There's a fun "pop!" to this scene, in anticipation of the new year and the many corks that will be popping all over the world.

I love yellow, and this cute new Pop! mini figure from Kid Robot really helped to inspire the rest of the furnishings. Certainly reminds me of Jeff Koons' Balloon Dog.

Courtesy of AnOther
My ever-resourceful daughter found the Pac-Man game, which is actually a candy dispenser! It works great in this scale. And it holds some serious nostalgia for me...Pac-Man was definitely my game of choice as a tween, and I spent many hours after school playing it in one of the food joints near my house. I got pretty good, too!

Happy 2013, all! 

Many good wishes for the new year, and I look forward to another year of blogging and celebrating modern minis with you!

Credits: Wallpaper is Heroes and Villains wrapping paper from the Paper Source; credenza is by Cyd of My Mini Mod Pod; speakers and stereo are eBay finds; rug and magazines on desk are handmade by The Shopping Sherpa; Pac-Man video game is a candy dispenser from Kid Robot; chair is Reac; desk top is by Dragondee and base consists of two AMAC boxes; lamp is AG Minis; plant is vintage TOMY; artwork is Lundby; balloon figure is Pop! by Kid Robot. Accessories are Re-ment, Kid Robot, random eBay finds, and AG Minis.

The time it took me: 27 minutes

Holiday Cheer

Spreading a bit of holiday cheer, as 2012 draws to a close.

Snow fell here on Christmas Eve...a nice touch to a lovely evening! Here's wishing you all a very happy holiday and a great new year. It has been a fun journey connecting with you, especially new followers, and I hope this continues into 2013!

Thanks for all of your support and encouragement. It means a lot and really keeps me going!

C H E E R S!

Credits: Tootsie Roll couch is minimodernistas; pillows by The Shopping Sherpa; trees are Design Ideas, and angel toppers are wooden ornaments from Jazams; chairs are vintage eBay finds, likely are from an Add-a-Room set; table is an eBay find; plant is vintage TOMY; artwork is Bozart; nativity scene is a handmade "matchbox" set from Peru, purchased at Ten Thousand Villages; flooring is from the Paper Source. Accessories are AG Minis, CB2, Jazams, Re-ment, ELF, and Manor House Miniatures.

The time it took me: 50 minutes


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.

Brio "Chalet" Renovation Begins

I bought a 1963 "Chalet" style doll house by Brio more than eighteen months ago, and it has been patiently awaiting my help. I do have another Brio in my collection, and it is very similar, although it was made in 1966. I fell in love with my Brio, and decided to "go to the source" to find another to add to my collection: Sweden, of course! I was lucky to find one (with some expert help) on Tradera, the Swedish eBay. The price was right but the shipping predictably high, and it had an incredibly tough journey from Sweden. The house was not properly packed and it arrived beaten and bruised. It completely separated from the base and cracked in a number of places. See?

This is the extent of the packing...just newspaper

I was quite discouraged for some time, especially since I had to file a claim with the USPS, which I was told would be a fruitless process. Amazingly, after some persistence with a lovely lady at my postal branch, I was reimbursed for the shipping, which made me feel a bit better about the whole thing.

Now that my work table is in a clean state, I was able to take the house off its shelf and get a closer look at the all the flaws. Since the house had already come loose from its base, I was able to gently flip it onto its back and get full access to the floor and walls.

I have never had a dollhouse in this "flipped" state. Pretty cool!


I think I will be able to close some of the breaks in the wall, but not completely. The toughest challenge is going to be the top staircase railing. It should look like this (these photos were pulled from another Tradera listing):

But instead, the owner decided it needed to be cut in half and placed at an angle, leaving a big, unprotected gap for some unsuspecting inhabitants to fall down to the first level! Not sure how I am going to approach this yet. I will likely try to replicate the railing in wood and paint it.

There are also some ripped and stained spots on the wallpaper upstairs and downstairs. I am going to try to make high quality printouts of photographs of the paper and glue it over the problem areas. Luckily, the second floor bedroom is in good shape!

I hope you will follow my progress as I repair this house. It will take some time, but I am sure I will be motivated by the fact that it is crowding my work table!

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 dollhouse.com; 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 miniatures.com; 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 www.areaware.com 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!


So, I totally stole the title of this post from an inspirational piece of seating. Back in July, I posted a photo on the Call of the Small Facebook page of a phenomenal ergonomic and eco-conscious rocker, then on sale at Fab.

Photo courtesy of Fab.com
Known as the Pant Rocker, it was crafted by Shiner International, and I loved the lines and warmth of the wood...this chair definitely stayed on my mind. Enter the amazing Pepper of MitchyMoo Miniatures and poof! Magic! I now have my very own Pant rocker, in 1:12!!


