Saturday 24 July 2021

Farewell Dalton House

 I have finally found the point where i can let go of this project and move on to something else.

Thank you to all who have commented or contacted in other ways.  I love the support and knowing some things have helped some people and would love to have you take the next journey with me:

Just click on the link below

Mini Epilogue

Saturday 4 April 2020

Just some purchases

As you know this is to document every tiddly bit of my project for me to warm my toes by in future years, so I do also note any purchases I make....

Last week I got some lovely fabrics from my absolutely favourite fabric lady,  Maria's Fabrics

I may have, at last solved the drapery issue!

At the start of this week I received delivery of a fabulous work light.  The lighting in this room is poor - north facing in the daylight and a poor ceiling light behind me casting shadows over anything I am working on in the evening.  This lamp has varying temperatures of light and various levels of brightness and it is well articulated to move in all sorts of directions, even the head swivels.

Tao Tronics dimmable eye protection LED lamp - huge range of prices if you go look for one.

Yesterday and today I received a long awaited order from Delph in two parts.

I left these three tinies on a card table to give a sense of the perfect scale....  hairspray, hand soap, nail polish.

Here is a little something I need to remember each day

Eight of these for the library.  I so want to punch little holes in little paper and fasten them in the rings inside.

Two phones - one for the Hive (basement workroom) and one for the library - my student lodger uses her mobile phone of course.

Twelve light switches - that will be fun (not) gluing those in place

Eleven wall sockets to finish off ones I already have here and there; ditto the above sentiment

A touch of Ikea for the apartment - bedroom? or replace the one I made in the sitting room?

Just a thought on this pandemic.  I was unpacking eighty (!!!) items of grocery today which had been delivered to me safely by Tesco (I have used the service for years) and was bemoaning the two 'swaps' and three 'not gots'.  I suddenly thought about my mother and realised how she would have thought all her Christmases had arrived together if she had been looking at what I had spread out before me.  At the beginning of the war in 1939 she was 23 years old with a new baby and her husband away, three years later mom lost her baby when she was just six weeks old.  She was bombed out three times losing her home each time.  By 1945 she had a new baby to take care of too.  During all this time and for even more years after the war she lived with rationing and had to figure out how to keep her family fed.

One adult per week:
  • Bacon & Ham         4 oz
  • Other meat            value of 1 shilling and 2 pence (equivalent to 2 chops)
  • Butter                      2 oz
  • Cheese                     2 oz
  • Margarine              4 oz
  • Cooking fat            4 oz
  • Milk                       3 pints
  • Sugar                    8 oz
  • Preserves            1 lb every 2 months
  • Tea                        2 oz
  • Eggs                     1 fresh egg (plus allowance of dried egg)
  • Sweets                  12 oz every 4 weeks
I was peeved I didn't have the exact rice I wanted.  Really !!!! 

 We are just asked to stay in our (for most of us) nice comfy homes for a while and have stuff brought to our door, how dare we even whisper a complaint.

Please stay home and save lives.

Sunday 22 March 2020

Pictures two: or How Framing is not for me and other miscellaneous stuff

Being a nit picker for scale I often find some things hard to find which satisfy me and my budget.  I have had an eye out for picture frames for a long while and have bought this and that with varying success.  Eventually I decided how hard could it be to make a picture frame in scale and to the size I wanted.  I bought some mouldings from Jennifers of Walsall at a show a couple of years ago and they have lurked in the stash since then.  Time to dust them off

I bought two different styles.  The first is a plain/modern shape just 3/16ths inch wide

The other is a more traditional one.....  1/4 inch wide

.......with a complex profile which turned out to be even more of a pig to mitre

The reverse sides of these was pretty much the same in that they had been routed for you to put in the picture or maybe mirror and be left with a nice flush back - just as in real life.  A lot of frames you buy don't do this.   

I am quite proud of my mitring skills so off I trotted, full of confidence.

My first problem was what to cut it with.  I only have pretty basic equipment.  It was far too tiny and fiddly to use the saw and mitre block (I did try) so without that guide I already had a problem of getting the forty five degree cuts any way accurate.  It didn't take kindly to a knife and even the finest of scissor blades squished the material as it cut.  As you can see here the cuts were pretty dreadful and nowhere near a nice neat 45 degrees.

I cut the template in hopes of getting the lengths right and the angles right.  I didn't manage either. Even after attempting some adjustments here and there it was pretty much awful.

