Search This Blog

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

In the News: Some Miniatures We ALL Know and Love

I think the reason for today's song choice will shortly become obvious. Please enjoy the stylings of Sir Tom Jones:

Even for people who have never had the slightest involvement with dollhouses, these iconic miniatures will surely be familiar:

Because I am not on Facebook, I was completely unaware of the momentous announcement until I read about it this morning on
Over the past month, hundreds of thousands of Monopoly fans worldwide voted for which new token should replace one of the iconic ones being retired after countless journeys past Go. After a hard-fought campaign, representatives revealed the newest game piece Wednesday morning on TODAY.
I may really have to reconsider my non-presence on Facebook, if it deprives me of the chance to vote on the important issues of the day.  But it seems that the right choice was made without me.  I couldn't be more pleased with the newest Monopoly piece:

The Newest Monopoly Token!
Photo:  Hasbro

The cat!  Yes!!  Excellent choice, Monopoly voters!!  The other choices were a helicopter and a robot. Puh-lease!

The announcement of this new token got me to reflecting about the popularity of cats, and I found this website:  Cats and Coffee, which reports that the following famous people were cat lovers:  Ernest Hemingway, Winston Churchill, Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, Claude Monet and Charles Dickens. For some reason Freddie Mercury was included, not that I don't love him but it seemed incongruous.

According to this same site, do you know who HATED cats?  Adolph Hitler.  In the interest of doing at least perfunctory fact checking, I found endless other citations that confirm the Fuhrer loathed felines.  And I also found this ...

... which proves that there is literally a site about EVERYTHING on the internet. Apparently Stephen Colbert mentioned the site on his show awhile back, and hits went through the roof. Some people found it offensive and in poor taste, feeling that it glorifies Hitler. The owner of the site makes it clear that is not the case. I'm not sure how I feel - I mean, I hate snakes more than anything in life, and if someone started a website called I think I would find that insulting, not glorifying.  But anyway, hopefully no one is offended.

Now that we have established the awesomeness of the new Monopoly token, we must talk about the darker side of the story. To make room for the cat, one of the old classic tokens had to go, and this was also decided by vote.  Sadly, I cannot endorse this choice with the same unbridled enthusiasm, in fact I am downright disappointed.

The wheelbarrow and the shoe were also on the chopping block, but they were saved.
In fierce voting from 185 countries, Monopoly fans showed the least interest for the iron piece, exiling it from a new version of the game set to debut in mid- to late 2013. The statuette, which was added to the game in the 1930s, picked up just 8% of the vote.
The iron??  Really Facebook voters?  The iron is the PERFECT Monopoly piece.  I was ALWAYS the iron.  It's so cute and easy to move around.

RIP, Iron Monopoly Token
 Well, I am very upset, but life must go on.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Dollhouses

Right before Christmas, my sister and I took a road trip to spend the weekend with my niece and bring her home from college. It was an awesome visit for so many reasons, but I forgot to bring a book with me and that's how I accidentally stole my niece's copy of "Pride and Prejudice." That's okay because I'm the one who gave it to her. I go on a Jane Austen kick every year or so, and this incident set off the latest round.

So today's musical selection is from the wonderful 1995 A&E miniseries, which I just finished watching for the umpteenth time. Elizabeth Bennet sings a beautiful song while Mr. Darcy looks on with undisguised love and yearning. Is it possible NOT to fall in love with Colin Firth after watching this scene? I know some fans would argue for the "Mr. Darcy goes swimming in the pond" scene, but this is the one that does it for me.

When I'm in this frenzy for all things Austen, I get disappointed when I run out of things she actually wrote, and movie versions thereof, and I start looking around for related things. For instance, I also happen to love zombies. I've been thinking about them lately because the movie "Warm Bodies" is coming out and I can't wait to see it:

Apparently, the number of people who like both Jane Austen and zombies is not a small one, because there is a book called "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," and it sold a LOT of copies.

The book has been around for awhile and I keep meaning to check it out, but I'm not sure that I could deal with Lizzie killing Darcy and eating his brains or something like that. (I would enjoy it if they both killed Mr. Collins and ate HIS brains, though.)  Since the release of "Warm Bodies" coincides with "Ange's Austen-Fest 2013," this may be the year that I break down and read it.

DHE Minis Celebrates P&P

This post was inspired when I looked at my blog list and noticed today's update from The Dollhouse Emporium:

Pride and Prejudice Free Wedding Gift Collection

They are offering "a charming collection of beautiful wedding gifts, created in honour of Jane Austen’s romantic novel, Pride & Prejudice, which is enjoying its 200th year in print."

Holy cow - I didn't even realize it was the 200th anniversary!  And I call myself a fan. Well, fortunately my dollhouse obsession continues to pay dividends, as it allowed this important fact to be brought to my attention.

