Lucky Girl in CT gets Wooden Barbie Country Dollhouse

Wooden Barbie Country Dollhouse with unique shingles

Here’s more inspiration for decorating your Martin Dollhouse Country kit or any dollhouse kit for that matter.

Katrina J. of Connecticut has an amazing eye for color and overall design. She’s done a few things that we don’t see very often, this time on The Country with a Front Closure.

For one, she painted the shingles which gave it a really cool, modern look. She also used a different trim on the dormer window rather than the scallop trim. I like how she painted the shutters and doors peach. It really pops. Check out her flooring options. Note the bedspread. It’s one I sent her.

Here’s what Katrina told me. “The house was a huge success, and I finished it day before Christmas Eve. I make one for each of my in-laws when they have a girl and they turn four. The first one I did is still loved after 6 years.”      

What an incredibly generous lady! I certainly got a bunch of new decorating ideas from Katrina.

Katrina’s creativity and generosity are an inspiration. I can just image how excited all these little 4-year-old girls were when they first saw their wooden Barbie dollhouse. She’s a good one to talk to about how long it takes and how she pulls it all together. She makes me think how much fun it would be to have guest decorators each year to develop a decorating kit for each of the houses.

Alpine Wooden Barbie Dollhouse from Indy

Wooden Barbie Alpine Dollhouse with extra drawers

Sunni B. from Indianapolis is another true artist. She bought The Alpine wooden Barbie dollhouse kit with two extra 2-drawer units for more storage. She also bought some of our solid wood furniture and instead of upholstering with fabric, she painted them in awesome colors.The colors and wallpaper are so much fun. Of course we love the yellow – it’s so bright and cheery. And she even made some drapes for the windows. I can only imagine what her daughters thought when they saw it Christmas morning.

Here’s what Sunni wrote me:

“I wanted to tell you how wonderful the dollhouse is. I have 3 daughters and the oldest has outgrown it, but the younger 2 spend hours playing with it. It’s such a great toy, and I really appreciate your company producing the kit. We love it!! Thank you so much for a quality product and fast shipping. You were amazing to work with and I am so grateful to you for helping me give my girls such a wonderful gift. I just love the dollhouses that you produce and have told all my friends and co-workers to purchase a kit for their daughters and sons.”

I’m often asked if I can make more delicate, intricate furniture. Yes, I can. But for kids, I like to keep the furniture more substantial so they can play with the accessories without worrying about breaking anything. I do a few special pieces for adult collectors. They are much more delicate and really only for looks and light play by adults. Yep. You heard it right. Some of us adults have been known to “play” with our collections.

I still have my original 14 Barbies, Kens and GI Joes. And through the dollhouses, I get my need to decorate out of my system. My husband thanks me all the time!

Chicagoean Decorates Martin Dollhouse Country Dollhouse Kit

Decorated Martin Dollhouse Country

Just had to share how Tiina A. from Chicago decorated the Martin Dollhouse Country Dollhouse kit. She worked on the Country off and on for several months and still has plans to add some wallpapers to her Country Dollhouse. Overall, she says she was thrilled with what her daughter received at Christmas. Here’s what she had to say:

“We purchased the kit last December, 2015 after a long search for a quality dollhouse. I built the house after last Christmas. This fall (2016), I just felt that this had to get done before the upcoming Christmas. I did not want to rush with the wallpaper and wall trim, so I’ll take a break until January and finish it then. My daughter loves it!!!

Get ready. What Tiina did is sweet and elegant.

Martin Dollhouse Country Dollhouse Kit decorated by Chicagoean
I love how simple and elegant Tiina’s dollhouse is. She chose “The Country” kit with an extra set of drawers for all those little Barbie extras.

 

Check out the fireplace and the bed. Love all the little trinkets scatter throughout.

I had to ask Tiina about the dolls. I just loved the bunnies and the little critters at the table. She said she bought them from a Danish toy company called Maileg. She also mentioned that a few pieces are from the retired Angelina ballerina collection (by American Girl).

Martin Dollhouse The Country Dollhouse kit patio setting with furniture
Really nice Christmas decorations.

I like her wreath on the door and the lights she strung. And I really like the gray siding. Makes it so contemporary.

