Life's a process, step by step. It's more apparent to me now, more than ever, that you never stop learning about yourself and others. This past year brought challenges, growth, and changes, and I have no doubt that 2012 will bring similar. My very best to you and yours--thanks for all of your enthusiasm and support!

A few pictures in my Lundby Stockholm to close out the year, with three different approaches to the room. You'll see different chairs, rugs, and the addition of a canine friend!

Credits: Wallpaper is from greendesign in Princeton, NJ; desk units are vintage Brio; center desk and trash can are by AG Minis; cowhide chaise is by PRD; side table is Re-ment; black barrel chair and yellow Eames chair by Reac; gray rug is handmade by The Shopping Sherpa; blue rug is embossed felt from Michaels; deck plant and desk lamp are vintage TOMY; deck table and chairs are by Mighty World. Accessories are handmade by The Shopping Sherpa, JaZams, Bozart, Manor House Miniatures, AG Minis, and Michaels.

The time it took me: 35 minutes


The Villa Sibi is decked out for the holidays, a move prompted by our local newspaper, West Windsor & Plainsboro News. The Editor asked me to decorate one of my houses and also participate in an interview about my hobby. The article just came out, so I now can share some pictures of my own of the house. I referred to my preparation in this post and decided not to add snow. I did, however, add some lights, a tree, and a fireplace (at first for the Villa Sibi!), along with some foresty greens and browns and silver and gold accents. And some red, of course.

Enjoy and happy holidays!

Credits: Main house and patio: Couch is minimodernistas; pillows are handmade by The Shopping Sherpa; chair and "live edge" bench on patio is by Logan of OneFortyThree; fireplace is from a swap with Oese, revamped by me a few years ago; mini trees are Lemax with bases from Lemon Cadet; boomerang table is by Paris Renfroe; round rug, arc lamp, chrome table and chairs are all eBay finds; hanging lamp is vintage German; Christmas tree is from Manor House Miniatures; angel tree topper is from JaZams, as are the Christmas lights (necklaces by Carolyn Forsman); presents are AG Minis; flooring and wallpaper are from the Paper Source; patio table is vintage Brio; white igloo chairs on roof are ornaments from CB2; reindeer and green rug are by Fran Made Minis; small side table is Re-ment. Accessories are AG Minis, ELF Miniatures, eBay finds, and from J at work. "Funk" Room: Stereo, speakers, and plant are all eBay finds; couch and chair are vintage Lundby; hanging snowflake is by Maryann Roy; red lights are a necklace by Carolyn Forsman; accent wall is paper from Michaels.

The time it took me: 1-1/2 hours over a few different days (a lot of changing and rearranging).

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.

Setting the Scene

A quick departure from the Rad Pad into...the holidays! I know this does not look very festive, but I have just started to set the scene for what I hope will be a mod decorated home. One of our local newspapers has asked me to decorate one of my homes for the holidays as part of an article about me and my hobby, so I chose the Villa Sibi.

I got a bit sidelined with some recent goodies: the awesome green rug is from Fran of Fran Made Minis. Isn't it GREAT?? I love the shade of green and the pattern. Fran also put in a few other treats that will make their way into my holiday scene. Thanks, Fran!! The "live edge" table is made of solid walnut and the chair is teak with brass. These beauties are by Logan of the blog and Etsy store One Forty Three and I am very happy to have two pieces from his inaugural "micro" collection. Keep 'em coming, Logan! Logan is also participating in the "I'm A Giant" challenge with a geodesic dome house--check it out.

Shall I add snow to the flat roof? I'm leaning toward no, but would love your thoughts on material and technique if you think I should go for some minimal flakes! I'll share my completed holiday house after the article appears. The photographer is coming on Saturday, so I need to get cracking (or crackling???!).

