Dolls' Houses Past & Present

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Mossy Manor by Anne Gerdes


This fairy house is a little house in the real, big world – hence you will not see miniature trees or flowers here; instead, you will find things like a cradle made out of a real walnut shell, and a real bird's nest wedged between the chimney and roof, nestled in the full-sized ivy.

Wee fairies are flying on velvet butterflies – steering with the antennae!

Fairies are watching over pale blue bird’s eggs (actually made of polymer clay) in the bird’s nest. You can see the chimney top in this shot too.



I made the house from a Corona Kit named "The Aster Cottage." The rocks on the foundation, chimney and fireplace came from a beach in my area. The stucco is spackle. The roof of the dollhouse and well are covered in "sheet moss" purchased from a craft store, and sprayed with moss colored florists' spray paint (much finer than regular spray paint). Otherwise, the moss would have browned out.

This was the fastest kit I ever put together. Because I knew I would be covering all walls and corners with stucco both inside and out – I felt I could use a hot glue gun to build the house. Any thick or visible glue would be covered in the spackle. Not having to wait for the glue to dry – or tape and clamp things – really cuts down on assembly time! It worked perfectly, and has held up for 20 years, and counting!


The Bedroom

I did some "kit bashing" by eliminating the access opening to the loft (to make more room for the bed), and moving the ladder to the front (I didn't use Corona’s stairs, which would have been against the back wall), thereby freeing up wall space on the main level. I didn't use their detail for the top of the chimney either, preferring to make my own out of rocks.

The "light" hanging above the bed is a dried seed pod with lichen embellishments.

These fairies read nice, old books, and gather and dry seed pods and rose buds in front of the chimney. I sculpted the shy little sitting baby, made the walnut shell cradle and twig bed, and carved and painted the beams. I didn't use the provided interior beams, but made my own out of more substantial lumber (1" x 1" molding) - which I notched on the edges.


I made the twig bed, which is covered in antique fabric. The walnut shell cradle is filled with soft lichen and has a little mossy mound for a pillow.

The Great Room



I made a plate rail for the back and side walls out of scraps from the house kit. The pewter mugs are actually beads. I made the wooden goblets (on the far right) in this shot with bell shaped beads, toothpick stems, and a flat round wooden bead as the base. The baby fairy sleeping in a walnut shell (under ladder) was sculpted by Judy Orr. I have a lot of Judy's fairy dolls. Love her faces :)



The wooden goblets with the blue bases are older German miniatures. The wooden goblets on the table are also older and German. I made the oil lamp on the table out of beads. Can you guess what I made the door handles (and hinges) from? Black construction paper, painted with pewter paint that I dappled on for a hammered texture! I "kit bashed" a corner hutch kit - making it shorter on the top portion, so it would fit in the low-ceilinged space.

The flooring throughout the house was cleverly milled out of a ¾” mahogany board by my husband – with his table saw. My son Ian made the ladder. He was 11 at the time.


The Garden

There are fairies and baby fairies everywhere... sleeping, flying, and watching over each other.

The fairy on the swing, and the little ones by the tea set and on the barrel rim are all by the late Sammy Smith. The little waif on the right side of step is by Kathie's Kuties (Kathryn Aydelott Force). One of Judy Orr's babies is in the walnut basket. The natural wreath on the door was from a swap online.


Another of Kathie's Kuties is sleeping next to the twig bench I made, with its own snail-like shell.

The elf with the maple seed pod wings was sculpted by me. The little guy standing next to him is a Kathie's Kuties doll.

My first miniature doll sculpt: Sleeping Baby. Its wings are made from mica.

One of Sammy Smith’s fairies is on the bench, and the little marching butterfly bear is by Regina Steele.

One of Sammy Smith’s wee baby fairies is sleeping in the walnut shell stroller.


My 11 year old son helped make the well crank: it really lowers and raises the little bucket.


The Gazebo

I shingled the twig gazebo's roof with "petals" I cut from pinecones.

Here you can see the little “pinecone” finials on the fence posts. They are actually seeds from Alder trees.



About the Author

Anne Gerdes started collecting small things as a young girl, growing up in San Francisco in the 1960s. First, it was glass animals. Then, she was given her first dollhouse on her 9th birthday and has been filling houses, cabinets and shelves with miniatures ever since. Many years later, the Internet was born and Anne made her first website: showcasing her artwork and miniatures. That led to participating in online miniature groups, where artisans began to approach her and ask her to build websites for them. And thus “Anne Gerdes Web Design” was born!

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