Saturday, 21 October 2017

A Hunt Board for the Dining Room

A hunt-board is very similar to a sideboard but is generally taller, smaller and a simple design.  I think nowadays no-one is bothered what we call what, so most of the furniture names have become interchangeable but if you want to be pedantic, like me, 'sideboard' pieces should have different names depending on their shape and size and use and historical beginnings.  So a sideboard, credenza, buffet and huntboard are different creatures.

The reason for its name is that it was traditionally used to hold the hunt breakfast.  It therefore needed to be a light piece of furniture to move it easily to where it was required and to be taller than a table as people would be serving themselves from the dishes laid out on it.  It went on to remain in domestic dining rooms and would hold breakfast items in their chafing dishes for the same reasons.

This is the kit I bought....

This is the inspiration piece - which just confirms the house of miniatures version really

Here it is being assembled: at the beginning of the assembly, it always looks like a ton of pieces when you open the box

Nicely balanced legs.  Remember my blathering about the gel stains....I did add a seal coat but I can't see how it made any difference to what followed and it added a day to the process  to allow for drying.

I did a sort of drawer mass production for the five drawers (one off camera!)
They required a lot of sanding to get them to fit in the spaces
Remember to number them as you go, so you know which one fits which space

This sanding produces the best sort of sawdust to add to paint to fill gaps in your coving and skirting joins, et al.  Tap it onto a piece of paper from the sandpaper so you can then 'funnel' it easily into a small container.

Here is the huntboard with three coats of gel stain.  The drawer boxes are better not stained; they wouldn't have been stained in real life.  I may 'dirty them up' some time.  Don't attach the drawer fronts until you have put the knobs on.

When I added the varnish everything went to pot!  It dragged at the stain and went gloppy in places.  I had to go back over the piece in an attempt to correct the problems.  The large drawer front had to be sanded right back to basics and started again.  I don't have any explanation as to why this happened.

The photo below is to show you just how tiny the knobs and plates are for these drawers (small brass tacks and washers.  There are no spares and are so, so easy to lose.  Always work over an uncluttered work-space (no where near the edge) so if you drop one you can find it again.  I started by holding the work over my lap as I usually do for comfort and a good sight of what I am doing.  I then dropped the nail and washer as I was trying to attach it to the drawer and spent a very, very long time finding them again and even then that was more by luck than anything else.

There is a template for marking up the position of the knobs which is useful. You cut it out and place it accurately on the drawer front and mark up for the pins.  

Mark up and drill the holes with a very fine drill bit - smaller than the pins.  Add a very tiny bit of superglue gel into the hole and put the pin and washer in place and press the washer down with the tweezers until you are sure it has stuck.  Then gently tap the pins in with a hammer leaving a smidgen of a gap so it looks like a knob.  You can see that better on the photo after this one.

Annoyingly the pins are too long and need nipping off on the other side.  I don't have any pliers than can do this.

All done and dusted - well, wax- polished, actually and set in its home awaiting its 'silver' or glass.

I did like using the gel stain heaps more than the smelly spirit wood stain I have been using up 'til now.   I think the finish is marginally better too.  Probably best to not varnish it though and just wax and buff the pieces.

When doing furniture kits you need other stuff to be going on with as each step needs an overnight drying process so even a simple piece like the hunt-board takes five or six days.  I try to find little odds and ends to get on with like this one.

I bought two inexpensive plaster pieces a while ago -  In this photo I have started to paint the base

Add caption
This is the inspiration piece - I like my £2.50 price better than the auction price shown here

New to me and very good - Humbrol acrylic water-based, bronze metallic paint

........with the stupidist lid!  If you look at the picture of the unopened pot the new design plastic pot looks like their many, many years of little metal tins of paint with a traditional paint tin lid that you lever up.  I had many goes at that without success before realising the top unscrews.  Not only is there no clue to this, but the actual join where the top splits from the pot is hidden underneath the label.  Needless to say this has since been successfully decanted into one of my little jars.