Martin Dollhouse Country Kit decorated by Tiina
Can’t wait to see how she continues to evolve her heirloom.

It never ceases to amaze me how creative someone can get with decorating a dollhouse. It’s fun, and it’s a lot faster and cheaper than decorating a real house. If you don’t like the wall colors, just repaint them or wallpaper, or stencil them. Wait? Stencil? Oh yeah. That’s been my latest thing. I’ll be sharing some of those photos soon.

Thanks Tiina for sharing and inspiring all of us!

GI Joe Creator Passes Away

GI Joe space capsule

I just read the news about GI Joe creator, Sam Weston, passing away this month. The New York Times did a nice article on him. It says he was inspired by the success and popularity of Barbie. And I love the original commercial from 1964.

My Barbies thank Sam. A lot.

Barbie dated Ken, of course. But it didn’t last. Ken was kind of stiff. Literally.

Joe, on the other hand…well, his arms could bend and his shoulders could turn. He could put his arm around Barbie when they sat on the sofa in Barbie’s dollhouse retreat. Joe was active. He had his own space capsule and had visited the moon several times. He had a couple inflatable yellow rafts. Barbie and him were known for taking sunset floats on the little pond outside Barbie’s backdoor. He also had the coolest Army jeep that they went four-wheeling in.

GI Joe creator space capsule

When Joe was deployed or on a trip to the moon, Ken kept Barbie company. But Barbie eventually introduced Ken to Midge and the two seemed to hit it off. At last play, Midge and Ken were seeing movies together and were known to read the same books just so they had someone to discuss the plot line.

GI Joe creator. Barbie Ken Scooter sitting on patio furniture while GI Joe on moon.
Ken visiting Barbie while Joe was visiting the moon. Barbie was babysitting her little sister, Scooter.

What I didn’t tell you is how I came to actually take ownership of my GI Joe. My brother Mike, 3.5 years older than me, was always looking to make a quick dime. Money seemed to burn a hole in his pocket. He just couldn’t spend it fast enough. I was the opposite. The $0.50 an hour I made babysitting got split in half – 50% went into savings and I never touched it. The other 50% was my spending money.

Fourth of July would come around and my brother would want fireworks to blow up his little army men. Alas, no cash-ola. But he knew who had the cash. So he’d set up a “garage sale” in his bedroom, displaying all the toys he no longer wanted. He’d put price tags on everything and then invite me to shop. Over the course of a couple years, I bought him out of his GI Joes – jeep, space capsule, footlocker – all of it.

And that’s how Barbie and GI Joe ended up together.

I still have everything. And as for my brother. Money stopped burning a hole in his pocket. Turns out, he learned to save better than I did. Someday, if he wants Joe back, I’ll consider it. He’s been a great brother, after all. Ironically, his daughter, my niece is getting married next year. And the guy’s name? Joe.

Photo of brother I got GI Joe from
Us before GI Joe – My brother, Mike, cousin Gary, cousin Mary Rose, and me.

Adding a Barbie Doll Bed Mattress – Permanent

Barbie Doll Bed mattress

So last time, we looked at a Removable mattress for Barbie’s wooden bed. Let’s take a look at my new favorite – a barbie doll bed mattress sewn into the bed’s platform.

As a reminder, the wooden bed measures 12-1/2″ x 5-3/8″ wide.

I used the same finished measurements as I did for the Removable Mattress:  Cut 2 pieces of fabric – 14″ x 6-7/8″. This allows for 1/2″ seam allowance and some extra for the tucks which will shrink the size just a bit. I didn’t use the side strip; rather I just sewed the top and bottom piece together.

This time, instead of sewing the tucks into the mattress after you stitch the top and bottom together, we do something different. I made a paper template of where I want the tucks in the mattress to go. Here’s the template instructions.

How To Make a Mattress Template

  1. Take an 8-1/2″x11″ piece of paper and cut it to 5-3/8″ wide x 11″ long.
  2. Fold it in half the the long way. Fold it again in half. And fold it one more time in half.
  3. Unfold the paper and then fold it in half the long way. Fold it in half again.
  4. Open up the paper and you should see a grid like in the picture.
  5. Mark holes as indicated in the picture.

Mattress Template

DIY pattern for Barbie Doll Bed mattress.