Credits: Couch is minimodernistas; coffee table and chair are by One Forty Three on Etsy; Christmas lights are  necklaces by Carolyn Forsman; rug is from Fran Made Minis; brass decanter is an eBay find; candy canes are AG Minis; white platter is from ELF Miniatures; pillows are handmade by The Shopping Sherpa; wallpaper is scrapbook paper from Michaels.

The time it took me: 10 minutes

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


Some letterpress scrapbook paper has made its way into my IKEA room box. It is actually a vegetable bin, but works pretty well as a small, decorative environment. I bought it a while ago and should have bought more, because IKEA does not sell it anymore. Boo-hoo.

I love the color and texture of this paper. It prompted me to go for a garden theme. I framed out the room box with cut-up pieces of a Crate & Barrel place mat and Japanese washi tape to complete the look. My new CB2 ornament chairs add some flair, too, and work quite well here.

See that amazing plant? This is a lovely new find from the Etsy store toHOLD. Owner Kara, who makes 1:1 scale terrariums and planters, is participating in the "I'm a Giant" Challenge and was inspired to go green for dollhouses and create a mini line! LOVE her work, and hope she makes even more! By the way, I found out about Kara on Design Milk -- see her article on "greening up" your dollhouse.

Anyone else going green??

The October ***FREE ALERT*** is going on now on the Call of the Small Facebook page. If you are pining for your own bike and skateboard for your mini digs, go on ahead and leave a comment on this photo. Giveaway ends on Friday, November 11, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time. Good luck!

Credits: Chairs are ornaments from CB2; table is from; planter is toHOLD; pillows are handmade by The Shopping Sherpa; flooring is letterpress scrapbook paper from Michaels; framing is a Crate & Barrel place mat and Japanese washi tape; magazine is AG Minis.

Room Box Unexpected

Yes, another's an addiction, folks. Tell me I'm not alone here, especially when you see something really cool and you didn't have to engage over a bidding war on eBay.

Introducing my new (vintage) German-made room box! I have a bit of a soft spot for German room boxes, but my other ones--here and here--are both school rooms. This is my first home.

It likely dates from the early 1960s and runs larger than 1:12, probably 1:10. The box has obviously been repainted and remodeled by the previous owner, so there were some unexpected surprises when it arrived. The paint colors--a thickly applied creme and mottled grey--do not strike me as original. The eBay seller told me she bought it on German eBay earlier this year, so perhaps that seller had a hand in the renovations.

My favorite things? The wallpaper in both rooms, the box window with plantings, and the terrace. Least favorite? Flooring, sponge-painted base, and orange accent wall by the (missing) stairwell up to the terrace.

What did I do about these things? Well, nothing about the sponge painting and accent wall...yet. I could not control myself and removed the ugly vinyl adhesive flooring. I will give the person who renovated the benefit of the doubt and say that the flooring was probably already damaged, since I cannot imagine why you would cover these cool papers otherwise!

Unfortunately, the adhesive paper pulled mostly everything off with it...

So, I decided to use vintage papers for the flooring, to help keep within the style as closely as possible. The beige one in the living area is from my blogging pal Claudia, who runs Lilli's Puppenstube. I LOVE this paper and I think it works here. Thanks, Claudia!!! The other is from a roll of 1:1 paper that I bought last year, along with another roll, which I used to re-wallpaper the bathroom in my Large VERO. What do you think?

The "rug" under the desk and on the terrace are actually wallpaper samples from KremeLife. They make AMAZING 1:1 scale papers and sent me a few samples to experiment with in my houses! I cannot wait to use the others!

Lamp is made of a planter on top of a vintage German wine bottle!

Mystery stairwell!

Yay! Got to use my new ornaments from CB2!

Wall lamp looks original to house

I also got rid of the ugly lace in the window...I am not a huge fan of the drapes, but I think they are original. Anyone know anything about what the original stairs looked like? I searched online and only turned up two structures thus far that had similar characteristics.

Courtesy of puppenhausmuseum

and terrace...I wonder if the stairwell was that curvy and funky!
Courtesy of puppenhausmuseum
As always, if you know anything about this structure, do share!

