DIY Dollhouse

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You guys know I love a good op-shop bargain. The things you can find if you put the time and energy in to looking are amazing. You can find items in the best condition and some which are in need if some love and care. I am very lucky when it comes to some of my finds as my mother in law is a keen op-shopper. Now that she’s retired and living in Perth, she’s hitting the second hand stores multiple times a week so I can can basically place my order to what I’m seeking and 9 times out of 10, she delivers. She’s found two doll houses for me so far. Both which at first glance you may have walked past and though nothing can be done to make them look better. But someone like me who sees the beauty in the impefect, knew that these structures could be turned in to someting great. Today I’m going to share with you how I turned this bright and colourful timber doll house in to something me and my kids, and maybe even their kids, will treasure for years to come.

Above left is the doll house when my MIL first delivered it to me. Pretty special right! But, I knew that all it needed was a good sanding and a coat of paint to make it look completely new. The shape of the doll house itself was great and the main reason why I could see the potential in it. I love the arched doors and the staircase especially and the fact that it could be turned in to something quite realistic looking. To start the makeover, I had to sand back the existing paint so that I could apply the new colour. The gloss paint was not overly easy to remove, so I did use an electric sander for the areas I could reach with it. Then the rest was gently sanded by hand. I removed all of the paint from the roof but didn’t worry as much about the inside colour as that wasn’t as glossy so was easier to paint over. Because I’m not the worlds best painter and have an unsteady hand, I simply painted the whole house white. I just used some leftover house paint we had in the shed. Two coats covered any existing colour and gave the house a fresh new feel. Now that I had a blank canvas to work with, I started thinking about the finishes for the interior and exterior. I wanted to in a way recreate our own home so decided to stick with white walls and to decorate PhotoGrid_1526963675847with neutral and natural items and finishes. For the roof, I made tiles (shingles) using large pop sticks I picked up for a few dollars at a discount store. They are the ones that beauticians use to apply hot wax. You could use regular sized ones as well but it would take longer to cut and stick them all on. I also used pop sticks, this time some miniature ones, for the skirting boards I glued around all the interior floor/wall joins. Now when I say glue, I used a hot glue gun for everything in this project. It’s easy to use, strong and dries fast which I like when I’m working on a DIY project. For the flooring, I picked up some timber look vinyl place mats from Kmart which were around $3ea. I simply cut with craft scissors to the floor layout and hot glued in. For the curtains, I cut up some lace fabric I already had, and threaded on to some thin dowel from Bunnings which I glued above the interior windows.

PhotoGrid_1526962177490When it came to decorating the interior of the doll house, I didn’t just want to buy items which you always see in doll houses. I wanted to make it more realistic looking. Not having worked with a doll house and miniature items before, I went in to the project not really knowing what to get or where to get it. I measured the house and did some Googling to find out the scale of items I needed. Which for this house is 1:12. (Barbie doll house is 1:6). I found out quickly that buying doll house furniture can cost a small fortune. Especially if you get obsessed like me and want to buy all the things! After much research, I found out that purchasing items from international sellers on eBay was the way to go to keep the cost down. The plus side: it’s super cheap. Like $1 for an item plus free postage. The PhotoGrid_1526962206885most expensive piece I purchased from from eBay was the kitchen at $24 which I think is still very cheap considering the detail to it. The down side: buying items from places like China takes time to receive. But if you are willing to wait a few weeks, it’s definetly worth it. Some items arrived within two weeks. Some were longer at around 5 weeks. Each seller is different. I had no issues with any of the items I purchased from Chinese sellers. They were all exactly as they appeared online. And they all arrived safely. My tip when buying from eBay us to search ‘miniature’ under the doll house & miniature category as to the left. Then change the settings to search lowest price & postage to find the cheaper items. There’s a lot of sellers listing doll house pieces for rediculous prices. I’m talking hundreds! Don’t let that trick you I  to thinking you need to buy expensive items. Go the cheap ones! Apart from eBay, I picked up a few items from friends whose kids didn’t use their doll house furniture anymore, and I also found some items in discount stores and op shops. Some needed a bit of DIY which I’ll go in to next.