Isn't it a wonder?? I'm sure it caused her much pain and agony. I imagine it was a pesky build. Don't worry, I have thanked Miss Pepper with a swap box full of many things...she is still awaiting her package, but I hope she likes everything!

The lovely laser cut lantern in this scene is also courtesy of Pepper.

She wired it with a mini LED and I managed to blow it on the first try with the battery. Typical of me to screw up the loveliness! Sorry again, Pepper! I also received incredible kitchen pieces and a brutalist wall sculpture, but I need to do a proper setup for those, which I will do as soon as I can.

I've been a very lucky duck as of late, because not only did I receive Pepper's goods, but two surprise packages, one from Lene of Modern Minis by Dragondee and the other from Cyd of My Mini Mod Pod.

Lene, who specializes in 1:6, offered me some lovely pieces she created in 1:12 for the defunct I'm A Giant Challenge, which was launched by Emily Henderson almost a year ago and sadly fizzled without a word (Megan did a phenomenal roundup of all the folks who actually did complete the challenge). So, the cool desk and storage unit, along with some lovely accessories, came from Lene and went right into this scene in the Villa Sibi.

Wouldn't you like an office setup like this?? I also added a vintage German low credenza and put the cushions from my Reac Barcelona chair as a topper. Looks less bare!

Cyd was very sweet and sent a hip and cool credenza as a generous thank you after I provided measurements from my Artply Highland (Cyd got a kit with missing pieces). She did a great job on it, don't you think???

I wish I could have highlighted every bit and piece I received from all three here in this scene, but rest assured they will make appearances in the future! THANK YOU to all, and you each amaze me with your talent and artistry!

Credits: Rocking chair and lantern by Pepper of MitchyMoo Miniatures; credenza by Cyd of My Mini Mod Pod; office desk and storage unit by Lene of Modern Miniatures by Dragondee; zig zag shelving by  MinisX2; rug by Fran Made Minis; marble sculptures are from my husband's collection; low credenza is vintage German with cushions from a Reac chair; office chair is CB2, spray painted silver by me; lantern pedestal is brinca dada; office plant and light are AG Minis; flooring is Con-Tact paper; wallpaper in living area is scrapbook paper from Michaels; wallpaper in office is from Lee's Art Shop, and rug is scrapbook paper from Jo Ann. Accessories are Modern Miniatures by Dragondee, Pepper of MitchyMoo Miniatures, AG Minis, Re-ment, Mighty World, Lilu Shop on Etsy, Nancy Tobey, Playmobil, vintage eBay finds, and handmade by The Shopping Sherpa.

The time it took me: 47 minutes

Safari Ltd Giveaway Winner Revealed

Thanks to the thirty-eight followers who participated in my Safari Ltd giveaway for two TOOBs--Around the World and Trains!

The Random Integer Generator has produced one number at random and the winner is...

34 -- Drora of Drora's Minimundo!

Congrats to you, Drora! Please email your full name and mailing address to call-small(at)call-small(dot)com and Safari Ltd will send out your two TOOBs! Have fun with them and please share some photos of your creations.

Thanks to all for participating! Please keep Safari Ltd products in mind when you are shopping for minis. We want to keep their high-quality replicas going strong! Happy 30th anniversary, Safari, and THANKS for partnering with me on such a fun giveaway!

Hanging Around

Well, here's a lounge scene in my Kaleidoscope House, which I have not used in quite some time. I do so love this house. It's great fun to decorate, and I like the effect of the color panels on scenes, especially when I use the fluorescent lighting in my basement room.

My recent cleanup meant that I could have easy access to the house, including a clear perimeter, which is necessary when turning it around to get to your desired room. Before digging into my scene, though, I tried out the new replacement roof that I bought some time ago on eBay for $20. My original roof does not sit completely flush, as is the case with many of the houses. This one worked quite well, I am pleased to say!

Now on to the scene...I decided to travel upstairs to one of the bedrooms, and got started with the wallpaper. I chose a piece of scrapbook paper from my DCWV "Serenity" stack (JoAnn has them on sale for $9.99). I chose a bold lined paper, and meant to have the lines running vertically, but I cut it the wrong way while distracted doing something else (duh). Yup, I used it anyway!

The flooring is a cherry wood paper from the Paper Source. I love these specialty papers; they really add warmth and realism to a scene, and helped to offset the colors of the desk (makeshift combination of a brinca dada kitchen island and a vintage Brio office shelving).