By the way, I announced the winners of my UMBRA giveaway earlier this week, Kia and Gingeranna! I have now heard from both of them -- congratulations and thanks for participating! And a BIG thanks to UMBRA!

Credits: Couch and chair are Hall's Lifetime Toys; desk chair is Reac; patio chairs are ornaments from CB2, with handmade pillows by The Shopping Sherpa; boomerang table is by Paris Renfroe; bed and wooden side tables are vintage German; round side table is Re-ment; desk is by Crailsheimer; arc lamp is a vintage eBay find; standing lamp was my mother's, I believe; wire bench on terrace is by Oragon; large planter on terrace is a condiment jar from West Elm; planter in bedroom is by Manor House Miniatures with an aquarium plant. Accessories are AG Minis, beads, handmade by me, from my local toy store, random dollhouse store finds, and handmade by The Shopping Sherpa.

The time it took me: 37 minutes (not including the re-flooring!)

Umbra Giveaway Winners

Thanks to everyone for participating in my UMBRA giveaway! Fifty of you entered, but there can only be TWO winners! Here is the rundown of the names and numbers:

1. Rosamargarita
2. Naran
3. The Shopping Sherpa
4. Mad for Mod
5. Snowfern
6. Eliana
7. Pity
8. M
9. Kikka
10. Tam toum
11. Neomig
12. Carmen
13. Hunky Dory
14. zimzee
15. Mini Dork
16. Maru
17. gingeranna
18. jana maru
19. Patrizia
20. Rocky
21. NarinaNapertaa
22. rechercher
23. monamy
24. Anonymous (Claudia)
25. Allie
26. Anonymous (Melissa)
27. Teruka
28. Fabiola
29. Ana
30. Susan from Florida 
31. Craftland
32. FairyWhispers
33. Rosella
34. gracie
35. miniaturista
36. Mahogony
37. Ascension
38. Sara
39. Lyssa
40. Kia
41. WPZ-Sandy
42. maxmazed
43. beckucca
44. T Fisher
45. Maija
46. isabel
47. Iris
48. Marjorello
49. Anonymous (Paula R.)
50. otterine

I produced the two winning numbers using the Random Integer Generator. The first winning number gets the black FISH HOTEL and the second number a set of TALI WALL TILES, pictured above.
Drum roll....

The winning numbers are: 

40 and 17!!

Which means KIA has won the FISH HOTEL and GINGERANNA has won the TALI WALL TILES!

Congrats to you both! Please email me your full name and mailing address at call-small(at)call-small(dot)com and I will have the nice folks at UMBRA send you your treats!

Thanks again to all for participating! I hope to do another giveaway soon.


Susan H. and I keep an eye out for each other. She frequently picks up treasures at estate sales and if it is 1:12, she lets me know about it (she works in 1:6). We've swapped Re-ment and other fun stuff over the past year.

Our latest swap involved an Asian-influenced daybed that she found recently, marked "George Spencer Dollhouse Collection." Anyone ever hear of him? Based on some quick we searching, it looks like it's from the 1980s. I was so pleased when the bed is in excellent condition, and has lovely carvings. Since the piece runs a bit closer to 1:10, I decided to try it out in my Large VERO.

I covered a cushion in some nice Asian-inspired fabric from my local Jo Ann Fabrics store and used another swatch for a long bolster. What do you think? The two enormous heads are from a rummage sale. They actually came in a group of four, and I passed them by a few times before circling back and picking them up for less than $1.

These are the times that I say "What the heck" and throw stuff together for kicks. When will I get to use the heads again, right??? And who would have thought they would end up in a German-made house from the 1960s???

The light fixture is part of a string of clear ball Christmas tree trimming from Crate & Barrel. I cut a few off, tied them together in a circle and strung it from a hook that hangs from the ceiling. The floor is new paper from the Paper Source. I go there often enough that I can easily spot the new stuff. I do like this pattern a whole lot, and I think it helped set the scene -- the actual flooring did not mesh well.