 

Transfer Template Holes to Barbie Doll Bed Base

Next, using my template, I marked through the holes in the template with a pencil and then drilled holes in the base of the bed. I used about a 1/16″ drill bit but you can use what ever you need to get a needle and some embroidery floss through the hole and into the mattress. I use a big embroidery needle because it’s easier to thread the embroidery floss. BTW – I’m using 3 of the 6 threads in the embroidery floss.

Drilled Holes in Barbie Doll Bed

Drilled hole for Barbie doll bed mattress in bottom of Barbie wooded doll bed

 

Securing Barbie Doll Bed Mattress to the Wooden Bed

Center the mattress on the bed and then while holding it in place, insert your needle and thread through the hold on the bottom side. Draw the needle straight through the mattress. Then move about 1/8″ away from where the thread came through and draw the needle back through the same hole.

Close-up of tuck for Barbie doll bed mattress.

Drawing through the Needle

Needle inserted into bottom of Barbie wooden bed to attach Barbie doll bed mattress to the bed.

 

Finishing & Securing Your Barbie Doll Bed Mattress

Pull the two threads on the bottom side of the bed tight to form a tuck and tie a knot. Because the drilled hole is probably bigger than your knot, you’ll need to secure the threads with hot glue. I but some glue in the hole, let it dry (takes about 10 seconds), and then I glue the threads down so there’s little opportunity for the threads to come loose.

 

Securing Tuck Threads with Hot Glue

Backside of Barbie Wooden Bed for permanent Barbie doll bed mattress.

Here’s some more pictures of the process and finished product. Let me know what you think.

Making progress of Barbie Doll Bed Mattress Close-up of Barbie Doll Bed Mattress with tucks.Finished Barbie Doll Bed Mattress removeable.Close up of tucks in finished Barbie doll bed mattress.(UX Banner or Sections)

Adding a Barbie Doll Bed DIY Mattress – Removeable

Finished Barbie Doll Bed DIY Mattress for wooden bed removable version.

I’ve been playing around with making a Barbie doll bed DIY mattress. Version One is removable and can be used with one of our wooden beds or any bed you have that’s around 12″ long. It consists of 3 pieces of fabric – top, bottom, and a long strip for sides.

Side view of a Barbie Doll bed DIY mattress for wooden doll bed.

Instructions for Barbie Doll Bed DIY Mattress

Here’s how you DIY-it yourself. After measuring the flat part of the doll bed, which is 12-1/2″ long x 5-3/8″ wide, I cut my fabric 14″ x 6-7/8″. This allows for 1/2″ seam allowance and some extra for the tucks which will shrink the size just a bit. The strip was cut 1-1/2″ wide, again for 1/2″ seam allowances for a finished depth of 1/2″. You’ll probably have to sew several strips together since you’ll need a 42″ long strip.

It’s harder to make because of sewing the strip around the edge but it looks good.

Finished Barbie Doll bed DIY mattress for wooden bed.

After stuffing it with fiber fill and sewing it up, I just did a back’n forth stitch to make the tucks. This one is straight. I’ve also done a decorative circle stitch.

Close-up of tucks for Barbie doll bed DIY mattress for wooden bed.

It’ll go quicker if you use a pattern to mark where the tucks should go. Here’s how you do that:

  1. Cut a piece of paper that fits the top of the bed.
  2. Fold it in half length-wise and then fold it again in half.
  3. Unfold the paper and then fold it in half width-wise.Fold it two more times.
  4. Unfold the paper again and poke a hole in an alternating pattern as indicated in the picture.
  5. Using a fabric pen or pencil (they either disappear after a few minutes or they easily wipe off), mark the location of the tucks.
  6. Now you’re ready to sew the tucks.

Barbie doll bed DIY mattress pattern for tucks.

When it’s done, Barbie give’s her seal of approval. In fact, it looks so soft, I’m thinking….

Barbie sitting on her new Barbie doll bed DIY mattress for her wooden bed.

That’s it. If you make the Barbie Doll Bed DIY Mattress, let me know how it goes. I always love seeing what others create. And see my next blog on Version 2 – a Barbie doll bed mattress sewn into the actual bed.

