This is BIG! There's a wonderful, collaborative spirit to the challenge, and I think it is great that Emily is leveraging her growing popularity to shine a light on the hobby, enlisting other bloggers in the process. Bookmark their web pages, too, because they already started posting. For me, it will be most interesting to see how non-hobbyist adapt to the mini world -- I am sure lots of amazing ideas will emerge.

I'm IN. Who's joining me?