So, that's my crazy scene for the day. Thanks, Susan!

Only a few hours to go before my UMBRA giveaway have until 11:59 p.m. EDT tonight to leave a comment HERE NOW CLOSED for a chance to win one of two great products! Nearly 50 people have entered -- good luck all around and thanks again to UMBRA!!

The time it took me: 45 minutes

Credits: Daybed is George Spencer Dollhouse Collection; cushion is AG Minis, covered in fabric from Jo Ann Fabric; carved heads are from a rummage sale; round table is vintage Brio; chair and dresser are vintage German; pillow is handmade by The Shopping Sherpa; planter is a napkin holder from Crate & Barrel, and the fixture are ornament balls from there as well; flooring is from the Paper Source. Accessories are Michaels and dollhouse store finds.

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!

Short Shots in the Neville

A very quick post to share that I finally broke down and bought a Neville House from CB2 this weekend. I was purchasing some awesome modern chair ornaments after reading about them on Mini Modern's blog, and decided to go for this petite house. My package arrived so quickly that I was caught off guard and opened it right up (I am famous in my house for not opening packages right away. I like to be left alone when doing so and I am very popular here...Mommy! Do you know what? Mommy!).

This is a fun, well-made tiny house that packs a mod punch. 1:16 or 1:24 scale works best, and you need to practice being nimble since you have to work your furniture through the openings. Check out Mini Modern's original post on the house here, and she also posted on minimodernistas' creation with two!

Anyone else grooving on the Neville?

Credits: Chairs are LISA; table is by Paris Renfroe; globe lamp is minimodernistas; shelving is by Miner Industries; cat and plant are Playmobil, and his bowl is an eBay find; blue glass bottle and rug are dollhouse store finds.

The time it took me: 27 minutes


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.

Umbra Giveaway

In celebration of cracking 500 followers, I am so very pleased to be able to do a very special giveaway featuring one of my favorite manufacturers: UMBRA!

The nice folks at Umbra have made it possible for me to give away not ONE, but TWO, phenomenal products as a way to celebrate my awesome followers! I started this blog almost three years ago, and never thought I would reach such a milestone -- THANK YOU for your support!

I love Umbra products, always have. Before I got into minis, I appreciated their functional and stylish modern aesthetic for what tend to be the more mundane things around the house: garbage cans, towel hooks, kitchen gear. Umbra always made things unexpectedly fun. Once I embarked on my modern miniature hobby, I was able to still use Umbra, but this time by repurposing for sleek environments. I absolutely love the Fish Hotel by Teddy Luong, and have used it many times for scenes, and continue to be entranced by Umbra's consistent craftsmanship and ingenuity. I keep track of all they do -- if you haven't already, bookmark their website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter feed. are the two fun and amazing products for this giveaway:

A BLACK FISH HOTEL, just released. I was so thrilled to see this, and it definitely did not disappoint! This is, of course, intended as a sleek fish tank, but I love the possibilities it offers for modern mini living!

And a set of three TALI WALL TILES. While I will not insist that you use it for mini work, I certainly did... the panels make for quite a dramatic backdrop. They are gorgeous!

Here are the rules:
* To enter, please leave a comment on this post, and please do share how you use Umbra in your life.

* You may only comment once, and you must leave your comment by Sunday, October 23, at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

* Once the giveaway closes, I will choose two numbers using the Random Integer Generator. The winning numbers will correspond to the order in which comments were left. The first person drawn wins the FISH HOTEL and the second person wins the TALI WALL TILES. Once I receive the winning addresses, Umbra will ship them to you.

* My domestic and international followers are welcome!

* Have fun and spread the word...Tweet-it, Facebook-it, Blog-it.

A big thanks to UMBRA! Commence commenting!