Barbie Dollhouse Lamp

Barbie dollhouse lamp with paper shades

I’ve been playing with a Barbie dollhouse lamp a little bit. Years ago (okay a decade or two but who’s counting) this is what the designed looked like – sturdy enough for kid’s play but not very elegant. With some paint and some fabric it does turn out pretty nice. And it’s solid wood so it’s child-destruction tested.

Older version of Barbie dollhouse lamp all wood

Here’s another version I recently completed. It was from this version that I added a paper shade and created what you’re about to see.

Barbie dollhouse lamp before shade

 

My latest on a Barbie Dollhouse Lamp

These Barbie dollhouse lamps are solid wood – birch and pine – but the “lamp shade” is not tapered. The lamp shade is wrapped with nice, heavy foil/gold paper. I like the way the floor lamp really brightens up the corner of the living room in The Townhouse dollhouse.

Barbie dollhouse lamp with paper shades

I stained the wood with a darker stain to offset the gold-colored tables. Donning rubber gloves, I just dipped the entire lamp based in the stain, shoot off the excess, and set it aside to dry. I then sprayed it with a clear gloss spray paint coat. The above living room table lamp is slightly larger than the two bedroom nightstand lamps below.

Barbie dollhouse lamp with paper shades for bedroom nightstand Barbie dollhouse lamp with paper shades and custom upholstered Barbie wood bed.

I really like the way everything came together. The wallpaper was some scrapbooking paper I found – the dots are ‘fuzzy’. I did a custom upholstered, wood Baltic Birch bed.

Barbie dollhouse lamp and complete bedroom.In another blog, I show how I made a removable Barbie doll bed mattress. After all, you can’t have Barbie sleeping on a hard bed.

Barbie enjoying her Barbie dollhouse lamp and bed with mattress.

The above rooms are from a Barbie dollhouse, The Townhouse, I donated to our local high school for a fundraiser for their theater group. I do a few commissioned pieces each year for special events and on customer request. It only take a few hours to assemble on of my kits, but it does take some thought and time in decorating.

 

DIY Barbie Bedding Makes your Barbie Dollhouse a Home

DIY Barbie Bedding Pink

I admit it. I love to sew. I’ve been sewing since I was six when I started on my great-grandmother’s old Singer treadle machine. I started making Barbie clothes.

DIY Barbie bedding sewn on Singer treadle sewing machine
Yep. Still have it by the way. Beats working out on a bike at the gym!

Without telling you my age, I can safely say I’ve been sewing a LOOONNNGGG time.

I’ve kept my dollhouse quilts and Barbie bedding pretty simple for now – frankly I don’t have time to really do the work I love to do – very intricate designs. But maybe these will give you some inspiration. And I always love to see other people’s work. Send me an email with your creations and I’ll post them on my website and Facebook page for all to enjoy.

DIY Barbie Bedding Ideas

Okay. Here we go. Love this one. Of course, everything I make is reversible because even Barbie, Monster High Rochelle Goyle, and Bratz Sasha like variety in their bedding.

DIY Barbie bedding pink circles and knitted blanket

Here it is with the other side showing. Also did some lace on this one. Love the black polka-dot pillow. The other pillow is reversible too. The pink throw is knitted. Something I do while in the car (passenger seat only) or watching TV at night.

DIY Barbie bedding pink stripes and black polka dot pillow

Purple is it. Reversible pillow and bedspread.

DIY Barbie Bedding purple stripes with circle pillows

Here’s the other side. The white throw is also knitted.

DIY Barbie Bedding purple circles and pillows

All the bedspreads I make are 12′ long by 9″ wide, to fit the beds I sell.

DIY Barbie Bedding purple reversible stripes and flowers

This mattress is sewn into the bed. I’ll cover that in another blog.

DIY Barbie bedding and barbie bed mattress

The next bedspread is knitted.

DIY Barbie bedding with knitted blanked

DIY Barbie Bedding fabric that mimics a quilt

Chose some fabric to match the headboard and wallpaper. This is from the Townhouse I donated to our local high school for a fundraiser.

DIY Barbie Bedding gold with pillow

The other side has gold in it as well.

DIY Barbie bedding reversible gold

Love this one, but forgot to take a picture of it with the pillows and on a bed. This was a gift I gave to one of my dollhouse buyers at Christmas.