Sorry the focus is poor on this photo.  I glued the corners together best I could and stuck it on masking tape to stop it jiggling around (and coming unstuck) to paint it.  You can see my right side is longer than the left.

As for any gaps in the corners I used my usual method of mixing a little sawdust with paint and shoving that in and then sanding smooth when its dry.

So the finished object is not a thing of beauty and is a mirror,  not a picture as my post heading would suggest. 😉  

It actually looks OK in situ but I have two more back-up mirrors on their way so I will decide then which to use.

Worth noting before I leave that if you ever want any kind of wood pieces or trim for something you are doing this place has more than you could ever dream of:  Wood Supplies


We live in strange times.....  I currently have a painful unrelenting dry cough with no other cold symptoms or even a high temperature. Day three, yesterday, because I am 74 and have a rubbish immune system I was checked at a local community hospital - BP, oxygen levels, listened to lower chest, looked down throat and told I may or may not have the virus.  There is no way of knowing as tests will only be done if you are admitted to a hospital as an emergency. Apparently that point comes when you are finding it hard to breath when resting!!  

Just a couple of thoughts.......Clearly we will never be able to know the true statistics of the pandemic as there is no testing in the UK until it is pretty certain you have it.  The no test rule seemingly doesn't apply if you are a local MP and his wife both of whom were tested a few days before me in the same unit.  Such inequality will not sit well with many people.  When the worst is over and we are 'released' some months down the line we will be back in a world still carrying this virus (and its mutations) forever and have no way of knowing if we had it and are immune or if we are still vulnerable.  What a mess.

Meanwhile wish me luck.  To be fair I am on day four and thinking I have improved.

Saturday 14 March 2020

Pictures one

I decided to have a nice week working my way methodically through the house finding pictures for each room.  I began with the apartment sitting room.  

I decided it needed a large slim landscape picture above the sideboard.  The left wall is too busy to need pictures.  The right hand wall could have a group of pictures or a long slim landscape mirror above the sofa.  I think lots of pictures in a small room is a bit overpowering and you feel as if you are in a gallery so I settled on a mirror for this space...... a future make.

These are the ones I had culled over time and I liked them all equally.








A word about copyright before we continue.  As a rough guide you should try to contact the owner of a piece and ask their permission to use it.  At the very least it is good manners to acknowledge the source.  In cases like this where ownership is not known and not findable the use of the image (or text etc) falls under the 'fair dealing' section.  The morass of copyright laws is a legal minefield but, commonsensically, if you are using things as we do in our projects and sharing with a few friends and without any monetary gain or mass production you will be safe.   Clearly there could be occasions when the artist might  challenge your use of their work if they see it and, equally clearly, you should remove it and apologise.  😊  Sadly in mini world there is a lot of 'commercial' copying of artisans work and we don't want to feel we are adding to that.

‘Fair dealing’ is a legal term used to establish whether a use of copyright material is lawful or whether it infringes copyright. There is no statutory definition of fair dealing - it will always be a matter of fact, degree and impression in each case. The question to be asked is: how would a fair-minded and honest person have dealt with the work?
Factors that have been identified by the courts as relevant in determining whether a particular dealing with a work is fair include:
  • does using the work affect the market for the original work? If a use of a work acts as a substitute for it, causing the owner to lose revenue, then it is not likely to be fair
  • is the amount of the work taken reasonable and appropriate? Was it necessary to use the amount that was taken? Usually only part of a work may be used
The relative importance of any one factor will vary according to the case in hand and the type of dealing in question.
From:  Exceptions to copyright  (

This is UK copyright law.  I have no idea how 'international' it is.

Back to the picture.  I pretty much knew that the least interesting one, number 2, was going to be the one as its proportions were correct - shame; however I decided to  print and try all the others in situ just in case they looked OK and then discovered I was actually left with a choice of two; neither of which was number 2. Much fiddling about with numbers five and six ensued to find the optimum size.  The final (well for now) choice was made.

Next, the choices for hanging it were an Ikea click frame, an Ikea white wood frame or made to look like those stretched mounted canvas prints you can buy.  As it would be three feet by three feet in real world the answer was obvious.....