Now for the lounging...I got the Reac cowhide chair from Toy Tokyo for $17, which is a great store in Manhattan chock full of "designer" toys, mini figures, and action figures. And, they have a small selection of Re-ment and usually some Reac chairs, all blind boxes. I got lucky on this one, and also got a black ball chair! By the way, it looks like Reac has come out with a new "Assorted" line, which includes a selection of existing chairs.
Photo courtesy of Reac Japan

I'd love it if they came out with new ones too. Although, I am still pining for a La Chaise...
Photo courtesy of Reac Japan

Dreamy...but I digress!

The lighting in this scene is the result of a little repurposing. I was in Lowes last week an saw these pull chains by Harbor Breeze in the lighting department. POW!

It was almost *too* easy to come across these, given they are sized so nicely for mini use, and are about $4 each. I looked forward to using them here, but quickly came to realize that I had no way to suspend them into the scene. I scrambled around and rigged them sloppily!

Yup, that's a piece of balsa wood and a binder clip!
Worked, though!

Speaking of hanging around, look what I found guarding the last of our garden tomatoes!

I'd not mess with her!

Miss spider is actually a nice segue to the end of this post: I wanted to remind you all that I have a great giveaway going on RIGHT NOW with Safari Ltd, which makes incredibly realistic replicas. While they are known for their animal replicas, I am offering two of their TOOBs that may appeal to you miniaturists out there: trains and buildings! To enter the giveaway, go to this post on my blog and leave a comment. The giveaway closes on September 15, so head on over there! GOOD LUCK!

Credits: Lounge chair is Reac; office chair, planter, and Asian shelf are Re-ment; desk is a brinca dada kitchen island and vintage Brio office shelving; lighting are pull chains by Harbor Breeze; ball clock is handmade by Pubdoll; wall art is a charm from Michaels; wallpaper is DCVW; flooring is the Paper Source. Accessories are Re-ment, AG Minis, doll house store finds, Gigi N Studio, handmade by the Shopping Sherpa, Playmobil, and made by my son (the origami crane on the top shelf)!

Re-ment: The green painter's palette is from Black Cat Italian Restaurant, #4, and is a bit large for 1:12, but works. See my Mini-Sizer wiki for more on Re-ment!

The time it took me: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Vintage Children's Book DIY

There's probably nothing I love more than a straightforward and easy DIY, especially when inspired by a charming vintage children's book.

One of my youngest son's favorite books is How to Make Flibbers, etc: A Book of Things to Make and Do, by Robert Lopshire (Random House, 1964).

The book is filled with easy crafts with simple materials -- mostly paper, scissors, and glue. It charmed me from the first read, and my son and I even shared some of the simple to-dos with his preschool class. But, the mini potential did not occur to me until recently, and I was able to give the "Limp Lamps" activity a go!

Here are the pages from the book for the lamp:

Super easy, right? I figured it would be simple to replicate this activity on a smaller scale (I chose to eliminate the handle), and indeed it is. Here is my mini tutorial (not that you need it!):
Choose a paper. I used origami paper with a pattern, like these sheets.

Cut the paper into a rectangle shape, measuring about 2-3/4" x  3-1/4", but feel free to experiment with different sizes

Fold in half and score

Cut strips from the score and stop just before the top

Unfold and glue at the tops, with the score oriented along the center

I used other papers as well and tried out the activity in different sizes -- works!

The sofa is a new acquisition, purchased on my trip to Denver in July

I even used one of my flameless tea lights from Pottery Barn as a base -- neat!

Let me know if you do your own "Limp Lamps!"

Two other crafts from the book that have mini potential are these: "Party Mats" and "Stickit Picture"; I might try them next!

By the way, one of the reasons I was able to see this craft through was because I cleaned up my entire mini space. Remember my "struggle with clutter" post? Well, I just got in the right frame of mind and did it! We took some vacation time at home and I had a four-hour block of time to myself and just powered through. The only thing left to do is un-box and sort about 40 sets of Re-ment, purchased over the past two years! Yes, TWO years!

Here's some pics of my newly organized dollhouse room...hope it stays this way for a while.

Mini Hunting at NYIGF

It's an egg chair, right? Nope, it's an egg cooker by Christian Ghion for Alessi
I had an exhilarating and exhausting trip to the New York International Gift Fair last weekend at the Javits Center in Manhattan. I spent the better part of Sunday trekking down aisle after aisle, but of course ran out of time and did not see everything. As I've reported in the past, the show is filled with nearly 3,000 major retailers, smaller stores and manufacturers, and independent business owners who aim to share their latest and greatest lifestyle, home, and gift products with buyers and the press. There is so, so, so much to see and absorb, so I try to limit my activity to exhibitors who have miniatures or whose products are transferable to a modern miniature environment.

This time around, I made an appointment with Alessi to see their latest miniature offerings.