DIY Barbie Bedding close up of blue stripes and blue circles

Barbie Wooden Townhouse Donated to Local High School

Barbie wooden townhouse donated

Couldn’t resist donating another Barbie wooden townhouse to a great cause. The Theater Booster Club at our local high school is trying to raise funds to send the kids to Edinburgh, Scotland as representatives for the USA. Very exciting. I finished a Townhouse I had started and donated it as their key raffle item to raise money during their production of My Fair Lady.

Stenciled the scallop trim with paint.

 

Sun Goddess enjoying the deck under her new umbrella.

Interior Details for the Barbie Wooden Townhouse

What really makes a house a home is how the inside is finished. The Barbie Wooden Townhouse is big enough to have 2 bedrooms. Here’s the first one – ceiling fan and vaulted ceiling make it roomy.

The wallpaper has fuzzy dots.

I love love love the lamps. Check out my other post on lamps.

Under the knitted bedspread is a think, comfy mattress. You can make one that’s removable or you can sew one permanently into the Barbie wooden bed.

 

I like the lighter-colored floors, the art work on the wall, and the modern, upholstered bed. I’ve been playing with bed designs and wanted to see how a platform bed with built-in night stands would work. Let me know what you think.

 

Ok. I had too much fun with this. Painted these little wooden trinket bowls for the dressing table. I need figure out something to make that will fit in the little jar.

Bedroom Number 2 in the Barbie Wooden Townhouse

Let’s check out bedroom #2. I got a little fancy with the wallpaper here. It took a while to size it correctly and make it look like fabric wall panels. The wooden bed was upholstered and a mattress was sewn permanently into the wood. Check out this blog on how I did that. I think I’ll keep doing it this way in the future. I stained the cheval mirror a darker stain and used a really cool fabric for the “carpet”. Of course every window has trim and every room has detailed baseboards.

Bedroom 2 with custom wallpaper, carpet and upholstered bed.

The bedding has gold threads to match the paint, wallpaper, and headboard.
Bedding is reversible. And of course the pillow is so soft it’s making me want to take a nap while I’m typing this.
Close up of the baseboard.

The Bathroom in the Barbie Wooden Townhouse

Kept it pretty simple and elegant. This room has crown molding and a wood chair rail. I really like the tile design.

Good words to live by everyday.

The Living Room

Spent quite a bit of time on the Living Room — furniture to upholster, tables to paint, lamps to create, and some artwork. I could have kept going but ran out of time.

Dark “wood” floors, elegant wallpaper and simple upholstery on the sofa a chair.

 

Had fun designing and making new lamps. The lamps are all wood with a heavy paper for the the shades.

 

Of course there has to be a really cool painting.
And some flowers on the tables.

 

The Kitchen in the Barbie Wooden Townhouse

Parkay floors, fun wallpaper and a painted stripe.

 

Fun artwork to inspire a great start to the day.

 

Love asparagus.

 

Cool look into the living room from the Kitchen.

I’ve got some big design ideas for a future Townhouse – I’m thinking NYC, Manhattan, maybe some shopping. Stay tuned.

DIY Upholstering Wood Barbie Chair

DIY Upholstering Barbie Wood Chair instructions with arrows

DIY Upholstering Wood Barbie Chair

For the BarbieⓇ wood Townhouse dollhouse I donated to the Lone Star Cattleman Foundation, I also included wood furniture for each room. Here’s what the whole living room set looks like before finishing. The chair, sofa, lamp, and clock are made of solid pine. The two tables and coat rack are made from Baltic Birch.

Unfinished Barbie living room wood furniture used for DIY Upholstering Wood Barbie Chair
The Living Room furniture comes with 7 total pieces.

I love Batik quilting fabric. If you take a peak in my sewing/quilting studio, you might think I’m a hoarder. I prefer “fabric connoisseur”.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a piece of fabric I didn’t like. Against my better judgement, I’ll share with you what part of my fabric stash looks like.

Fabric stash for DIY Upholstering Wood Barbie Chair
Part of my fabric stash. It’s a bit messy right now, so please don’t judge.