I love the end result - bronze bust of Mozart on a wooden base.  The wooden base is as simple as painting the plaster base with the (new) gel stain

....then I dropped it!

PS Luckily I didn't chuck him away in a tantrum.  I took a deep breath and short break and then I nipped off the bottom circle and he looks just fine now.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

A zillion treasures

I hope you like looking at other people's purchases.... if not, better to leave now as this will be a long haul.


The first three come from a company with several names!  Letter heading and site name is Hobby's - if you Google this it will come up as 'Hobby's Hobbys' and its actual company name is W. Hobby Limited.  I tell you this because there are so many companies out there that are vaguely called something around 'hobby' that it is sometimes hard to remember or re-find the one you want.  Any way here is its link:  Hobby's

The first purchase, and my reason for being there, was some 3mm strips of pine to make 'joists' for a false floor so I can get wires out the back without having to make grooves.  Great value at £5.95 and happy to see how nice and straight they all are .  Enough here for ages.

Once I am on a site I have to look round to see if I can get anything else to make the postage less painful.  So because I was spending £3.80 on shipping and handling I decided to spend £11.60 on something I had not ever thought of.  Not sure of the logic there.  If this makes up nicely it will be lovely as a side table in my dining room for the 'silver' or 'crystal.

True to form, every time I shop I have to buy a 'why-did-I-do-this' lulu.  I saw a photo of tiled wallpaper which looked like a delft blue and white and thought (as I had never seen it before) I would keep it for something....  the plan being to cut out and stick each square down as a tile and then 'glaze'..... a future splash-back maybe....  any way I am  £1.65 lighter and now own a decidedly useless bright turquoise (!!!) item.  So £3.80 postage plus £1.65 saving post and packing money method really works (not).

ELF Miniatures

Here comes my next series of projects from the fandabulous ELF Miniatures

Firstly the bones of my little kitchen

a scary bag of bits
Then the extra challenges to complete the kitchen

the labels explain what they are

A lovely table and two chairs for the kitchen - the seats will change colour - probably grey.

Two little kits to make a clock and a sidboard

Here's what I hope they will look like

A couple of chairs for the sitting room - I am sure about the lovely fuzzy yellow one, not so sure about the swivel chair.  It is intended for a desk but I am not fixed on that yet.

 I invested in an already made up set of furniture for the bedroom as it was reduced.

 As always I can't capture the colours very well but this wallpaper is really nice.  I saw it originally on the Dolls House Emporium site where it is reduced right now so, presumably, on its way out.  It wasn't expensive over at ELF so I picked up a couple of pieces for the bedroom.  The green background is lovely and soft and it goes beautifully with the bed set.

I have no idea what the legal and moral ramifications are re. buying people but I am hoping it may not apply with mini resin ones.  I have decided to give my PhD student a boyfriend (the seated chap) and have converted the original children into older versions (the standing boy).  I already have the teenage girl.  The seated girl is the bonkers purchase in all this lot - I keep telling you there is always one- she is for the future-may-never-do-it project.  The logic to buying her is that I am not seeing her around a lot and any way I had already paid postage on this lot.  You may shake your head in despair.  

Maria's Fabrics

My favourite fabric vendor, without doubt, is Maria's Fabrics.  I snaffled a couple of 'just the right colour' pieces to make cushions (left) and a soft wool throw (right) for the siting room while I had them in my sight.  This will not prevent me from visiting her stall at the next show we are both at and buying some more pieces for my growing fabric collection.


Saturday, 7 October 2017

The Loft Apartment Kitchen

I am finally working on the top floor of my house.  This will be a modern apartment for a post-grad student 'lodging' with Elizabeth.

The original three rooms were servants' rooms with a door in the back wall leading to a corridor.  I pretty much have to stick with this division of the roof space so that the dormer windows still work well in each space.  The bedroom retains the door at the back of the room as that now leads to an en suite bathroom.

The middle room also keeps the door as it is the entrance from the corridor to the apartment (stepping into the kitchen).  In the final space, the sitting room, the corridor door space has been blocked up.

