Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Brown paper packages tied up with string ......

There is an element to this hobby which I have never mentioned, or seen mentioned, that I thoroughly enjoy.  I love receiving all the various packages and parcels full of treasures to play with.  I have no idea why, other than the mere sight of a parcel touches the child in me and I love opening the box and (re) discovering my gifts to myself.

Today I received three parcels, this being the first one:

Jennifers of Walsall

The incredible Jennifer's of Walsall get the prize for the best packed, fastest delivery, consistently most reliable of anyone I ever buy from.  That's probably three prizes then! .... Oh, I forgot to mention really, really helpful.

I ordered these late on Monday 11th May and they arrived first thing Wednesday 13th!!!

Here we go:

black walnut floorboards

This is pretty much the only floor I use in my projects (where wooden floors can be used of course).  It is an American product (Houseworks) and is real wood.  This is their Black Walnut.  The wood is card thin, of the best quality, will take varnish or stain or wax or whatever you want to throw at it and, best of all the floorboard size is historically correct for several periods.

The strips are laid on a backing paper and all I do is add a thin layer of silk (water-base) varnish it to bring up the colours in the wood even more.  When its dry it is a simple job of using scissors to cut it to fit the space (make a template first).  I then lay it down using very thin double sided sticky tape so I could easily remove the floors if needed to get to a faulty light, for example.

I cannot see how this floor could be improved on.

Mini Mundus kit

I have made a couple of Mini Mundus kits in the past and they are lovely.  The wood is a reasonable quality so they take stain, paint etc really well.  I prefer kits to the usual furniture that I can afford as I don't like the finish on much of the stuff out there.  The lovely artisan quality pieces I see at shows get the patina and sheen perfectly, but they are well beyond my budget.  This way I have some control over the finish even if I can't do it as beautifully as them.

This little duo can go just about anywhere as they are candle tables.  They are two different shaped tops which is a nice touch.


I am sure many of you know that still by 1820 and for a couple of centuries before there were no 'shared' fire services.  You could insure your property with a company who had a service in your area and if there was a fire they came out to you.  To enable them to recognise whose fires they should douse and who to ignore (!) your house would have a fire-mark like this displayed in a prominent position.

My house was probably built around 1750 so, clearly, the owners brought their 1710 fire-mark and policy with them when they moved.

Mini Mundus

This is both a cheap and an expensive way of getting 89 books for the library.

Obviously if I bought 89 pre-made books from someone like Dateman I would have to take out a second mortgage.  Equally, I could have paid much less than £22.95 if I had used one of the many free printies you can scout up on line and printed it up, using high quality photographic paper. (first buy some).   Added to this I would then need to find suitably thick wood for the books I have printed (in this case 4mm and  6mm) and then round off one edge to get the shape for the back of the book.  Being me I chose what I consider to be the middle path and here we are.

Mini Mundus

Another little duo from Mini Mundus waiting for my creative juices to flow.  I wanted both of these pieces for sure.  The sloping desk is for the Servant's Hall (just as in Downton!) and the steps are, obviously, for the library.

Streets Ahead (?)
These are three false doors for the back of the bedrooms in the attic.  It is again something I have used before and works very well where you don't want to bother cutting a hole for a door.

Streets Ahead
Eight of these fully fledged doors for around the house.  They will be kit-bashed as I want to add corners, maybe different architraves.  Generally I am not bothered about doors opening as they are often sideways on in most kits when viewed  so I always remove the bar across the bottom - nowhere in my real house does a door have a strip across the bottom....... so it doesn't happen in small world either.  Making them open without this bar doesn't seem doable right now - hinges I guess?

who makes this?

I don't know who makes this but it is the fairly usual plain pine (inexpensive) flooring that I use in attics or other 'poorer' areas of the house.  In 1820 it was commonplace to use cheap woods throughout a house for panelling and doors and was always painted.  It was also commonplace to paint poor quality floorboards.  Right now I am not sure if the attic rooms will be painted as they may well have been when they were used for the family or just be faded/scrubbed wood.

Writing about these floorboards reminds me - do try to get to a shop or show if you are buying any wood products for the first time - such as doors, trims, floorboards, white furniture.  The quality of wood can vary a lot.  In my time I have spent over thirty pounds on some trims from an EBay seller which were absolutely unusable as the wood was so coarse and open grained.  I bought a front door once because I liked the style and had the same problem, not to mention wonky.  Even pine boards that you see around look roughly the same as the ones here.  It is easy to get tempted to save a few pence per sheet but, again like me, it is a mistake you don't repeat.  If you can't get to a show or a shop then I suggest you only order one of something (with some other things to make the postage worthwhile) and see if its what you want before diving in for the rest.  Otherwise, just make your life easy and order it from Jennifer's of Walsall.


  1. How wonderful - a parcel full of gems! I get excited over mini parcels too, probably because I've forgotten half of what I ordered and it all comes as a bit of a surprise! On returning back to the hotel after KDF my sister and I went through all the purchases I had made and this came under "debrief" on our Itinerary!

    You've made some great choices and it's the first time I've been aware that the two little tables you got are slightly different. I should pay more attention! You're certainly making great progress with this and I'm loving it!

  2. I love the 'debrief' element on a hotel bed after a show - except when you actually end up losing something very teeny as I did once!! Thanks as always for stopping by. Counting down to York now. Marilyn