Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Retail therapy

You will know if you have read my other blog posts, that Gil convinced me that I should learn to make dolls house furniture rather than just going to a shop and buying it. I see the attraction for making the items...I am so thrilled that the Aga, dresser and cabinet are unique and rather than buy something that is mass produced and will be in hundreds of other dolls houses, my furniture will only be in my house.

But the time had come where I felt I needed to buy things that I couldn't make very easily. I don't think Gil was convinced at my declaration that I couldn't make a washing machine...but I wanted to buy a few items anyway. These were really things that I didn't feel comfortable attempting to make or that I had tried and failed so spectacularly that I couldn't face another attempt. Sofa and chairs for example...material and glue don't work well in my hands. I can sew, but to upholster a sofa needs precision and care and I am just too messy.

So plans were made. My birthday was in June and I requested a shopping trip to Maple street dolls house shop.

As you can see from the battered state of the catalogue I have been planning my shopping trip for a long time!

My husband agreed to drive me there and after we dropped Annie at school we made the journey to the shop. Adam took Jakey around the shop and left me to browse alone and unhindered....well the excited shrieks coming from Jakey were enough to put anyone off their shopping, but I tried to ignore it and enjoy the retail therapy.

As you can see from the picture below, the house decorating had come to a standstill. This is how the house looked when I went shopping at maple street. As you can see the bedroom needed carpet, the sitting room needed wallpaper and carpet, the hall was completely bare so needed wallpaper and tiles and the kitchen needed flooring. I was also unhappy with the kitchen walls and planned to re-do that as soon as possible.

I had already bought the wallpaper for the sitting room. I had been to the Laura Ashley sale and found the perfect wallpaper for £1.50 a roll

Needed green carpet for the bedroom and peach carpet for the living room. Matching peach carpet for the stairs (this worked out well as the peach carpet compliments the flooring in the other two rooms that have stairs)

I chose stone flooring for the kitchen. Maple street do a textured cladding but it is very expensive and I wasn't sure whether stone was the right choice. So I chose the cheaper alternative of printed effect paper deciding that if I do like it then at some point in the future I can invest in the more expensive realistic option.

I had seen the hall I wanted on an ebay sale and had nicked the picture to keep for reference.

I adored it as soon as I saw it and knew that that was how I wanted the hall to look. I found the tiled paper at Maple street and popped it in the basket.

Sadly I couldn't find the wallpaper but a quick trip to a D.I.Y shop saved the day when I found a lovely warm yellow emulsion tester pot.

So all flooring chosen....I managed to find other bits I needed. I found bargain brass knobs at 99p a packet (for 12) and grabbed three packets for future furniture making. Also I got some hinges as I wanted to make cabinets with doors that opened.

I managed to locate a plain sink - most of the sinks come with a cabinet attached but I wanted to make my own kitchen cupboards. Matching up wood finishes would be way to difficult. Luckily this one is very plain and I can build a wood surround very easily.

Found a gorgeous green chair....for the room....hall......????

Set of four jars for the country kitchen

A dish for the kitchen


Then I encountered a problem....I couldn't find any of the other products I wanted. I found an assistant who very sullenly said they didn't have any of the other items I wanted in stock. No offer of help or any solutions - don't you just love shop assistants who hate their jobs. I thanked her for her help (not without a tiny hint of sarcasm) then I went to find another assistant who couldn't have been more helpful. She apologised that I was unable to get everything I wanted but she said she would be happy to place an order...and as they do free postage on any order over £40 she would be able to combine what I buying that day with what I was ordering to be able to get the free postage.

The only thing that really bothered me about doing this was that I didn't like buying the items without seeing them. I could have just ordered the whole lot online, but I had made the journey there so I could see the items and check they were right for me. I explained this to the assistant and she said she understood, glanced at my list and went into the back room and emerged with several items from the list (which were at that moment being packed to post to customers) she said that now I could see what at least some of the items looked like - this was especially helpful with the sink drainer as I was buying a sink that day and wanted to know if the drainer would fit on it. It did so was added to my list.

So all the items bought that day were added up and then she ordered the extra items for me. Now to show you the items I bought -

A sofa and chair, cheap and cheerful and sadly damaged when they arrived - nothing a dab of glue can't fix but made me sad all the same not to have them arrive in perfect condition. But they were soooo cheap it is no wonder they weren't perfect!

An American style fridge - I LOVE these! Couldn't resist having one for the dolls house.

A mahogany bed - again another reason to see before buying is to check colour. It is much redder than appears in the catalogue and it is really too bright. Gil suggested painting it which is an option as I haven't made any other furniture for the bedroom so the bedroom is still a blank slate really.

A washing machine

Set of copper pans

1 comment:

  1. Love the sofas and cushions. I agree one can't make pots and pans so well though it is actually possible......never found a way of doing satisfactory glassware though.

    Great to watch this emerging....:-)