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So, Monday morning started like all the others. I started writing down things I had to do this week because it was gonna be a busy week full of appointments. Around 11 am I got a email from a friend from the Greenleaf forum. Emily told me that one of my houses that I sold years ago was on Craigslist in Wisconsin. At first, I pictured it to be one of my earlier houses  before I was using paper clay. I pictured it to maybe one from when I first started out because I sold a few of those here in Wisconsin and Illinois. I clicked the link and was surprised because it was the McKinley dollhouse kit that I built for the Greenleaf construction blog!! :)  How did that get here from California?!! I sold it to a lady who lived in California in 2008. I remembered a couple of years ago seeing it on eBay. So, I said to myself “before you get excited, send them a message.” :D The  listing had been “Live” for 11 days and it looked like a thrift/charity store.  I sent the message and then decided to look them up and call instead of waiting for an email reply. The store was a little over 2hrs away from me. I called and asked about the dollhouse listed on Craigslist.  My name was signed on the back of the house so he began to tell me about how it was dropped off in the donation center with a box of other related things.  He kept talking about it’s a nice solid built dollhouse. He said he don’t know who Tracy Topps was but that the person dropping it off said he’d come back with more dollhouse stuff he had to get rid of! So finally I asked, was the dollhouse still there, and he said yes it was! I had to pay over the phone because they couldn’t hold it for me otherwise. I told him I was Tracy Topps and I had built this and shipped it to a lady in California 11 years ago! He got excited then and said well now I want to know how it ended up back here and how did you find out since you live so far away from here. So we chatted for a little bit longer. I wanted to go get it Monday so badly because I was worried it might be gone when I got there or damaged more. I got there and it’s still pretty solid. Some shingles are missing or paint is scuffed off. It’s dusty and the insides are scuffed and damaged a little. The staircase and fireplace had been removed and damaged and the lighted fire  doesn’t work in it. Several other lights are missing or broken too. I haven’t checked to see what’s working or not because once again, I have errands to run. But, when I got home, I opened the 3 drawers below the house and discovered several dolls and other things along with the box of furniture that has some things from Rhuetter Porcelain & Heidi Ott. A few of the dolls are by Detta’s Darlings (eBay name) some things I’m not sure who made. I got this all for about $100 including a tank of gas! They were just all happy it found it’s way back to someone who could clean it up and fix it. I think several people who worked there didn’t even know it was there because they all were saying how nice it was and asking each other where was it at in the store and how much was it sold for when it made its way to the front of the store. I never find dollhouse bargains at thrift stores EVER  so finding my OWN dollhouse was exciting, but finding all this other stuff was really a treat!! I’m not sure what I’m gonna do with it yet. I’ll decide as I restore it :) but that’s the story of Stone Brair dollhouse (Which was the name we gave it back then and it’s signed as that on the back :D  you can see my photos of some of what I got by clicking here  https://flic.kr/s/aHsmJNPf1h Thank you Emily for letting me know and Thanks to Carmen who told her about it! I’m so EXCITED to have this back!

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Woohoo! I'm so glad you got it back! I didn't realize the person you sold it to was in California, it's crazy that it ended up so close to you. I think it's like those dogs and cats who get separated from their family during a trip and eventually find their way back home. Your house was trying to make it back to you. :)

Those are some nice minis that came with it in the box. I can't wait to see how you restore the house. I always loved this take on the McKinley.

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Thank you Emily!! That’s why I was so surprised to see it! There’s a lot of goodies that was included. We all think the owner either died or went into some type of care facility or had to move with family. It’s one fear all miniaturist have, that our treasures will be given away and sold for pennies. It’s Amazing that no one bought it in all of that time! When I saw it had been live so long, I assumed it was too late for sure. A few minutes ago, I found a slip of paper in the drawer. It may have never showed up in the front store part. It says Craigslist 1st then eBay. So, it looks like they were gonna try eBay next. I really was fortunate to get this! :):D 

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Tracy, when I saw the condition of that poor house I nearly cried!  I can't imagine who would let it get into that condition!  How good you got it back.  When I clicked to look at the pictures I went back to look at the pictures you originally posted of the house when you first built it.

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Maybe you can sell your story to Haunted Things.  They will embellish the heck out of it for tv to the point you won't know its your story.  Then you can use the funds for refurbishing!  I think it is an extremely fortunate series of coincidences that brought you and your creation together again!  How could the supernatural not be involved? lol  But I am glad for you!

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I saw the photos from the recent craigslist link  - it looked like it had a few adventures in the last 11 years. It did look like maybe some grandkids enjoyed it with the nursery set and dolls and all. I'm glad it went out and had a life, and is now back with you, lol.

And I love that it came home with some luggage and souvenirs of its journey - some nice pieces in there. 

