October 27, 2009


A Grand Affair in Miniature
Grand Rapids MI
Miniature & Dollhouse Show
October 2009

My mother and sister have been attending the local dollhouse show held in October each year for many many years now. My mother bought a custom built dollhouse from premiere dollhouse builder "The House that Jack Built" 17 long years ago. It was just a plain shell of a house with holes where the windows and doors would be and no chimneys. Slowly (very slowly), over the years, she has been collecting furniture, making most of her furniture from kits, and buying accessories and architectural bits and pieces, all with the dream of one day displaying her house at the miniature show. But, that poor house sat there unfinished. All the supplies to get it done were sitting in boxes. She always talked about getting to it but, being a festidious (and obsessive) housekeeper, the house continued to sit unfinished. After a serious illness and a couple weeks in the hospital last year, I decided it time to light a fire under her to get it done. I boldly told her that she was 75 and not getting any younger. I pointed out that with one bad fall she could find herself living in a home and unable to ever make that dream of hers come true. So finally, after 17 years and a lot of encouragement (and badgering) she got it done. She has added stone chimneys and cedar shake roofing, divided windows and a beautiful front door with reproduction iron hardware. She wasn't terribly pleased with me and my prodding at the time but she is so thrilled and relieved to finally have her dream house complete.

To make the occassion even more special for her, my sister brought her dollhouse up from Atlanta for the show. It was a mother / daughter dollhouse display. "Laurie's" house is her childhood dollhouse. A dear friend of my folk's built it for her 36 yrs ago. The furniture has all changed over the years but childhood sentiment won't allow her upgrade her little old house. She has traveled far and wide from Atlanta to Chicago and even Toronto to dollhouse shows. She's not the do-it-selfer that mom is, but rather a self-described "Buy-it-Yourselfer". Being a professional career woman she can afford the very best and when she sees a piece she really loves she spares no expense. She has some really beautiful artist made and signed pieces of furniture and dolls. Their favorite miniature artist would be Jim Ison of Traverse City MI. He makes the most incredible and beautiful miniature pewters and they both have their houses well stocked.

Finally. the 3rd item entered in the mother / daughter showing is a dollhouse cross-stitch which I made for my mother several years ago. It was actually a pattern my sister had bought. But handy crafts and stitcheries are not her thing and she never even attempted to make it. While cleaning out her closets one day she came acrossed it and passed it on to me. I redesigned most of the furnishings and decor in the dollhouse stitchery as it was all done it bright colors and not very well decorated. I seldom follow a cross-stitch pattern very closely and this was no exception.

So, come along and take a tour of the mother / daughter dollhouse display!

Be sure to click on each picture for a closer look at all the tiny details.

Laurie's Childhood Dollhouse Redecorated

The Kitchen
(momma doll was removed so the back of the room could be seen in the photo)

Momma Doll Back in the Kitchen


Gorgeous Little Boy in Office

Formal Sitting Room

Little Girls Room

Playing in the Nursery

Master Bedroom

Dollhouse Cross-Stitch
made for Mom Many Years Ago

Mom's 1700's
Colonial Dollhouse

The Kitchen

Formal Sitting Room

1st Bedroom

Home Office

Master Bedroom

October 26, 2009


Nonee (Grandma) had some surprise visitors drop by in their matching Big Sister / Little Sister shirts today. Sienna is use to me babysitting a couple days a week while her mommy works, but mommy is on maternity leave. She requested they come and see me this morning so there they were. Grandma's Girls! Just a little ray of sunshine on "another" rainy day.

October 23, 2009

It's Been a While

Another summer has come and gone. Or has it? It has been such a cold and rainy summer here in Michigan again this year. In fact, July was one of our coldest July's on record. Definately not the kind of weather a pool owner wants. Autumn doesn't appear to be any different. The rain and cold have been endless. There were good times, there were bad times, new experiences, a new life coming into the world, a torn calf muscle, the flu followed by bronchitis, and a huge health scare. They believe I had a mini stroke (TIA). Actually, they think it was a "mini" mini stroke because I was able to talk and move through the episode. At any rate, my blood pressure was sky high and I am now on BP pills and asperin therapy and a strict, strict diet. Goodbye ice cream and salt.

We got some jobs accomplished around the house, which we moved into 16 months ago. We fixed up the falling down garden shed which now looks almost new again and built a new shed by the pool for pool toys. We built a large raised veggie bed and grew our first vegetables. I would call it a success. We managed to come out with a pantry full of pickles, and a freezer full of carrots and tomatoes. I'll be sure to plant a lot more sugar snap peas next year. They were so good from the vine that they were eaten raw and seldom ever made into the house. The melons were a bust. I'm not sure if I'll try them again next year or not. But, thanks to my companion planting there wasn't an insect problem all year. Powdery mildew yes, insects no.

The bushes in front of the house were all dead when we moved in and there wasn't a bit of curb appeal. Just a big bed of 2" rock. We managed to get half that rock removed and got a start by planting some hosta and ferns and pachysandra and built a small fountain by the front walk. The other half will have to wait till next year. We did manage to spruce up the windows. We hoped to completely replace them with the 30% government rebate but that never materalized. Can you believe they didn't include "northern" low E glass in the rebate? Maybe next year I'll get my new "divided" windows.
Window Make-over

Fountain by front walk

My daylily collection was in full bloom this year. I had dug them all up from the garden at my last house and brought them along in the move. I was afraid a couple might not have made it because they were in pots for some time before I had places prepared to replant them all. I also brought along my hosta collection from the previous garden. They are all filling in beautifully in their new shady home under a giant maple. I brought over 40 plants along from the last place.

It was such a treat having the completed pond right outside the window this year. At the last house the pond was at the back of the yard where we missed all the action. The robins and cardinals were bathing and splashing all summer long. The fish were jumping. And we were able to see the frogs watching and waiting from the lilypads for a tasty insect to come by for lunch.
Our last pond was in a shadier spot and we were unable to grow lotus. Now we have 2 lotus in the pond. What a show they put on with their enormous flowers and beautiful cupped leaves. The cat tails swayed with the slightest breezes and the waterlilies and floating hearts spread and bloomed and put on a summer long show of their own.

My darling grand daughter, Sienna, celebrated her 2nd birthday on September 20 and on September 26 she got a new baby sister. It was pretty scary as the ambilical cord was wrapped very tightly around her neck. But, luckily, she appears to be fine and healthy at this point.
At left, Sienna at age 23 months. Below, Sienna meeting
her new sister, Ava Elizabeth, for the first time. She definately approved!

Ava - 12 hours old in her
"granny" knit designer hat
Ava, full of smiles at just 25 days old.
I spent the last year desperately searching for a nice used sofa on Craigs List. I found a couple beauties but they were always priced too high or sold almost as soon as they were listed. Well, I finally broke down and ordered a new Johnstons Benchworks sofa from Saltbox Farm in Howard City MI. As luck would have it, I found a pair of gorgeous wingbacks on Craigs List the same day I ordered my sofa so I was able to order matching pillows to put on them. The chairs are in brand new condition and cost half of what 1 new chair would have cost. I also found a cute little corner hutch on Craigs List for just $60.00 to display some of my ironstone and flow blue collection in. The room finally looks just as I pictured it should.

Finally, there haven't been many sunny or even dry days here this fall. But we did have one gorgeous day this week. This is the very colorful view I have from my computer desk at the moment. Of coarse most of this particular day was spent outside, fertilizing and cutting back the gardens and loving every minute of it. Soon the trees will be bare and the snow will be flying and the only outside job will be to shovel the snow. These beautiful colors will be but a faded memory.