Thursday, 29 November 2018

Bear necessities....

In my last post a number of bears of all sizes took over half the window area of the Small Worlds museum.   Today it is time to take a first look at what is in the other half of the window....

When I moved into my newly renovated full-size house in Bavorov in 2007 one of the first things I wanted to do was renovate a much smaller house - an Ebay purchase I had brought over from England for my then four year old granddaughter.

However this was way before the days of Small Worlds and The Stables, so all the useful stuff I now have in the Czech Republic for doing anything under the sun for a dolls house renovation was still a distant dream.

Almost my first visitors back then were my brother Ian and his wife Mette  - she is a highly skilled miniaturist who amongst other things writes regular columns for the magazine Dolls House and Miniature Scene.  When I knew they were coming over I asked her to bring a few useful items like flooring and wallpaper so that we could do up the house together.

She did so, but we were still short of carpets and upholstery so we raided the cleaning section of a local supermarket, ending up with coloured dusters, chamois leathers, and green scourers (which latter make very excellent seat covers when cut to size-I suspect they are rather unpleasant to sit on though!). 

We were very proud of what we achieved with such limited means but I have to confess that the house interior had become badly faded over the years, not helped by having stood in bright sunlight most of the time....

Time for a renovation before a large family of bears takes it over ready for Christmas.....

A few dabs of paint on the worst bits was all that I was prepared to do outside.... covering up a large, unexplained hole in the side - Butterfly suggested running a drain-pipe down with some mesh to prevent leaves getting in.   Out came the useful hair-curlers to act as mesh and a black straw drainpipe


I ripped off the very tatty vegetation that had been growing up the trellis work and replaced it with something rather more seasonal.

The greenery is from our favourite cheapie shop, Kik, and after some hunting...... 

....through my supplies I settled on wooden beads for the red berries.  

Please do not enquire as to the type of plant that resulted though!

The front doors needed some attention, as did a balcony door. A nameplate (which some of you will recognise), keyhole and doorknocker completed the outside work. 

I was pleased to discover that none of the rooms really required repapering. It was mainly a matter of replacing most of the flooring 

In one room I decided not to let good taste be my guide!  Who knows what appeals to bears anyway?

The other rooms are more restrained

The kitchen floor had always distressed me - it looked more like a roof than a floor - a coat of very pale blue stone paint, greatly improved matters.  


The staircase satisfied a great need - many years ago Mette gave me a strip of hand-embroidered carpet (with I think the promise of more, which sadly never materialised) which I have never actually found a use for because there was not enough of it. 

There was, however, almost enough for the very visible staircase and so I thought I would try the experiment of photocopying it and using the copied bit right at the top, where it could not be seen so well.   I am quite pleased with the result...

Then all that remained was to prepare the bears for their occupancy. They all looked a bit too summery for my liking - indeed, as you may remember from the last blogpost,  several were stark naked.

I hunted out some knitted jumpers, the work once again of Sheila Randall who has been mentioned many times in these blogposts.  Getting some of them on was a bit of a struggle!

 I also dismembered a pipecleaner doll, of which I have several, to get a cosy scarf for one of the bears.  

Trousers were donated (or maybe just lent) by some small dolls. 

It is surprising how a bear can be transformed by removing a silly bow from its head.....

Another visit to the bric a brac stall in Vodnany produced two more useful bears - Butterfly has named this one Oscar Wilde Bear, thanks to his opulent dressing gown

The second will make his appearance in the final post of this trilogy, much nearer to Christmas......

In the meantime I leave you with some final views of the house.  Have a Happy Advent and watch this space!

My thanks to Anya for allowing this repurposing of her dolls house.  I hope she approves of it.

PS And for those who don't know it - a clue to why the post-title!


  1. Still not sure I understand why bears need extra winter clothing - they're all wearing fur coats already! - and if you do need the extra, how does the hat and scarf help when the rest of you is still stark naked?!... but I'll concede that they do look nice and cosy... and the house looks considerably cosier than their former cave house.

  2. I think the house looks fab, and who doesn't need a cosy hat and scarf, whether you have a furry coat or not!

  3. Looking good! I do wish I had the patience for miniature work but, alas....

  4. Really enjoying your bear-themed posts - what a tease, though, to keep us waiting until the next one for more! Looking forward to seeing you next week!

  5. There is no greater sense of satisfaction than when making something better out of what you have on hand! I love the improvements to the house and especially the creative use of materials! Bears appreciate color and pattern, and most of all a place to be appreciated! Well done! The display will be a delight to so many!

  6. This is such a great post and I really enjoyed reading through the improvements you made. The stair carpet looks wonderful, that was such a great idea to photocopy the carpet for the top. The bears are just adorable in their lovely jumpers too! Anne x

  7. Great post - which I only just saw! Love the description of the renovations you made to that house; I'm sure the bears will enjoy it as well as all those passers by who enjoy seeing your window displays as they go about their daily routines. Will look forward to the final post in the trilogy.

  8. Heavens to Betsy - I was keen not to comment while I was steeped in wine, then promptly forgot all about doing so. (I'm sure there's a moral in there somewhere...)
    Fab before and after photos - what a lot of teeny fiddling!
    Whilst appreciating the dramatic tension, I am getting a little bearishly rumbly waiting for the big reveal. There going to be a big reveal, isn't there? Isn't there????
    Andrea xx

    1. Tennessee Williams he say....
      “Possess your soul in patience - you will see!”

      Though I guess the Good Book said it first...