It was printed on some good quality copy paper and cut out with a generous allowance for wrapping over the wooden frame.  I cut and glued the wooden frame the same size as the print.  This was made from the wretched window frame wood that I am struggling with - you nearly escaped a mention of the windows this week. 😁

The print was then glued to the frame, trimming it to fit neatly.
frame being made, print ready to go

put together, showing the reverse with four tiny blobs of tacky wax for hanging it
I had experimented on a practice piece by coating it with some matt Mod Podge to give it some sort of 'surface' glaze and texture, but it muddied the colours a little and took the sharpness out of the detail.  Being a fusspot I decided to leave it unglazed (for now).

Et Voila - a picture in room number one.  After all my finger wagging last week about hanging pictures properly I think this needs dropping a little to pull the sideboard group together better.

Waiting for some more bits of dressing, a mirror and a human.


PS:  Yes I did manage to knock over the candle/buddha tray.... sand and stones everywhere.  Thank heavens for the  first reference photo it saved me looking for more joss sticks which I set off doing because I was convinced there was more than three.

I intended to have all the pictures done this week but between a vendor faffing about (I was trying to match two frames I already have) and a lot of time spent with the family mini (my grandson) this has become an ongoing saga.  Look out for next Saturday's epistle.

Saturday 7 March 2020

How to hang Pictures

I have decided to sort out the pictures needed for each room.  This will be a combination of waiting for two frames to arrive from a vendor, making some frames and printing and mounting some pictures in various formats. 

Whilst spending a happy time in my reference photos for this project I did come across this on my trawl.  It is a real life guide that I refer to now and then in big world.

Apologies if I have shared this before but it is a bit of a crusade.  😄  I hate seeing pictures and mirrors hung badly.  Apologies too for not being able to acknowledge its source.  I have had it many years and have long since forgotten where it came from.

As for how to actually hang your pictures in your project will depend on many things - primarily the historical period of your room.  Often large ornate paintings are hung on visible chains - either to a large hook on the wall or even suspended from a brass rod running around the edge of the ceiling or coving.  Miniaturising this offers a few challenges.  I just prefer to imagine they are invisibly hung/fastened to the wall behind the picture whatever their size, weight, historical period and so all I need to do is just add a few tiny bits of museum wax.

Tuesday 3 March 2020

Thinking out loud

Yet again no sharing of progress on the house as there hasn't been any other than the window frames..... but I am missing doing my blog so I will have to pester you with something and I wondered if I could persuade you to read a piece about how I am not doing anything.

Maybe not as daft as it sounds.  I talk back and forth with a couple of mini folk who are just setting out on the journey and I wondered if reading blogs is always helpful or comforting if you are feeling swamped by what's ahead.  Quite rightly we all tend to share our successes and in some people's cases absolutely amazing work and that's just as it should be.  I suspect though if you read too many of those posts, it is easy to think I can't do that and give up there and then.  I do hope not, those posts are there to inspire and help you forward, not to make a barrier.

So....... this post is to share just how much I am failing right now after six years of doing this.

Probably the biggest issue right now is that I invented a stupid idea (and yes, it was a stupid idea) of trying to improve the look of the plain windows and make them look as though they are Georgian sash windows.  This entails adding two (rather than the required one) pieces of laminate for the glass windows and then laboriously sticking eighteen fiddly pieces of wood on the acetate to make (additional) window frames.  This is after painting strips of wood and then accurately cutting out and shaping these eighteen pieces.  The wood has proven to be as hard to cut as concrete.  You also have to be extra  careful when messing with glazing as you don't want any glue to show.Take this and multiply it by the sixteen windows I have to do and I already have a task on hand.  Go no further than this to see this was a stupid idea but of course I did just the one window first to see if I liked the effect and thought - 'brilliant, I'll do that!' and then I couldn't go back.



inside before

inside after

This then leads to the windows inside the house floating in space and needing a sill to sit on so, further down the line, I will need to paint and cut and shape and stick in place window sills.  Next piece of bad judgement I spent money on buying a lot of door frame/window frame trims to put round the windows to help the reality kick in some more; requiring a ton more painting and cutting and gluing.  Luckily I have realised these will be covered completely by the curtains which I now have to make for the fourth wall to keep going with this idiotic idea, so I can ditch that performance and just weep over a mass of very nice trims I don't need.

With all that in the 'bad girl' pot you would think I could just crack on and get it done but, no, gentle reader I am suffering from winter blues and am too fed up to even try very much.  Sitting on the sofa and reading a book seems like a challenge.