Steps for DIY Upholstering Wood Barbie Chair

Here’s the steps and progress of upholstering the chair. A few supplies you’ll need:

  • About 1/8 yard of fabric
  • Thick batting to make the chair look soft and a little fluffy
  • Cardboard cut in strips 1/2″ wide. Because I do some upholstery for fun, I have a roll of Cardboard Tact strips I use. Cutting your own cardboard works just fine, though.
  • Staple Gun. I use a Ryobi Cordless Stapler. It takes less force on my part to get the stables in the wood. I also have electric staple guns – they just take a little more pressure and force for the staple to go in all the way. Fortunately the pine wood is pretty soft.
  • Hot Glue Gun

Step A:  Cut the fabric into the following pieces for the Chair:

    • 2 – 6 x 6″ squares for the two sides/arms of the chair
    • 1 – 4.5″ wide x 9″ long piece for the back
    • 1 – 4.5″ x 4.5″ square for the seat
    • 1 – 4.5″ wide x 2.75″ long for the front area below the seat

Unfinished wood barbie chair with fabric measurements for DIY Upholstering Wood Barbie Chair

Step B:  Adhere the fabric to the two sides/arms of the chair first. These are the two 6×6″ squares of fabric. Place a thin layer of batting for padding on the arms and down the side.

  1. Slip the fabric in the crack between the sides and the back. Batting will only be on the sides and top of the arm because it won’t fit through the crack.
  2. Make sure you have enough fabric in the front
  3. Hot glue the fabric to the seat
  4. Hot glue the front fabric to the front of the chair
  5. Hot glue the fabric to the bottom, pulling the fabric tight
Instructions and detail for DIY Upholstering Wood Barbie Chair
Photo for use during Step B for upholstering barbie chair arms

Step C: Attach the 4.5″ x 9″ piece of fabric to the back of the chair. Place a thin layer of batting for padding on the inside of the back, over the top, and if you like, the back of the chair.

  1. Just as you did on the sides, slide the fabric between the back and the sides on both sides. Batting will only be on the front and back of the chair because it won’t fit through the crack.
  2. Pull the fabric down and hot glue about 1/4″ of it to the seat.
  3. Pull the fabric you just slide between the sides and back, and hot glue it to the back of the chair.
  4. Hot glue or staple the fabric to the bottom of the chair.
  5. Fold under the back fabric and hot glue it to the sides of the chair so that it covers the side fabric you glued to the back.
Instructions diagram for DIY Upholstering Wood Barbie Chair
Photo for use during Step C #1-3 for upholstering Barbie chair back
Attaching fabric to bottom of DIY Upholstering Wood Barbie Chair
Photo for use during Step C #4-5 for upholstering Barbie chair back. (I had to quickly finish the Batik chair because it was needed, so that’s why the fabric changes in my pics.)

 

Step D: Providing A Finished Look

To give the chair a finished look, I take my Cardboard Tact, wrap it with fabric, and adhere it to the bottom so the staples and rough fabric edges don’t show.

Measuring cardboard strips used to finish bottom of DIY Upholstering Wood Barbie Chair
Measure the cardboard tact to fit each of the four sides. In this picture, the two sides that make up the bottom of the arms have already been completed.

 

Cutting fabric for cardboard strips used to finish bottom of DIY Upholstering Wood Barbie Chair
Cut 2 cardboard tact pieces 3-1/2″ long and 2 at 3-1/8″ long. Fabric should be twice as wide as the 1/2″ wide tact so fabric piece is 1″ wide. Cut it 1/2″ longer on each side.
Covering cardboard strip with glue gun; used to finish bottom of DIY Upholstering Wood Barbie Chair
With your hot glue gun, glue one of the long sides.
Covering cardboard strip used to finish bottom of DIY Upholstering Wood Barbie Chair
Fold each end over and glue both ends.
Cardboard strip used to finish bottom of DIY Upholstering Wood Barbie Chair
Glue the remaining longer side.
Picture of semi-finished bottom of DIY Upholstering Wood Barbie Chair
Glue the wrapped tact piece with the seam facing toward the chair.
Picture of finished bottom of DIY Upholstering Wood Barbie Chair
No raw fabric edges or stables show.

 

Covering the sofa is the exact same process except for a change in the width of some of the pieces. I’ll do a separate post when I cover my next sofa.