 

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Thank you all for sharing in the joy and irony of this happening! :D The house has a lot of work but it’s not major damage considering all of the miles it has traveled which is great! It does seem like it’s been well loved and played with which is always my hope when I sell I house. I’ve been back doing minis for a while now, but not like I was before. Sarah is gonna graduate this year from high school and Rachel is a dental assistant. David is selling insurance now. I find myself more busy with them being older than I did while they were younger. Maybe, my energy isn’t the same since I’m older now though :p   

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  • 1 month later...

When I got the house, I was anxious to find out if the lights still worked. I was sad to discover that they would not turn on. I put it away on my table, but it kept calling to me daily. Yesterday, I finally decided to try and see if I could fix the electric. I had workers working in my real life home and to keep me out of there way, I focused on my house. Well, I was rewarded in only 30 minutes!! I use a mixture of hardwire and tape wire to do most of my houses and I’m so happy I do! I think it made fixing the problem much easier :) 
 

The tapewire had some mild corrosion where the lights were soldered. I wiped down the tapewire strip with rubbing alcohol and once it dried, I took out my soldering iron to resolder  them to the tapewire. They hadn’t come undone but looked dusty/corroded where they were connected. Well, it did the trick. Only 2 lights are missing. The one in the fireplace and the one in the living room which was ripped out too.
 

I also cleaned the entire house with warm water, cheesecloth and some Murphy’s oil. I have very mild refurbishing to do. Touch up paint on the insides where the trim is scuffed.  I need to  fix a few shingles, reattach some porch trim and I may repaint the rooms since the light color has faded. add a new flower vine and redo the back yard. It may have been sitting in sunlight for years. I know the layer of dust on it was pretty thick. I’m thinking I’m not going to keep it after refurbishing it. I wanted to build this exact kit for myself and I have wallpapers, light fixtures and floors I want to use in mine. I can’t redo it in this one without a lot of work because of the textured walls and the wood  trims on the walls. I just thought I’d update everyone on this project :D  It feels good to be able to refurbishing my own creation. 818AC149-3EBF-4B13-822B-A05555DBB140.thu

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It feels like it came to me to get cleaned up and fixed. My husband was saying the other week that it doesn’t look like it’s been that long that it was built because it’s in pretty good condition. It really looks good after cleaning it too :)  Who, knows... it may end up staying in my family. If I find out someone wants one. 

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That's good news about the lights! Electricity can be such a pain to fix, so it's good that it was a relatively easy repair.

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  • 6 months later...
On 8/18/2020 at 10:42 PM, asherah said:

That little pram is adorable! How will you fix the lights? Funny how life works eh? =) 

Well, the lights ended up being an easy fix. The back of the house was really dusty! I got some cheese cloth and a warm bucket of water with Murphy’s oil soap and clean the back of the house including the soldered wire connections. Then when it dried, I took my soldering iron to disconnect the connections.

As I was doing the first one, I had a flashback to my sophomore year in high school taking electronics. I decided to just heat up and resolder that connection to see if it was just corrosion. Then I plugged it in and sure enough, that light lit up!! :cheer: I unplugged it and did it to each light and sure enough, each light still worked and one only needed a new lightbulb! :) :cucumber: I then painted the back of the house wall and taped down the wires again.

 

My oldest niece always wanted a dollhouse and we were supposed to build one together years ago. We never were able to with me being sick and not knowing I had fibromyalgia and her work schedule. I decided this house will go to her if she’s interested still (She has 2 little girls now too :) ). All I have to do now is add a flower vine to the “front” (right side) of the house. 

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2 hours ago, Minis On The Edge said:

Well, the lights ended up being an easy fix. The back of the house was really dusty! I got some cheese cloth and a warm bucket of water with Murphy’s oil soap and clean the back of the house including the soldered wire connections. Then when it dried, I took my soldering iron to disconnect the connections.

As I was doing the first one, I had a flashback to my sophomore year in high school taking electronics. I decided to just heat up and resolder that connection to see if it was just corrosion. Then I plugged it in and sure enough, that light lit up!! :cheer: I unplugged it and did it to each light and sure enough, each light still worked and one only needed a new lightbulb! :) :cucumber: I then painted the back of the house wall and taped down the wires again.

 

My oldest niece always wanted a dollhouse and we were supposed to build one together years ago. We never were able to with me being sick and not knowing I had fibromyalgia and her work schedule. I decided this house will go to her if she’s interested still (She has 2 little girls now too :) ). All I have to do now is add a flower vine to the “front” (right side) of the house. 

oh wow that's great =) Glad you were able to fix them. I have fibro too so sorry to hear you have it. I bet she will love the house. My daughter and I were building a house together but then her dad ended up moving so nwo she's farther away.

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