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A Diss-tinguished dolls’ house

27 February 2012

Dolls’ houses are part of our history, whether family heirlooms or an exhibit in a museum.

Modelled on the Old Rectory in Diss, Norfolk, the dolls’ house in question is not only one of the most popular items in the town’s museum but also one of its most travelled, having been to the USA and back again.

According to an article in local newspaper, the Diss Express, the house originally belonged to the Manning family, who were Rectors of Diss for many years, and was played with by generations of children.

Eventually it was put into a jumble sale and purchased by a Mr Bennett for his daughter, Evelyn, when she was ill in bed.

As an adult, Evelyn moved to the USA and took the house with her which should have been the end of the house’s connection with Diss.

However, in 1994 Evelyn donated the house to the Diss museum and so it made its way back to its natural home.

Pat’s inspiration starts with Magpies dolls’ house kit

16 January 2012

We love to see what you create with Dolls House Emporium kits.

That's why we were fascinated to hear from Pat Sointu all the way from Massachusetts in the USA whose latest creation is based on our very own Magpies kit.

Magpies dolls' house

Pat describes herself as a 'fibre artist' living on the south coast of Boston and a member of 4th Floor Artists at the ET Wright Building in Rockland, Massachusetts.

Back in October 2011 she was awaiting the arrival of her Magpies kit and beginning a blog detailing the progress of her project to transform the kit into a late Victorian textile shop.

The very first entry on Pat’s blog at reads:
“Magpies made a record breaking flight across the Atlantic and arrived at my door a few days ago. 
She's out of the box and the main shell (what the British call the "carcase" :) is together. 
I ordered the Quick Build version of the kit to save some time, but the medium blue and sort of yellow paint job done at the factory looked too much like a child's toy. 
So I decided to paint the front doors and window frames black (and maybe some gold) and the top of the building will be sort of a stucco finish, with the bottom done in grey stone... it will be great fun to work on during the long New England winter bearing down on us.”
Of course, no project goes entirely smoothly and Pat encountered a few problems along the way but with typical resilience and a phone call to the team at Dolls House Emporium, she got the project motoring.

Magpies dolls' house

At the same time she was busy creating a history for the shop that was now called Hennessy’s Textile Shop and occupied by Alice and her family who lived above the shop.
“My grandfather's family emigrated from Ireland to Dundee, Scotland in the 19th century to work in the jute mills.  It was a difficult life until they came to the US. 
I decided to change their fortunes by building the weaving shop and naming it after them, thus making them successful business folks.  Their living quarters above the shop will be much more comfortable than what they really had. You can do anything with dolls houses!!”
On 19th December, two months after starting the project, Pat blogged:
“Alice has finally opened Hennessy's Textile Shop and moved into her apartment  upstairs. 
"The Christmas tree is up and the presents are wrapped...  Downstairs, the weavers are sweeping up after a hard day's work and they'll be leaving shortly to spend Christmas with their families.” 
We think the results are fantastic and can only add our congratulations.  Well done, Pat, you’re a real inspiration to us all.

Dolls’ houses help with offenders’ rehabilitation

28 December 2011

There are lots of programmes designed to help prisoners with rehabilitation but surely one of the most unusual is at a prison in Tennessee, USA.

Inmates at the Metro Davidson County Detention Facility in Tennessee have been building dolls’ houses three days a week with the finished items being donated to charities serving needy children.

The programme, which has been featured on the Tennessean website, is the brainchild of Yolanda Pittman, the facility’s Chief of Security.

In her words: “This is something they [the inmates] can take home and use to begin a career.  It’s an opportunity for rehabilitation.”

But let’s leave the last word to one of the participants on the programme.  David Reagen, a convicted thief and recovering heroin addict, said, “This is about being part of something selfless.  I’ve been very selfish the last few years with my drug abuse, and just knowing that someone else is gaining something from this, that it’s just not me this time, is the best feeling.”

So in addition to being stimulating, creative, enjoyable and fun, dolls’ houses can also be described as liberating.

White House up for sale!

9 December 2011

No, President Obama is not downsizing in these difficult economic times but the White House in question is on a miniature scale.

In fact it’s a five-room model made to 1-inch scale auctioned as part of a charity event at the 13th Annual Dollhouse Festival in Provo, Utah County.

The Festival was raising funds to fight child abuse and the miniature White House has been specially made for the event.

Three feet wide and two feet deep, the house features an Oval Office, Lincoln Bedroom, a kitchen and entrance hall with hanging chandelier.  Even the walls are hung with wallpaper which matches the original White House.

You can see more of the house here.

Across the Pond

4 November 2008

It can't have gone unnoticed by even those of us that are absorbed in the miniature world that there is something (an election no less) happening in The United States of America. It's also been noted that our forum members contain a growing number of our cousins from across the pond, so by way of a small tribute, here's some pointers for those of you in the USA looking for more miniature groups and friends.

The National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts (NAME) has been running in the USA, and now around the world, for over 30 years. You can sign up to be a member for your state, or if joining from overseas, to the online 'state'. NAME holds regular meetings and a national convention and ais definitely the place to meet like-minded individuals if you're in the country and via the newsletters and online community. View their site here

As for The Dolls House Emporium, when you log onto the website from the USA you should automatically be able to view products priced in dollars and we will despatch products to you as swiftly as possible, we’ve been told in the past that we are quicker than ordering in the USA, but don’t hold us to it, we’d hate to disappoint! There's also our forum of course, one of the liveliest miniatures forums on the web, where people from all over the world (not just the UK and USA) can meet and chat, share tips and more often than not form fast friendships.

So welcome to all of our friends from across the pond, so if you’re from the USA, welcome, From Canada, bienvenue, or from Mexico, Central or South America, bienvenido!
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