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Saturday, October 20, 2012

How to Spend an Amazon Gift Certificate Quickly

Today's song!

What's better than an Amazon Gift Certificate?

I received a generous AGC last Christmas, and I didn't want to spend it on books or in dribs and drabs, so I decided to wait until there was one big thing that I wanted to treat myself to. This strategy paid off, since now I have an entire dollhouse to furnish and the stuff is not cheap. The items I picked out below helped me blow right through the whole amount in a hurry. Below is a review of the products and some of the Amazon sellers I dealt with. LLC

The bedroom and dining sets below were purchased directly through Amazon and are made by a company called Melissa and Doug. They don't make fine miniatures - these are really toys.  But both were very inexpensive and free 2-day shipping with Amazon Prime, so I gave it a shot.

When the bedroom set arrived, I was really pleased with it.  All the little doors open, the finish is uniform, no glue showing, etc. So I will keep this set - and at some point I will try to do something to glam up the bed.
The dining room set below I was not quite as thrilled with.  The little table is very nice, and the hutch is also nicely made, although a little small.  But the chairs seem a bit too large, there are places where the glue is visible, and I hate the red velvet upholstery. I opted to keep this set, mostly because it was so inexpensive and I hate returning things through the mail. But I probably should have waited to find something I like better. I will try to reupholster the chairs and if it turns out to be a disaster, not that big of a deal.
I purchased both of the items above from the same seller through Amazon Prime, but I noticed a very big variation in prices, even among "Prime" sellers.  In one case the difference was $10! That is something to keep in mind for all Amazon purchases, not just dollhouse stuff.

Superior Dollhouse Miniatures

The little bathroom set is nicer than it looks in the picture, I really like it.  It was purchased from Superior Dollhouse Miniatures through Amazon.  The shipping was a little high ($9.99), but I would purchase from them again. One of the pieces arrived with a chip in it, and their customer service was excellent. They responded to my email immediately and replaced the broken item quickly. 

Hobby Builder's Supply

All of the items below are from Hobby Builders Supply.  I like this company because shipping was only $6.95, they gave 10% off, plus the items came with a great catalog from which I have been enjoying ever since.  

I was thrilled with this little fireplace, which for some reason cost much less through this company - I have seen what seems to be the identical fireplace for twice as much elsewhere. I just checked and it's not available anymore, so I wonder if the price was an error. Oh well, one of the few times in life that was in my favor!

I liked the globe, too, but it's a little too new looking for the Victorian feel I want.  Again, too much of a pain to return it, but I wonder if I can age it somehow? A project for another day.
I was completely disappointed with the piano - at first. From the front it is chunky and lacking in detail and really BIG. So it was definitely going back, but then I put it in the room just to see what it looks like, and when viewed from the side rather than head on, it just works. 


I was happy with the items from Craftbargain, but the shipping was also high - $9.98.  I noticed recently that all the items on their site say "unavailable" so they may not be in business anymore. 

The set below is gorgeous.  The only thing I don't like is the armchairs have a little piece of the green fabric glued to the arms, and it's not done well.  That's a shame because the rest of the items are great quality.  
I also loved the stove, it is nicely detailed.  The burners come with lids, which are wrapped separately in tissue paper.  I mention this because I didn't know about the lids until a few days later, when I found the cat swatting a wad of tissue around the kitchen and almost threw it out. It must have fallen on the floor when I opened the box.

Dollhouse and More LLC

The dishes were purchased from Dollhouse and More LLC.  The shipping was $6.95 and the set came quickly and well packaged.  The plates are nicely detailed, with gold edging.
So that's everything - not a bad haul for "free!"  The next post will show how all this stuff looks inside the Mini House.

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