Friday, 2 April 2010

Getting Started

Welcome to my new blog where you can follow my progress as I kitbash a 1:24 scale Greenleaf Fairfield dollshouse kit into a home for my Miss Lydia Pickett furniture kits.

Who is Miss Lydia Pickett, and why does she need a 1:24 scale home?
The Miss Lydia Pickett Cottage Collection is designed by Robin Betterley in the USA.  The collection includes several different sets of laser-cut furniture kits styled in a sort of 'Scandinavian meets Shabby Chic' design ethos, absolutely adorable, with loads of extra features like Robin's lovely artwork and extra accessories. Some of the kits are available in several scales:  1:48, 1:24, 1:12 and even two-inch scale.  Most of the kits include a whimsical short story about the fictional Miss Lydia Pickett, a dog who lives with the family whose home is furnished with the kits.

I was the founder member of the Miss Lydia Pickett kit of the month club back in 2007, being run by Judith Dowden of In Some Small Way here in the UK. Members of the club pay a fee each month in return for kits in 1:48, 1:24 or 1:12 scale.  It is a way of spreading the cost while you collect and build the kits.  I chose to collect the kits in 1:24 scale as I thought 1:48 would be too fiddly and I don't have room for any more 1:12 houses.  Judith runs a great club, my kits always arrived promptly and well packed, and I really enjoyed building them.  If I had any queries, Judith always responds quickly by email.

I was excited to learn that Miss Lydia Pickett was going to have her own house, the Pickett Hill, laser cut by Suzanne and Andrew's Miniatures and designed in collaboration with Robin Betterley.  I started saving up for it.  Then came the credit crunch, a bad economy, and an eventual announcement that the Pickett Hill would only be available in 1:48 scale.  Not only that - many of the furniture kits would not be available in 1:24 scale either.  Judith stepped into the breach with her own kits for a kitchen and the children's bedrooms in 1:24 - but what about a house?

I spent a year or so looking out for an appropriate 1:24 scale house, at dollshouse fairs and online, but nothing spoke to me in the way that the Pickett Hill farmhouse gothic style did.  Then over Christmas, I happened to be looking at a picture of the 1:24 scale Greenleaf Fairfield dollshouse, and realised that it was an extremely similar shape and layout to the Pickett Hill.  In fact, it is so similar that I wonder if it was part of the design inspiration.  And I got to wondering if the Fairfield  (left) could be kitbashed to look something like the Pickett Hill (right).  At last I would have a 1:24 home for my furniture kits.

And then I got made redundant.  Which was bad, but I did get a big severance payment.  So guess what I bought with it?  Yes - a Greenleaf Fairfield dollshouse kit.  And I was able to order, through Judith, a bunch of accessories which I hope are going to help it transform into my own version of the Pickett Hill:  some Grandtline gothic windows, Houseworks french doors, gingerbread trim and a Houseworks bay window.

A little bit about me
I built my first dollshouse in Canada from scratch plans published in McCall's Needlework and Crafts magazine when I was 18 and missing a term at university because of mononucleosis.  My dad helped me cut out the plywood on the tablesaw and let me have the use of his woodshop.  I still have that house on the landing of my house here in the UK.  Later I actually built another Fairfield in my 20s, but made rather a mess of it as I believed the instructions about using a hot glue gun (this was in the days before the internet - remember those?).  That got sold at a flea market much later.  Once I settled in the UK, I built other houses either from scratch or starting from purchased shells.  A few years ago I built the Greenleaf Willowcrest, and you can read about that build on my other blog here.  It turned out pretty well as I was able to benefit from all the accumulated expertise that is now available on the internet - especially on the invaluable Greenleaf forum.  I'm still finishing the inside of that one - it always takes me a lot longer to do the insides than it does for the actual build.  I work in scales from 1:144 up to 1:12, but I suppose 1:12 is my favorite, closely followed by 1:24.


  1. Denise Sanders17 June 2010 at 19:02

    For the interior window trim, using Grandt Line windows, I usually glue another window from the inside! For the inside window, you use the exact same window which you used for the outside but you cut away all of the mullions and sand the inside frame smooth. Then, all you have left is the frame and it fits perfectly on the inside of the window! And your trim is perfect!Tadah! Also, some Americans do use the word conservatory! I even built an Orangerie once!
    Love your work..keep going!! Hurry! I am working on the Fairfield as well which in my case will be a shabby chic house! Thanks for sharing! Denise Sanders in California

  2. Just found your blog via Denise who commented above. This is idea is a stroke of genius. I have often longed and longed to get the quarter scale Pickett house and forced myself not to because as you say, it is too fiddly. I will be reading every inch of this blog and following with great interest! ~Christine (also in California :)

  3. I can't agree that quarter scale is too fiddly - most of my many houses are in that scale, including my Pickett Hill. But your use of the Fairfield for a halfscale version is brilliant! I have always found this blog so inspirational and I'm so pleased I decided to come back and read from the beginning. I too had mononucleosis at university and ended up dropping out, not going back for many years but then enjoying it much more. I wish I'd known about the adult world of miniatures way back then! For years I held on to dollhouse designs taken from a Hobby's magazine in the 60's but I seem to have mislaid them now. What a lot of things we miniaturists seem to have in common - I used to knit and crochet a lot, I love quilting. And the Fairfield was the first Greenleaf dollshouse I fell in love with but couldn't get it - it was discontinued for a while. But just the other day I finally ordered one - and wonder of wonders, there was a discount on overseas shipping so the price to Australia wasn't too exorbitant.


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