Roof spaces with dormers are always a bit of a pain to convert (even in real life) as there is a large strip along the front that can't really be utilised  because no-one can stand up in the space.  In real life it does make for a great built in storage area for each room but if I do this it will (partially) block the view into the rooms and certainly 'stop the eye'.  I might add interesting stuff to the fourth wall for this space.(?)  A further complication is that this space is then broken up by each dormer window where is actually enough room to stand upright.

So, with 4.5 inches 'trimmed from the front the remaining workable space gives me three rooms each 10.5" deep by a little under 12" wide.

If you are interested in the space, click on this to enlarge the photo

I do have to have a door cut through one of the side walls between the original bedrooms. I got my 'handy-man' to cut a hole in the right hand wall for an interior door: this leads into the bedroom so that would need the privacy of a door.  

Using my fabulous (!) universal two-inch cardboard cupboards, I worked that I can get three kitchen units along the remaining wall: a six-inch run.

So, over here there will be four 1.5" floor cupboards with an under-counter s/s sink, with two wall cupboards.  The water pipes etc would be on that side of the room as the en-suite bathroom is nearby.

On the other side of the room I use my trusty friend.... still carrying her books, poor woman..... to test out how far out we can go before we bang our head.  I intend to just chop the wall out here, as if it had been knocked through, so the kitchen and sitting room is sort of semi-open plan.  I don't want actual open plan because the roof in real life would need support and I want to retain some of the wall so I can add wall cupboards in what will be a very tiny kitchen.  Looks like I can get an eight inch run on this side.

 The base cupboards have a small built-in oven and s/s fridge (with a small freezer box inside it).  The right-hand cupboard has now been changed to a set of drawers.  Above these will be two cupboards, an extractor hood and a built-in microwave.

Since sketching out these rough plans I have also decided to go with white gloss and no handles...all very sleek.  This is the 'feel' I am going for......  on a much smaller scale!

The wonderful, wonderful, Elizabeth from ELF has been her usual patient and super-helpful self and after a flurry of emails we have arrived at solutions for it all, including a 'real' pale grey granite worktop from the equally lovely Graham from Dollshouse Flooring.  You may remember his Decrastone which I used for the hearths in front of my fireplaces. 


Monday, 2 October 2017

NEC Miniatura, Brimingham 30 Sept/1Oct 2017

Here is an extra post this week so that it is current.... I went to the NEC show at the weekend and thought some of you might like to see what I bought.

If you want to read my thoughts about the show they can be found over in my Dollshouse Trips and Shows blog.

Masters Miniatures

The card table was bought for more than one reason.  I thought it might be nice in the music room as this is the room for social gatherings and after dinner 'entertainment'.  Also, I so much wanted a piece from Masters Miniatures and this was something I could afford to buy.  In order of cost my top three furniture makers that I see at shows are:  Beith Miniatures,(most expensive) then Escutcheon and then Masters Miniatures.  Do go and take a look at Beith and Escutcheon's work you'll love it.

Ellie de Lacy

I am trying to find pictures for various rooms and it is much harder than you would think when you see how many pictures there are out there.  To be honest I have really just been looking at inexpensive pictures to use their frames, intending to make my own actual picture.  That said, I thought these, from Ellie de Lacy, were nicely made and would do a few jobs.  The top pair are for the music room, the centre pair are for the dining room, the bottom picture was bought because I hoped it would be the right size and proportion to balance my nice Jim Coates mirror in the hall.

The resident of my house would not be so naff as to have reproductions of such famous paintings so I am not sure how to square that away..... maybe she likes copying paintings?????

Ellie de Lacy
I know I have just made a gazillion books but I really liked these, they are so nicely made and will be lovely for leaving around the place.

I liked the neat and informative backs on the paintings

Mini McGregor
 I need to collect a lot of bits and pieces for dressing various spaces and Mini McGregor is a great source for such things.  Here I have some shoes in a box for my French student, cards ready for the card table, some shells in a box (one of the children collects shells) and a lovely packed magazine box to leave out on a desk.