In this state I decided to give myself a break and get out a furniture kit to make a matching Duncan Phyfe seat for the music room - I liked doing that I remember.  I got as far as undoing the box.

Oh, yippee, a curtain fabric sample has arrived to cheer me up - I was planning on a bit of an overspend on some silk taffeta because I have been on a very, very looooooong search for just the right fabric for the music room (silk, fine grey and white stripes) and I thought I had finally found it.  The sample is here and it is perfect.  Cheered by this, off I went to my computer  to order 0.3 metre only to discover at checkout they want £17.50 for postage -  whaaaaat????   When I have recovered sufficiently, in a couple of days, I will go back and maybe email them and see what we can do - I suspect they are used to shipping thirty metres at a time to folks doing real things with their silk.

For lack of better things to do I decided to try it in the pretty pleater I bought - 'it does what it says on the tin' - it pleats beautifully and I can see all sorts of uses for it, but not what I want which is softly falling silk drapes.  Back to the drawing board again.

definitely pleated

I then remembered getting a good result by just just pinning fabric when I did some previous stuff so I thought I would remind myself and see if I still liked them now I am further down the line and a lot more picky.

I have spent a good chunk of today going through previous builds trying to find pictures of fabric stuff I remember doing, especially curtains.  Like Pam Ayres 'Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth' I wish I had given more thought to how I might find things from my blogs easily.  I am now dreaming of having a big sort out and maybe starting a new blog just called 'How-to' where I could gather such things together and then preach on about how great I was at making a fireplace or roof or whatever.  If I do manage this, I suspect soft furnishings won't make it to the lectures.

pinned, draped and steam ironed

Good result.  I still love these cupboards in 'Chocolat'
The rest of these photos are from 'Wentworth'

my first roller blind - its OK but I have improved on that
not badly done, but way too fussy for my taste now

wrong choice of fabric this time - they resisted everything

better but still stiff as a plank - looks like I did use a pleater of some sort??

I found some nice bedding to cheer me up; too unnatural for me nowadays.

I dressed the bed upside down, makes me laugh every time I see this

remade the bedding the right way up and with a different choice of fabrics

Nothing in that search made me go whoopy-do or gives me confidence for the nine (or thirteen) sets of curtains I will be doing on this project.  That will be some learning curve.

So, here I sit with my work area littered with bits of window wood and accoutrements, an open furniture kit, bits of fabric, a pretty pleater and..... a birthday card .....something else I should be doing.

Newbies:  Take heart it is not all hunky-dory and perfection out there and many of us get our unproductive stretches BUT this is not a chore like cleaning the bathroom, this is a hobby and will give us much joy when we let it.

Tuesday 25 February 2020

Clare Bell light

I am not sure if this is a show-and-tell or I am still just looking for absolution.

I am not even starting with forgive me, I have sinned....  not with this one.  When I very first began with minis we used to snow-bird in Naples Florida and it had the most glorious mini shop called Nancy's.  (Sadly no more)  One of the very first things in that shop that I ever fell in love with was a collection of Clare Bell lights and the one I loved most was a five candle Georgian candelabra.  It was beyond my budget and, anyway, my project was a modern house so of no use whatsoever.  That did not stop me from visiting Nancy's over the years to drool over it.  I have even checked it out now and then, online, in the years since then.

So on my recent spree I thought I would leave it in the lap of the gods and see if I could find one - they are almost as rare as hens' teeth.  If I could, I would have it..... and the gods were smiling and here it is.

I need to straighten the candles a little and it will be brighter when using electricity rather than a battery

It came from the USA.  It was pricey, plus huge postage, plus the risk of paying customs duty on it over here.  Luckily all that worked out OK once I had stopped blubbing about the hole in my bank.

Then...... dramatic drum roll....... this is what I unwrapped.  Four very winky-wonky candles and the fifth had no bulb

Flip! hate the idea/cost of returning it to the states!!

You're British, Don't panic....  I lifted the light and this was underneath.  

No idea what the bit of wire is for

So, with just a bit of fiddling around with the two-wire-plug-in nightmare bulb and we were good to go.  Ahhh, woops, still a bit of a problem as my music room hadn't been expecting a floor standing Georgian candelabra and it would make even less sense in the other two traditional rooms.  I decided it could go in the precarious corner sort of behind the door.  The (invisible) doorstop prevents it being knocked and it would be brought into the centre of the room any time the  quartet sets up to play.  I would tell myself any story to validate this piece. 😊