By the way, I have another giveaway going on right now on the Call of the Small Facebook page: it's the September ***FREE ALERT***! This time, I am offering a curated set of three sheets of handmade paper made by the Paper Source. Comment on your latest paper project and join in! Comments close on Monday, October 10, at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Good luck! GIVEAWAY CLOSED!

Credits: FISH HOTEL scene: Chair is Reac; table is from the Villa Sibi with an acrylic craft block top; planter is AG Minis; filing boxes are ELF Miniatures; filing folders are handmade by The Shopping Sherpa; blackboard is a craft from JoAnn Fabrics; rug is a fabric sample; wallpaper is from the Paper Source; magazine holder is an eBay find; light is vintage German. Accessories are SDK Miniatures, Re-ment, vintage German, AG Minis, my kids' toy collection, and random dollhouse store finds. TALI WALL TILES scene: Couch is AG Minis; pillows are minimodernistas; coffee table has a Bozart base with two different tops made from coasters: the faux bois is by Chilewich and the Eames chair lucite is from MoMA; planter is from Manor House Miniatures; Barcelona chair is Reac; flooring are felt pieces from Michaels; artwork is Bozart.

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

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?

Highland by Artply

I had a hunch earlier this week that I should cruise Craigslist to check out the dollhouse listings. I usually search in New York City and the Philadelphia area, and I saw this in a town not far from me:
The pictures were not great, but I could immediately tell it was something special. The price caught my eye as well: TWENTY BUCKS! I quickly realized that it was a Highland dollhouse by Artply!!! Artply is no longer in business, and this house, sold as a kit in the 1980s, is long discontinued, making it pretty collectible for a modern structure. The original catalogue shot:

Courtesy of More Minis
The seller wanted it to go to a collector or someone who would appreciate it as much as his daughters did when they were children, so he decided not to put it out on the curb (doesn't he know us collectors have been known to cruise curbs, as well??!). The price was unbeatable, which did make me a bit nervous that this might all be a sham, especially after reading Susan's heartbreaking Craigslist story.

All went well...I didn't get abducted (the guy was super nice and normal) and came home with a Highland for a cool twenty. The house needs lots of aesthetic work -- plexi is torn, dust and cobwebs abound, and wallpaper and flooring are fraying. But, that's OK, since I would want to change it all up anyway. Structurally it is completely sound; no cracks, breaks, and the only missing parts are the garage and front doors, as far as I can tell.

Some shots of my new acquisition--looks quite like a 70s haunted house!

Don't know what to say about this wallpaper choice...flooring is likely a keeper, though.

Intended as a a parking spot for cobwebs!

Much of the house's plexi looks like this, or is completely missing.

Not in love with this treatment.

Wallpapers definitely not to my liking.

Totally dig the staircase!

Kitchen is haunted, for sure!

Flooring can stay, but wallpaper has to go.

Bath in need of an upgrade!

In addition to resolving the layout of the interior spaces, my biggest dilemma is what to paint the exterior...I do not care for the humdrum brown scheme at all. What about cool greys? A muted white? Wood paneling? The dramatic rounded entryway also presents challenges! It is currently covered in grainy sand and it is not working for me. I have been looking through pictures of other Highlands, like the ones below, to see how others approached their houses.
Courtesy of the Greenleaf forum -- kinda dig this approach

Courtesy of Mini Modern's blog, from an eBay listing
A completed house by Nana's Minis
What do you think? I'd love to hear your ideas so that I can perhaps make this one of my fall projects (in addition to painting my Betsy McCall house). And please do share your own Highland adventures with me...I'd love to see even more examples of this house.

Lastly: many people have asked me how many houses I own, and the Highland makes it 15 (does my unopened Fascination Station kit count? If so, then up the number!).

STAY TUNED for an exciting GIVEAWAY that I am planning for my blog, in celebration of approaching 500 followers! I'll be offering not one, but two, awesome products! I will share more soon!