A few months ago I published a post about how I created Kirsten’s “cabin”. I was really excited about it and was bursting with ideas for making more doll rooms. If you missed that particular post, it is basically just a trifold of plywood, painted to look like a log cabin. I was certain that these collapsible, tri-fold rooms were the answer to making sure that all of my dolls had a bedroom of their own, a place for their furniture, and a great place to set up scenes for photographs. My husband heartily disagreed. He normally is hugely supportive of my doll projects, but this is one that he protested pretty hard. “It’s so BIG,” was his constant refrain about Kirsten’s cabin. I eventually conceded. In my mind, I had rooms of the same size and construction planned for Molly, Abby, Caroline, Rebecca, Addy and Ivy. In my mind, they all would be set up at once against the wall in my sewing room/doll room. In my mind, they were the perfect alternative to the giant doll houses that I’ve seen others have constructed for their 18 inch dolls–at least these could come down easily if needed. Plus, not being contained inside of a roofed box made it easier to photograph with better light.
I am here to confess that my thoughts have changed a bit. As much as I love Kirsten’s cabin, I simply do not have the space for these creations.
My mom spent countless hours last spring building Kit’s attic. It truly is a masterpiece, but it is HUGE. And heavy. We’ve used it for a number of photo shoots (it has become the clubhouse for The American Girls Club) so I’m glad she has it…but I’m also glad it’s not in my house!
Over the past few months one of my main photography goals was to become better at indoor doll photography, with or without an actual doll room background. I’m still pretty shaky at it, but am starting to learn a lot. I have a nice blank wall in my doll/sewing room where I set up these scenes below, which I was relatively pleased with. I’ve found that this goal has had partly to do with using my camera, but mostly to do with just finding the right spot. I realized that if I waited to use all of my great doll furniture in photos until I have actual specific doll rooms in which to display them, I would be waiting a while. I liked that this spot required no extra scenery, or special doll room, but it had almost no natural light:
After my mom finished her Kit house creation, she moved on to a new interest, which was using photography backdrops (the kind a photographer would use in a studio) for doll photography. They can be purchased relatively inexpensively on eBay and she has created quite a collection. I really enjoy the number of creative scenes that you can design using these and have started utilizing them whenever I am at her house. I think they are a nice alternative to a room, and certainly easier to store. You can easily take them anywhere too, including outside! The picture below was taken with the background draped over the railing of the back deck. I was happy with how Melody looks in front of this background:
My mom had two of Samantha’s Scenes and Settings from Pleasant Company years ago (it’s so sad they don’t make them anymore) and has given one to me. I haven’t done much with it because I don’t have Samantha. I was in my kitchen after work a couple of weeks ago and I realized what excellent natural light was coming through my window. It suddenly occurred to me what an excellent opportunity that I had to easily create a scene to utilize that natural light if I were to use the Scenes and Settings book. I realized how excellent it was to have a background that is portable… I can move it to wherever the light is best. This picture of Rebecca used no flash or artificial light. I was totally thrilled!
The next thing I knew, I had ordered Molly’s scenes on eBay! This picture was taken in my doll room (not great light) because I didn’t feel like dragging all the furniture downstairs. Next indoor photography challenge: make Molly’s room less…red. As you can see, the red of her room casts a very red tinge on the dolls!
In conclusion, I am excited to have found some alternatives that will give my dolls some great rooms and scenes without having to have a giant doll house, or even a giant foldable wooden room like Kirsten’s cabin. I have always wanted to collect the Scenes and Settings, but just never have. I actually really wish I had them as a kid. When I finished setting Molly’s bedroom up, I just felt this woosh of excitement–I was sitting in Molly’s room! It looks just like the book! The details in the scenes are outstanding artwork. I am out to get all of them now…I am totally and completely kicking myself as I had the chance to get Addy’s at the benefit sale this summer for a VERY reasonable price that I will absolutely never find on eBay. I think Felicity’s will work quite well for Caroline. I’m happy with how some of Samantha’s scenes work for Rebecca and her time period. Kirsten’s is probably the lowest priority for me right now since I already have made her a room.
What do you do for your doll rooms/spaces? A doll house? A blank wall? I’ve had fun trying all of these different options!