Almost as soon as I finished the Mini House, I made these little pictures of for the top of the piano:

Lizzie and Darcy Photos on the Piano
I made them out of buttons from Michael's and images of Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth from the internet that I printed over and over again until I got them small and clear enough.  ("Who ARE these people?" my husband wanted to know, handing me a stack of papers covered with their images.)

I liked to imagine that Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy were the grandparents of the current occupants of the Mini House. Or maybe the great-grandparents? I would have to sit down and figure it out - and I really try not to have my Mini House be polluted by associations to unpleasant things like math.

One final thought on this theme:  I have always been iffy about actually having dolls in my house, but if ever I was tempted it would be by these Lizzie and Darcy dolls in full wedding regalia:

Wedding Dolls from the Dollhouse Emporium Collection

They really did a great job of reproducing the clothes from the movie!

But if I were to give in to the very strong urge to get the dolls, it would change the whole time-frame of the Mini House, which I imagine to be very late 1800's. And then I would have to redo the bathroom or find something else to do with that room, because while my beloved Jane never talks about it, I am sure they didn't have indoor flush toilets in her day. And on that glamorous note, I will end.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

What Makes a House a Home? Gifts from Friends!

Yesterday I had lunch with my friend Kara, a truly lovely person who I don't get to see nearly often enough. Kara and I used to work together at [COMPANY] before she left to become a full-time mom.  I stayed on until recently when [COMPANY] was bought by [OTHER COMPANY] and I, like hundreds of others, was swept up in a mass layoff and dumped into the trash heap like yesterday's TPS reports, after 12 years of hard work and dedication. But I am not bitter.

While I was still with [COMPANY] and we were all waiting to find out if we would get to keep our jobs, there was a lot of reference to The Bobs scene in the movie "Office Space." Well, there was a lot of reference to it by those of us who love the movie, mingled with expressions of horror and pity towards those of our coworkers who had never seen it. (Seriously, how do you work in an office and not know this movie?  I submit that it should be shown by HR to all incoming employees:  "Yes, what you are about to see is a comedy. But it illuminates Great Truths about the absurdities you will be subjected to every. single. day. that you toil in corporate America.  And the sooner you accept this, the happier you will be.")

So instead my usual song of the day, I bring you "The Bobs:"

Tom Defends His Job 
(From the movie, "Office Space" 2oth Century Fox, 1999)

I've always believed John C. McGinley should get some kind of Comedy Achievement Award for his delivery of the line, "What would you say...ya DO here?"

I didn't have an exit interview quite so brutal, but I did find myself unemployed, for the first time since I was 15 years old. While this was a revolting development, it freed up all kinds of time and explains how I was able to purchase, build, paint, shingle, and almost completely furnish Ange's Dollhouse in a little more than month, and start this blog about it. (Note to potential employers:  See, this is the kind of results-oriented hard work, enthusiasm, time-management skills, and attention to detail that I bring to the table!)

Wonderful Things

So getting back to my lunch with Kara. She is the person who inspired me to blog a few months ago, when we had another lunch with some of our current and former [COMPANY] coworkers. That's when I found out that Kara writes a beautiful and very popular blog about crocheting, Petals to Picots, which I have been following ever since. I am in awe of her talent. She creates her own patterns - including one for the dolls below. I think they are absolutely gorgeous! The pattern is available at her Etsy shop:  Petals to Picot - Crocheted Doll Pattern

 Adorable Crocheted Dolls - pattern from Petals to Picots

After our delicious lunch, we were chatting over a cup of tea about what we've been doing, and I told her about my new hobby and the blog. Kara asked, "Ooh, do you want some stuff for the house?" and I was like, "Is the Pope Catholic?" (Stuff for the mini house is pretty much ALL I want these days. I'm hoping at some point I will regain an interest in buying other things, like maybe clothes and books and accessories for the house I actually live in. But for now, not so much.)  She disappeared into some part of her house that must be way more organized than mine, and produced this little tub full of tiny things, telling me to take my pick!

Now besides the fact that they are wonderful unto themselves, I'll tell you what makes these things so amazingly special. All of the items below came from a dollhouse that Kara's grandfather built for her when she was a child. The house is long gone, but it was much played with and loved by Kara in its day. The fact that she would share these with me is so sweet and generous that it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. I will always treasure them.

Beautiful blue enamelware dishes

Pots and bowls

Hip bath and pitcher

Miscellaneous kitchen accessories

An embarrassment of riches!

When you look around your house, it's the things that remind you of family and friends that touch your heart and make you the happiest. And now when I look into the Mini House and see these things, I will always think of my friend and smile.  Thank you again, Kara!!