Monday, April 25, 2011

Felt Felines and New Pixies

The Pocket Pixies wanted some feline companionship, so here are three little kitties, made from this simple and delightfult pattern by Runo:

Felt Kitties

She is an amazing dollmaker, and her blog is filled with many free patterns.  Please visit Runo's blog here at Nuno Life

More Pixies have come to play with Wren and Robin :-)

Nettie, for my sister's birthday.

Sparrow, in her blue jumper.

Finch, in her pretty lace-trimmed nightgown.

It is amazing how much fun can be had with a little bit of felt, floss, and yarn.  

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Furniture for Wren's Nest

Wren's Nest now has furniture!  Most of it was made with cardboard, foam, and fabric.   None of it costly, nor requiring power tools.  If you don't mind getting your hands sticky with glue, this may be the dollhouse project for you :-)

Bedroom with bed and nightstand

Kitchen table and chairs, mostly from craft sticks, spools, and wood plaques

Cozy living room with overstuffed chairs and footstool

A picture tutorial for making this furniture is available on my flickr site, and here at Cardboard Cottage Furniture.  Just a few little touches to finish this up, an embroidered felt rug for the living room, a cross stitch sampler to hang on the wall, popsicle peg racks for the kitchen and bedroom.  My Pocket Pixies are happy with their home, and so am I :-)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring in Indy

Bike riding around our hometown this weekend.  Amazing how Spring can grace even a large city.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Wren's Nest; a cardboard cottage dollhouse

Maybe your child would like to have a dollhouse, or maybe you want one yourself.  But the cost of a kit (not to mention ready built) is beyond what you want to spend.  And if you get a kit, then there is the construction, which is never as simple as the advertising says :-)   For myself, driving a nail straight is a painful challenge.

So how about a dollhouse you can make with material you probably already have on hand, and no hammers necessary?  A sturdy dollhouse with lots of play appeal?  Cardboard to the rescue!

Wren's Nest, above, is made from cardboard boxes, fabric, and glue.  The key to making a sturdy, and attractive, dollhouse from cardboard boxes is to line the box, both inside and out, with covered cardboard.

tools and materials for cardboard cottage dollhouse

I used fabric to cover my cardboard lining pieces, and cut windows out of my boxes and the linings.  You could also use white poster board and draw interior and exterior scenes for your house, or your kids could!  If you are ambitious, you could applique windows, doors, flowers, whatever, to your fabric before applying it to the linings.   Once you've sandwiched two or three layers of cardboard together, you'll be amazed at how sturdy the dollhouse is.

room box with interior lining pieces, ready to glue in place

Measure the interior and exterior walls, floor and ceiling carefully, to within 1/8 inch.  Cut cardboard lining pieces to these measurements, and label each piece as to where it goes (e.g. left wall interior, back wall exterior, etc).  Each room 'box' should have five interior lining pieces and five exterior lining pieces.

using the lining piece to cut fabric; note the cutting lines on the window fabric

Cover each interior lining piece separately, applying glue only along the edges of the wrong side of the cardboard linings.

gluing fabric around window; the edges will be next

exterior lining pieces laid out on fabric

For the exterior, lay the exterior walls out on the fabric with a scant 1/4 inch between them.  Cut the fabric out around the edges leaving an inch extra all around.  The exterior walls will be glued to the fabric as one piece, with the 1/4 gap as a 'hinge' around the exterior corners.  This neatens up the outside of the dollhouse

bedroom box with interior and exterior linings installed.

outside view

dollhouse with all the interior and exterior lining glued in place

After all the lining pieces have been covered with fabric and installed, the dollhouse is nearly finished.  At this point it is fun to raid your stash of trims and lace to trim up the house.  I like to cover the front openings (you can still see the cardboard box edges if you don't), add some shutters and curtains, and maybe some gingerbread trim to the roof.  Lets see what we have...

these look promising!

What a difference a little trim makes!  

I started this project on Thursday afternoon, and finished it on Monday.   I worked in snatches over the weekend, and pretty steadily on Thursday afternoon, Friday afternoon, and Monday afternoon.   All the materials, including the boxes, came from stuff I had at home.  

Here is a full picture tutorial for making this Cardboard Cottage.

I think Wren and Robin are going to be pretty cozy in this nest, as soon as I make some simple furnishings :-)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tiny Dollhouses

Several years ago I was making small (four inches tall) dolls from wood beads and tiny spools.  The basic doll design was from a kit offered by Hearthsong; I made a few changes and made dozens of these little dolls.  Of course, they wanted a house of their own, so I designed a couple of cottages from cardboard and fabric.  Here are some pictures to share with you.

Bead and spool doll with removable crochet clothing

Interior of single story dollhouse

Living room detail

Bedroom detail
Cardboard can be amazingly strong, if you use two pieces glued together, which is how this doll house was constructed.  All of the furnishing are handmade, some with simple wood blocks and popsicle sticks, or cardboard and foam.

I don't have any patterns for these little houses, but I'm currently working on a cardboard cottage for the Pocket Pixies, and I should be able to share the construction of this with you.  It is a little simpler than these dollhouses, but should offer a lot of play potential :-)

Here is a two story house.

Exterior view of two story house

Interior view
Living room detail

Bedroom detail 
A lot of fun things can be constructed of inexpensive and readily available materials.  These houses were made from shipping boxes cut up, with fabric and trim from my stash.    Maybe looking at these houses will spark an idea in you for a fun project :-)