PhotoGrid_1526962086722I made a few items myself using my friend the hot glue, dowel, pop sticks and fabric offcuts. I found jute twine really useful and made items like the little baskets and the basket wall feature simply by coiling the twine and gluing it together. They turned out great and literally cost cents to make. I found some jute edging at a discount store which I cut in to strips and glued together to make the floor rug to the right. I also found artificial plants I had laying around the house useful as I cut them into smaller pieces and turned them in to miniature plants for decoration. I made bedding and cushions out of scraps of fabrics. And even tiny artworks which were simply interior magazine photos of artwork, cut out and glued to some cork backing. Some of the items I purchased from eBay or got second hand weren’t the right colour so I simply repainted them to make them fit the scheme. I really just played around with buying, making and hacking items until I felt that the house was coming together. Once the furnishings were in, I really went to town on eBay purchasing items like food, books, framed art and decorative items to give that realistic look to the house. Overall, I am beyond happy with the final result. I know I’ve created something social for my son and daughter which for the moment will sit up very high on the shelf where they can’t touch it. But, in future when they are a bit older, will surely love. I have another doll house to work on which is Barbie doll sized. So I’m looking forward to finding items for that and sharing another doll house makeover project with you guys soon.

Zoe – The DIY Decorator

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Whollygrail

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Communities make the world better. From our commitment to fair trade, to finding the best small, family owned businesses and supporting life changing organisations; the Whollygrail Store gives you peace of mind for quality and integrity. – Whollygrail.

IMG_20180514_135944_066In a world where the environment suffers for our wants and needs, we can help remove some of the strain by making smarter choices when it comes to buying both decorative and functional items for our home. Empowering people with knowledge is an important factor to helping us understand the issue and make the effort to purchase more wisely. For this blog, I not only have the pleasure of interviewing an Australian company whose sole purpose is to produce and distribute these items, but also try out, style and share some of the range with you guys. But first, a little bit about the amazing Australian small business making waves with their affordable, eco and fair trade friendly home and body products.

IMG_20180515_115739_190Whollygrail was created by #girlboss Danielle to inspire conscious choices for our every day decisions, simply because that’s where we can make the biggest impact for our health and the biggest change for the planet. Based in Mona Vale NSW, Danielle, who is a Mum, nutritionist and passionate health advocate, created Whollygrail which focuses on personal care products, sheets, towels, kitchen linen and baby wear for their first edition range. The Whollygrail range contains no nasties and are produced by small scale family owned, Australian businesses. Their textile range is GOTS certified organic and made from fair trade cotton and theres no use of chemicals or pesticides in the making of their products which means no nasties against your skin.  Quite often body care items can contain chemicals and toxic ingredients which have been linked to a variety of health issues in people’s systems. Whollygrails personal care range is completely chemical free so you know its safe for you and your families skin. The two products I will be working with for this blog are the Bedding in a Bag Sheet set, in colour stone. And the 7 piece Towel set which is also in the stone colour.

IMG_20180515_121429_418Whollygrail prides themselves in not only environmentally friendly produced products, but also ones that are well made and perform well too. And you can tell that both their towel set and bedding range is of the best quality and is going to last. The towels are thick, heavy and made with the finest quality organic and fair trade Indian cotton offering ultimate softness and absorbency. The set consists of two bath towels, two hand towels and two wash cloths, with a beautifully soft 900gsm foot towel for ultimate in luxury. My favourite piece in the set is the oversized hand towels. The perfect size for drying big hands and little hands which need washing multiple times a day! The stone colour is the perfect neutral tone for my bathroom and adds just the right pop of colour against our white tiles. The set is also available in a charcoal and linen colour. Whollygrail also stock beach towels and a range of other eco friendly bathroom items including bamboo toothbrushes, vegan makeup brushes and hand-cut soaps.

