A Look Back at 2010
By Deb Roberts
I always enjoy this issue of the newsletter so much because it’s a chance to look back at the year and all the wonderful new things that we’ve seen as well as the exciting things that have happened in the miniature world. Miniaturists are such busy people that we always have something new and exciting going on! 2010 has certainly been no exception!
The buzz word this year has been ‘Half-scale’. Honestly I think that it went beyond being a buzz word and turned into a whole new passion among miniaturists! No matter where we looked, we saw half scale everywhere! And whether you call it half scale or 1:24, you have to admit that it’s pretty awesome.
It became more and more noticeable that the half scale revolution was occurring when we started to see 1:24 furniture and accessories in the miniature stores, online shops, and catalogs. It seems like those tiny pieces that had been so elusive in the past were starting to increase in availability; something that made the long time half scalers jump with joy and gave confidence to those new to the scale. Reports from the miniature shows were telling the same tale—vendors and artisans were embracing half scale and bringing it to the masses with enthusiasm. Truly, 2010 has been the year marking the passage of half scale from a minor scale to its rightful place alongside 1:12 scale.
Leading the way in half scale has been the release of so many laser cut half scale dollhouse kits from Greenleaf. Greenleaf not only brought half scale dollhouses to the public with affordable prices and lots of architectural choices, but they took it one step further and made the new half scale kits in laser cut and used a fabulous new wood so the pieces are thinner and full of more detail than ever before.
A lot of the half scale kits are old favorites such as the Arthur, Buttercup, and Jefferson which take on a whole new charm in smaller scale. But going a step further was the re-release of some old favorites which are available only in half scale. The Willow and the Van Buren came back to enthusiastic cheers, especially in their new persona of half scale laser cut kits.
There have been several new releases of kits in both 1:24 and 1:12 scale laser cut. The kit causing the most excitement is the return of the Diana in both full and half scale! Some dollhouses are constantly being requested to return from retirement and the Diana has been at the top of that list for a long time. The ornate front porch and delicate trim on this house made it a natural for laser cut. Just think! With hardly any sanding needed for all that intricate woodwork you can build this house so much faster than before. That all adds up to a dollhouse builder’s dream come true.
The Diana isn’t the only house that came back in both scales. Greenleaf brought back two of the most popular general store kits that ever graced a dollhouse collection—The Brimbles Mercantile and the Taft General Store! I’ve been in love with both these kits for a long time and had already built my full scale Brimbles when the half scale was released. Talk about doing a happy dance!
If you ask most dollhouse builders and collectors, they’ll tell you that owning a dollhouse in one scale only increases your desire to have it in another scale. Since the half scale houses don’t take much space to display, you can literally have the best of both worlds. It also solves that age old problem we have of wanting to build one house in three or four different ways. When you can have both scales, you don’t have to agonize over choosing just one style.
I think that ability to display so many more dollhouses in half scale especially applies to the Brimbles and the Taft since many builders would like to have more than one style of store in their collections. Just as an example, I’ve been wanting to build an old west ghost town for a long time which would be home to half a dozen buildings including a saloon (the Brimbles) and a general store/post office (the Taft) but unless I build a new addition to my real life house I would never have been able to display it the way I wanted to. The arrival of these kits in half scale solved that issue for me! I still want to build the Taft in full scale, but its dual release in half scale means that I can finally create the ghost town of my dreams! Just think of the endless possibilities for displays of villages, towns or streets you could do with half scale kits! Town squares and residential streets and clusters of fairy houses! These are all possible now thanks to the smaller scale.
Other dual releases have been the Rosedale in 1:12 and 1:24, the Tennyson in 1:12 and 1:24, and the Chantilly in 1:12 and 1:24. I was so excited about the dual releases that I couldn’t wait to do them in both sizes so I started building the Rosedale in both scales simultaneously. It’s a lot of fun to alternate between the same house in two different sizes!
Dollhouse kits aren’t the only thing that Greenleaf has been providing for half scale enthusiasts. They stepped up and created laser cut furniture kits in half scale as well! Some of the furniture kits are smaller, laser cut versions of the existing furniture kits that Greenleaf has made for 1:12 dollhouses, but there are some fabulous new designs for the bedroom, bathroom, nursery and even the patio. I fell in love with those Adirondack chairs as soon as I saw them!
Going down one more step in scale is the re-release of the Greenleaf Town. While this one isn’t laser cut it’s still a must-have for anyone who works in 1:48 (quarter) scale. (And if you’ve never worked in quarter scale you really should give it a try!) The Town has five buildings plus a gazebo and best of all……one of those buildings is a little, bitty Brimbles Mercantile!!! Be still my heart! Not only could I have the 1:12 and 1:24 scale Brimbles, but now I can add the 1:48 to my collection. This definitely puts me in mini heaven!
Whew! With all that going on in one year you can just imagine how busy they’ve been at the Greenleaf factory. I think that they’ve probably surpassed even the quota for Santa’s elves this year! Greenleaf has made this an epic year for dollhouse builders with so many new houses, scales, and even furniture. Now if they could just figure out a way to fit more hours into the day because all I need is more time to build!
There was one more newly released kit this year that I haven’t mentioned yet because it’s in a class all its own. Of course I’m talking about the 2010 Spring Fling kit, The Baslow Ranch.
The Baslow Ranch, (named by Brae, the winner of the contest) is also laser cut and includes yet another innovative move by Greenleaf. This kit has additional components that can be purchased separately to make it even more versatile. The 2010 Spring Fling contest was the best yet because we saw so many creative and inspired versions of the same kit. You can see all the submissions in the 2010 gallery here and you don’t want to miss a single one.
It’s definitely been an incredible year for everyone at Greenleaf with all these new kits. Our Greenleaf forum has been a busy place as well and if you haven’t had a chance to look thru some of the galleries there, you’ll want to make time for that as soon as possible. There is so much talent on the forum that the eye candy is a real treat.
I’m not sure how Greenleaf will be able to top all they’ve done in 2010 but I do know one thing for sure. . . the new year is going to bring wonderful things to miniaturists!