News

300 Barbie dolls and counting

FINE DETAIL: Rieckie Muchow with her Christmas Time diorama. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
FINE DETAIL: Rieckie Muchow with her Christmas Time diorama. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott

FOR most girls, Barbie was a memorable part of any childhood but one Bundaberg woman has not let growing up stop her from continuing to be entertained by the popular figurines.

Creating what can only be described as extremely elaborate themed displays, perfectly replicated to one-sixth of real life, they include a caravan with a working television and a festive lounge room with working Christmas lights.

Rieckie Muchow started making the Barbie-themed dioramas as a way to keep herself distracted while her premature daughter was in hospital. Now 31 years later the intricate designs are helping her through another medical battle - chronic pain caused by a degenerative spinal disease.

"I had a premature daughter and I came out of hospital and I needed something to do," she said.

"Then I stopped for a while when my daughter was little but then when she was finished with Barbie I liked the furniture so I kept it all. I didn't throw any away.

"And then when my daughter was 10 we had another daughter and so there were more Barbies."

Mrs Muchow said her interest in Barbie was rekindled and led her to online Barbie groups and the hobby really took off.

"They told me about this company that makes the miniatures, realistic household items - things that I've never seen before like sliced onions and tomatoes.

"It's called Re-Met. You buy them in sealed themed boxes. It's in a capsule like a Kinder Surprise and they come as a series.

"Once I had these items, I thought 'I've got some furniture, I'll make a kitchen'.

"The first one I did was in a cardboard box and I used washing powder boxes to make the kitchen cabinets and made it up as I went along.

"I entered it into the Bundaberg Doll and Bear Fair and it won."

From there Mrs Muchow was hooked and husband Trevor's skills have also been put to the test to help create the diorama boxes.

"I said to my husband 'If you make me the one wooden box, I'll be able to strip it out and reuse it every year'," she said.

"Well I counted this morning I now have 24. How could you pull it to pieces?

"The oldest one I have is probably the castle."

Meticulously painting sets, imagining new uses for everyday items and using tiny replica items to design varied themes, Mrs Muchow hand makes the items she can't buy.

"I wanted a lawnmower and you can't source a lawnmower so, jam jar lid, a piece of balsa, a soft drink lid, some more balsa, a scoop from the washing power, some Lego wheels and you have a perfect lawnmower," she said.

It's the hours and hours of time spent perfectly creating each diorama that keeps Mrs Muchow distracted and her mind off the pain from the degenerative spinal disease she now suffers.

"It's wonderful pain relief," she said.

"You've got to sit there and concentrate crazily on making sure everything is in the right spot."

Mrs Muchow estimates she had upwards of 300 Barbie dolls and couldn't put a monetary value on her collection or count the hours she's dedicated to the hobby.

"I make three each year for the Doll and Bear Fair. I start in January for the show in September," she said.



WHERE ARE THEIR PARENTS? Teen thugs terrorise streets of CBD

Kids as young as 10 banned from Macca's, throwing rocks at cars

Developers boost confidence in Bundaberg property market

Slow and steady growth has always been Bundaberg’s way

Champ visits hospital

NAVY BEARS: Kalanie Johnson with Kel Treseder.

Kel puts smiles on faces

Local Partners

What's on the small screen this week

Jessica Marais in a scene from the TV series The Wrong Girl.

A NEW romantic comedy debuts while footy codes ramp up for finals.

Airbourne talk drop bears, beer and taxes

Airbourne have a new album coming out and a new tour on the way.  Photo Contributed

Airbourne release album for the aussie battler

Pippa Middleton had 3000 private photos stolen

Author Pippa Middleton

Author's account hacked to access 3000 private photos

Gruen star discovers the body's limits in new hit TV show

Todd Sampson tries out MMA fighting during TV series BodyHack.

Gruen star pushes the limits in new TV series

Deftones return to Australia with string of dates

Deftones are back in town. Photo Contributed

World renowned nu-metal pioneers return

How the Gruen guy's t-shirts took on a life of their own

Documentary filmmaker and Gruen panellist Todd Sampson.

What started out as simple workwear has become a trademark

Developers boost confidence in Bundaberg property market

Slow and steady growth has always been Bundaberg’s way

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

First stages of $25 million housing development underway

New development on Madsen Rd - The Springs.

The blocks of land are much bigger than usual

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Rocky proves prime real estate in latest REIQ report

Kas Woch sold this Wood St home in Depot Hill for $107,000 in August.

A new investor's market as Rocky house prices hit lowest in state