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She Built Her Own Victorian Mansion
Georgia McNeely, 79, has proven to be quite a "handywoman" in her later years. She's carved furniture, assembled grandfather clocks, split cedar shingles and wired a house all in miniature.
  Her 14-room Victorian mansion dollhouse is the result of 25 years of work. "I've always been a little bit creative," says the Scottsburg, Ind., woman. "I used to paint and enjoyed that. It's hard to quit when I start something."
  McNeely built her first dollhouse for her daughter when she was young, carving the furnishings out of soap. When she discovered the dollhouse in the attic in the mid 70's she decided to build a big dollhouse for herself. She was inspired by a photo of a Victorian funeral home and drew up blueprints on a 1-in. to 1-ft. scale.
  Built solidly of 1/2-in. plywood glued and nailed together, it's 4 ft. tall, 4 ft. wide and 3 ft. deep. The dollhouse takes three people to move. McNeely cut real glass and etched designs into some of the windows. The roof is made of shakes that her husband Delmar cut into 1-in. blocks and she split with a butcher knife and hammer. The cedar came from a tree cut on Delmar's family's farmstead. The siding is yellow poplar.
  McNeely used a table saw to cut many of the pieces for the house. But when it came to furnishings she started with her husband's pocketknife. Her first piece was a walnut wood rocking chair. She eventually graduated to a professional carving set to carve intricate Queen Anne-style furniture. McNeely says she never really mastered it, but those who look at her work disagree.
  McNeely is proud of a grandfather clock she built that actually works with a moon face timepiece, jewelry chain and weights. The house is full of detailed woodwork a spiral staircase, bookcases with books (blocks of wood) bound in leather, four-poster beds, fireplace, hardwood floors and chandeliers, for example.
  "My eyes were good then," McNeely says, noting she used a large magnifying glass to help with the tiny details.
  She spent hours of library research to make the furnishings and decorate the house. She bought a book on electrical wiring and wired the entire house with mini lights. She hid the transformer and wire leads in the attic under a section of roof that she can access.
  People of all ages love the dollhouse. It brings joy to friends who visit and her 7 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
  Because the front and back of the house open up and the dollhouse is on a lazy susan, it's easy to view every room close up and get lost in the beautiful, small world McNeely created with her own hands.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Georgia McNeely, Scottsburg, Ind. 47170 (bjmcneely@wmconnect.com).

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2010 - Volume #34, Issue #2