Alessi holds a very special place in my heart; my husband and I share a great affinity for their products and even included many of their home products on our wedding registry back in 1998. Alessi products are incredibly inventive, well-made, fun, and are true objects of design. Seemingly "humble" products like a teapot, honey jar, or toothpick holder have such sophisticated lines and materials and always possess some element of humor. Alessi already has a line of miniature versions of some of their most popular products (launched in 2008), like the tea kettle, corkscrew, and fruit holder, which each measure about 3" high. While not fit for a 1:12 environment, they are adorable and very high-quality, and retail for approximately $25-50 per piece.

Courtesy of Alessi
Cute, eh?

This year, based on the success of the mini replicas, Alessi has gone even smaller and has just come out with refrigerator magnets of their popular pieces, which I saw at the show. They measure about 1-1/2 to 2" high and are amazing!

Four snazzy product photos above courtesy of Alessi

What do you think?

Some gorgeous silicone food molds, designed by Mario Trimarchi for Alessi, also caught my eye -- the shapes are architectural and could definitely be transferable to a modern miniature environment (table? stools?).

All food mold photos courtesy of Alessi
Moving on to the Bambu booth, it was great to see additional pieces from their line. I've used their products many times in the past, most recently in this mod nursery post -- look at the crib! It's a salt cellar!

There were some lovely bamboo coasters and pebbles -- lots of potential here!

One of my next stops was the Design Ideas booth, which was filled with many interesting modern wooden trees of all sizes. There were also adorable critters, "Woodland Creatures," meant to be paired with the trees, or arranged on your mantle, or...in your dollhouse, perhaps??!

I also saw this urban stairwell mounted on the wall. I could see using this in a funky loft space...

In addition to these mini finds, a dollhouse took center stage at the show when it was voted one of the "Best New Products": the Plan Toys "Play House," a three-story structure made of rubber wood, which is a wood-like material made entirely of recycled Plan Toy product components. I actually saw the house at the Toy Fair back in February, and was impressed by the materials and construction.

Photo courtesy of the NYIGF
Plan Toys is known as one of the greenest companies around, and this newest product is no exception, especially when you think about how little waste is generated as part of the production. The furniture is quite neat -- here are a few photos from the Toy Fair:

Congrats, Plan Toys!

Last, but not least, was my visit to the AREAWARE booth, where a great Cubebot display greeted visitors:

The massive 2-1/2 foot Cubebot standing in the back is new for fall, as is the Micro Cubebot, which measures about 4-1/4" high! If you are not yet familiar with Cubebots, you should be...designed by David Weeks, the Bot has a cult following. It's no wonder they are sprouting up in different sizes; perhaps they might even go smaller one day???

Stay tuned for a truly exciting opportunity to have some fun with Cubebot. I am working out the details now with AREAWARE 
for a great challenge and giveaway. More information coming in September!

If you've read this far, thanks for sticking with me through my NYIGF tour, 2012! Hope you enjoyed it!

Let's Go Wild: A Safari Giveaway!

When I was first getting (back) into miniatures as an adult, my childhood memories of playing with minis came flooding back. I suddenly saw the potential in everyday items, ordinary household objects, and especially children's toys. Trips to the toy store were not only welcomed by my three kids, but encouraged by me!

I gravitated especially toward mini animal figurines and similar toys, which can work so well as adorable accents in nurseries and other scenes, like this one from 2009, right after I started blogging:

Check out the full post, too!

See that little dino on the wardrobe, at the upper right of the photo? That was one of my first purchases of Safari Ltd. toys, and I have bought many since. And now...

I am so thrilled to offer a wonderful giveaway of TWO Safari Ltd. products to one of my readers!

Safari's TOOBS sets are among my favorites of their products. Like other Safari products, they are well-made and lively replicas--the Around the World and Trains sets present so many great opportunities for mini scenes, in 1:12 and larger scales. Have a look at these realistic painted rubber pieces!


  • I will be giving away one Around the World set and one Trains set to one lucky reader! 

  • To enter, simply comment on this post anytime between today and Saturday, September 15, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time. You may only comment once. Please share how you might use the sets for your mini endeavors, or even just to play. You don't have to own a dollhouse to win them!!

  • You must be a follower of my blog to enter. You can live anywhere in the world -- Safari Ltd. will get it to you.

  • To choose the winner, I will pick one number based on the total number of comments using the Random Integer Generator on or about September 16, 2012. So you have a whole month to log in your comment! Feel free to spread the word, too!

I am so glad I am able to thank my loyal readers a cool giveaway! Thanks for following and GOOD LUCK

And be sure to check out the latest with Safari Ltd. on their website, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. The company is celebrating 30 years in the business -- congrats and thanks, Safari!