IMG_20180515_115313_949I’ve said it before, I am not a huge fan of folding fitted sheets. I can not do it. I will never master it and have resorted to hiding those sheets in the back of the linen cupboard to hide my shame. So I was quite excited when I saw that the Whollygrail sheet set range comes in a matching drawstring bag which, I can hide my fitted sheet in! Hoorah! This isn’t the only thing I love about these 300 thread count 100% organic and fair trade Indian cotton sheets. The fitted sheet is a deep base fit which means that it is as larger than average fitted sheets and therefore can be used for pillow tops and mattresses with thicker depths. The sheet sets are available in white or the stone colour I have used and come in all sizes from single to king. They not only feel great, but look IMG_20180515_115355_093amazing as well. As with the towel set, you can tell by the feel that the sheets are of great quality and are worth investing in as you know you will have them for years to come. Whollygrail also stock a gorgeous range of cot sheets, along with other baby items including rompers and onsies which you can find on their website.

Opting for items which are better for the planet doesn’t mean forking out huge amounts of money or losing quality and style. Quite the opposite. Purchasing products such as those from Whollygrail guarantee you well made, on trend pieces which are available at a suitable price point. They are items that are worth investing in and which you will get your money out of for years to comr. For more information on Whollygrail and their approach to everything nature friendly, or to view other items from their range, head here to their website.

Whollygrail have kindly set up a discount code for my followers. Use code ‘MAY20′ at checkout for 20% off all sheet sets, including cot sheets, and 7 piece towel sets (Expires end of May, 2018). Plus free shipping for all Australian orders over $130.

Zoe – The DIY Decorator

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Caim & Able

IMG_20180502_111059_112The moment I was contacted by the team at Caim & Able, I was very excited to work with their product. That packaging 👌 Yes, I am totally a judge a book by its cover type of girl. Which I think is totally fine. Especially in this day in age when a lot of us online shop and don’t actually get to see or smell the product before committing to buy it. To me, if a company has gone to that extra effort to make their packaging look amazing, it means they have put just as much effort in to their product. Caim & Able are a successful Australian company who not only create a gorgeous range of natural, ethical, cruelty free products, they also give back to the community by donating a portion of profits to causes such as women’s community shelters. So by making a purchase, not only are you receiving a beautifully packaged, all natural product, but you are also helping to give back to those in the local community who are in need. The fact that this company gives back so much is also another reason why I’m so happy to work with them. The two products that I have been lucky enough to try out are the skin nourishing magnesium salt body scrub and the protect magnesium bath salts.

IMG_20180502_101242_636The nourish body scrub contains coconut oil, desert lime, citrus and magnesium. The scent itself is citrus smelling yet not an overpowering smell. The gentle exfloiant is gentle on the skin, leaving it feeling oh so soft by removing the dead skin cells and letting the hydrating oils and nutrients absorb in. The scrub also contains a rich concentration of vitamin c which is a powerful antioxidant which helps to refuvinate the skin, enhance skin firmness, even out patchy skin and revitalize skin tissue. I enjoyed trying out the scrub whilst soaking in a warm bath. The texture of the scrub is just right and left my skin feeling smooth and smelling devine. Definetly a great product to have for those days where you need a little relaxation time for yourself.

 

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IMG_20180502_110653_443I love the look of the magnesium bath salts. Tiny shards of rosemary and lavender scented pieces which are made from high quality, mineral rich salt magnesium chloride helps to replenish vital magnesium levels. Soaking in Magnesium Bath Salts relaxes nerves, removes everyday stress, relieves tension, jump starts enzymes important for protein and carbohydrate metabolism, and can aid in relieving back pain, muscle pain, and arthritic pain and stiffness. The addition of lavender oil which promotes relaxation and relieves stress and the rosemary supports healthy collagen development along with aiding pain relief. To use, simply add a half a cup to bath water and soak for at least 20 minutes to make the most of the plant extracts and minerals. Soaking with this product really helps your body to relax and gives you that day spa experience in the comfort of your home. The scrub is also very safe and great to use for both babies and and the elderly.

So for me, the Caim & Able range ticks all the boxes. Beautifully sleek packaging Wonderful scents. And natural ingredients which are a great benefit to the body. So next time you are lookimg for a treat for yourself or for a friend, keep this amazing Australian business in mind. And make sure to head here to their website to see the rest of there gorgeous range.
Zoe – The DIY Decorator 

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