Archive for the ‘Toys’ Category

Dollhouse furniture you might actually want to own

19 Sep

Rings in dollhouse sink

I cannot find it in myself to appreciate the appeal of lifelike dolls. My niece (as of age 4, at least) apparently disagrees, to judge by her fascination with the American Girls dolls and all other doll-based collectibles. Make eye contact and the dull, taxidermied eyes of a doll stare right into your soul. Can anyone back me up on this?

However, I’ve found that some doll-related paraphernalia  can serve amusing practical (or purely decorative) purposes. Even if dolls revolt you, their furniture is available for anyone to use. They may also entertain you if you, like Chandler Bing, enjoy holding small objects and feeling like a giant.

Here are my top-three uses for dollhouse furniture in a full-size house:

  • Sink for jewelry storage in bathroom or kitchen: If you wear expensive or sentimental rings (such as wedding or engagement rings), you might want to take them off before do soapy jobs like washing the dishes. In our house, a miniature sink atop our kitchen sill makes a fine repository for jewelry. Having a designated location helps rein in the fear of losing a valuable ring. The Wife knows I think engagement rings are overpriced bullshit, but I BOUGHT the damn ring, and I don’t want it dropping down the drain. For what it cost, I’m all for keeping it clean and safe. It’s all the better that the little sink-atop-a-sink amuses me, too.

Dollhouse rug as coaster

  • Dollhouse rugs as coasters or doilies: Dollhouse rugs are remarkably intricate, and yet you can get tiny rugs shipped from Turkey for $3 apiece. I have purchased most of mine through eBay and have never been disappointed. They’re excellent for sliding beneath decorative bowls, flower pots, or any household decor that might scratch your furniture. The colors and fine details on the rugs add a little extra to your knickknacks. Miniature rugs make great coasters, too.

Dollhouse bathroom

  • Miniature fixtures for decoration: I have surreptitiously added a miniature bathroom next to the rafters in a family cabin. Like the eyeball pillows, this is my way of injecting some hidden whimsy into my surroundings. Something about miniature bathroom fixtures is hilarious to me. I have seen them used well in flower pots and other garden settings where tiny elves might sneak by once in a while. My primary goal is to convince small children that elves really do live in the house and come out when they are sleeping (a story which sounds funny or terrifying depending on how cruel I feel).

One warning: dollhouse furniture is often impressively overpriced. Don’t worry, fellow cheapskates. Once you know what you’re looking for, you can occasionally find decent deals on eBay. Almost any piece of dollhouse furniture can be found for under $10 if you’re patient, which keeps the cost below the knickknacks at Pier One and the like. Of course, if you know of a good (or cheap) place to get dollhouse furniture, please let me know.


Classic paper airplane does loops, circles, and tricks

28 Feb

This design dates back to my elementary-school days. The plane is meant for goofy stunts, not distance, and it delivers. Any fool can fold it, and there are a wide range of possible variations by tweaking its wings and fins. A plane that does tricks is great for breaking lamps, scaring sisters, and pissing off the cat. Of course, if you want fast or long-range planes, you should check out my dart and glider designs. Read the rest of this entry »


An all-purpose glider-style paper airplane

26 Oct

Unlike the needle-nosed dart model we’ve seen before, this airplane is designed for gentle gliding. It’ll go quite a distance if you throw it hard, but it will also float smoothly for ages with light toss. I’m not encouraging littering, but these are great for throwing out your window. Overall, it’s easy to make and remarkably sturdy. All you need is an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper and a minute to fold it. Read the rest of this entry »


How to make magnetic LEGO® blocks

26 Sep

Magnet and postcardLet’s just admit it: magnets are fun. There is something inherently entertaining about playing with invisible forces that satisfies the inner child that still longs for Jedi powers and hoverboards. Therefore, I pounce on any chance to buy cheap magnets, and I never throw a magnet away without trying to find a new use for it. I recommend you do the same.

I think Lego® blocks are just as irresistible as magnets, so combining the two is win-win situation. I insist on high-quality, entertaining magnets on my fridge, and these meet my standards (as usual, my rules for what is entertaining or high quality are exacting and bizarre). Read the rest of this entry »


The best dart-style paper airplane you’ve ever met

19 Sep

Some paper airplanes do loops and tricks. Some glide lazily along from the weakest toss. This one? It’s a hot rod, a competition-winner streamlined for speed and distance. It’s a simple design perfected over many bored geography classes in my middle-school years. It has narrow wings, so it cuts through the air rather than gliding atop it. Grab yourself a standard piece of letter-sized paper (8.5″ x 11″) and follow along to make your own. Read the rest of this entry »