Amanda Speakman
 Amanda Speakman doesn't have an online presence any more - hence no click available here.  This means you can only find her work at various shows.  I met her at one of her earliest shows (maybe her first) and fell in love with her work - the scale and detail is just perfect and at a price I can afford.  I wish I had bought up a lot of her things at this show for future use but sadly I didn't have the presence of mind to do that.

The Ironworks and Black Country Miniatures
 I need a modern silver-coloured escutcheon for the flat door as a deadlock.  One of these will be dandy after it is painted.  The Ironworks and Black Country Miniatures is a fantastic source for anything you can think of in metal.

Delph Miniatures
 Any show Delph Miniatures is at I am compelled to buy something.

also from Delph

Magpies Dolls House Miniatures
 We don't seem to get many practical stalls at shows - I overheard more than one person asking for paint and wood etc so it is always useful when you find a vendor with a few helpful bits and pieces on their stand.  Magpies Dolls House Miniatures was just such a find and just at the very moment I wanted some more Deluxe Glue.  I have used their Rocket Glue and Craft Glue and I love them and wouldn't use anything else but I have wanted to try their Glue 'n' Glaze as it claims to stick pretty much any material to any other and better still will glue painted surfaces together.

Blue Riband Fabrics
 Blue Riband Fabrics is a very large (lots of tables) stand with a huge variety of fabrics and trims etc.  I always feel compelled to stop buy and I never leave empty handed and generally with a maybe-that-will come-in useful-someday purchase.  This show was no exception.  I have no idea why I might want batting but I know I would be very frustrated if I couldn't do something because I didn't have any????  Again, no online presence, so you need to get to the shows.

Halls Miniature Clocks

Malcolm Hall of Halls Miniature Clocks makes the most exquisite miniatures that are real collectors pieces but, luckily for folk like me he also makes accessible (cost-wise) pieces that are still pretty appealing.  The little radio matches my own DAB radio that sometimes comes into my Hive when working so i decided I needed one for the mini Hive.  Sadly I wanted a white one but got home and discovered it was pink.... my lucky student will get it for her bedroom.  The simple green clock is for my Hive and will make it into there.

Heidi Ott
I know I keep saying this but the fact remains I can never find the lights I want.  This time was even more annoying.  I thought I might buy a light with fan like I have in the Rec Room for the bedroom in the loft as it can get pretty warm up there in summer.  Heidi Ott's stall had two but I saw them right at the beginning of the room so I decided I would have a look round first in case I saw something else.  You guessed it, I returned and they had gone!  So this is it for now.....
Pride of Plaice
 I am surprised this is the first time I have bought from Pride of Plaice.  What caught my eye this time was the very nicely made fruit and veg that they sell for ten pieces for two pounds.  I bought the dishes because they were a thin finish but am pretty sure I have some the same in my 'dressings'.  As for the fruit bowl and small knife....I just liked them.

Bindels Ornaments
 Bindels Ornaments from the Netherlands was new to the show and new to me.  Not an exciting photo but it serves two purposes.  The first to encourage you to go and check out their site, they have some of the best findings I have seen, they have things made from them and a ton of ideas for you to go at.  The second reason is to prove I never go to a show without buying something I have absolutely no use for when I get home.  These were my 'why?' purchase for this show.  My theory with these was that one size would fit the ends of the future (sixteen) blinds' rollers to finish them off nicely when I come to make the binds.  I didn't know what size I would need, so went barmy and bought two lots.  I got home, looked at my RL roller blinds and realised they are finished in a different way and in white!  These would make good tops for 'bead' bottles....????

Maria's Fabrics
Yet another always-have-to-have-something from them purchase is this lovely cotton (£1.10 each) from Maria's Fabrics she has the best, fabrics, best prices and best service, bar none.

So there we go folks, another show done and dusted.  We have just booked a winter break in Florida and happily it coincides with a show - so that will be my next one.