Saturday, 23 June 2018

Slowly, slowly...

I didn't get into my work room until three today but I thought I would crack on and get several rooms back in place.  In three hours (!) I only managed to do the library.  It is astounding where the time goes when you are fiddling around with tiddly things.  I confess much of the time was lost in simply rummaging around the 'dressing' boxes to see what I had that might work in there.

Firstly, I had over three hundred books to shelve; that can take a while when you are actually fussy as to what should go next to what!

I then  spent (wasted?) ages trying to make something of these...

I began by gluing the split ammonite on to a small base but I then found the glass display jars so thought I could perhaps put the two ammonite pieces inside those.  I love the fossils in rocks, so cleverly made.  Before someone tells me the ammonites would be very large when scaled up I did google it and the largest specimen found was eight feet so I think I am way inside that parameter.  These are real incidentally.

The complete ammonite needed raising up as it looked silly sitting at the bottom of the glass jar.  I found some corners of door frames and knocked off the edges with rough sandpaper to get it to fit in the jar... it needed more sanding than you see here.

Et voila two 18th century specimens that belonged to a favourite poet perhaps.

Just a reminder of the trompe-l'oeil effect when the door is open.  I am still very happy with that.

The table holds a lovely art folder containing some prints of tropical plants.  The eighteenth century was one of discovering new continents and new botany and it is recorded in many poems of the time.
(Elizabeth's field of interest and work)

There is also a collection of old maps showing the known world during the 1700s.

The display jars look good in place on the shelf to the right of the door at the back.  The small fossil is propped between some books.

I still have one shelf to fill on this right wall

Even more space over here on the left

 The shelves to the left of the door are probably finished.  As well as the books there is the larger fossil propped up, some really nice books which are printed and openable on the bottom shelf and a sweet little ancient illustrated book on a nice book-stand .

 Finally here is the library so far.  No idea why I thought the eagle added anything - it doesn't - that will be coming off!

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Back on track

I hope I am back on track and I have started to settle down to getting the mini house sorted now the big one is ticking over nicely.

Crossed fingers I can produce the old Saturday edition of the Dalton house blog each week, again.

I am still putting back rooms and looking in my storage boxes for tiny things to see what dressing I may or may not have for said rooms when they are settled.

Today (14/06/16) I got four rooms back in place.  They are all on the ground level and are the formal part of the house which is mostly used for entertaining visitors.  It has been refurbished and furnished to echo the feeling of the house's original rooms.

The sitting room - the lamps at the back need holes drilling for the wires to go through to the back and I want two paintings for the sofa walls.  the wires will go through two pretend wall sockets and I may add another on a side wall.  I have a lovely Elizabeth Causeret (I think??) green bowl on the right hand table and a clock which won't go on the mantle on the left.  It was intended for in front of the mirror but the mantel is too slim.  Georgian mantels didn't hold loads of 'trinklements' like the Victorian ones went on to do.  The walls won't need radiators as there is underfloor heating on this floor of the house to help keep the feel of the original building.

formal sitting room

The hallway
- I have no idea what I will dress the hall tables with; all I have so far is a plant and a bunch of keys.  Again this is the ground floor and free of radiators but it still needs some wall sockets, an alarm, and a doorbell box.  I also need a painting for the left wall.

The dining room - I would love to find and make another House of Miniatures huntboard (like the one on the left wall) for the right wall rather than the too small demi table  - I do love symmetry.  In the loooooong meanwhile whilst waiting to find one the demi table will have to do.  I actually have far too much stuff to dress the dining room with - lots of silver and glass and china.  So, very soon, I will be getting on with that and wondering what to do with the leftovers.  Yet again two more wall sockets are needed in here.  I also need two very grand paintings for each side wall.

The music room - again I need several paintings of various sizes for this room.  There is a bust of Mozart so the paintings will be part of a celebration of the baroque - as that extended from 1600 to 1750 I should have enough to go at.  The pair of black pots are lovely.  They have lids which actually come off and the bases are paper thin and so pretty - I don't really have a good place to show them.  They may end up on a windowsill.  I need two pretty chairs one for each side wall and I will be making a chaise/bench seat for across the centre front (between the two left hand windows)  The room could seat a dozen people and for a larger gathering it can have the furniture moved around and others chairs brought in.  It is a music room which is used by the family but occasional recitals are also given here.  It doubles up as a card room too and card tables and chairs are brought in for the occasional game of bridge after dinner with friends.  One table is always left in place for the family to use.  Someone has left an unfinished solitaire game on it right now.  On a more prosaic note it needs wall sockets. (but no radiators!) 

I am having a hard time dressing the rooms as they lack suitable surfaces.  I intend to try to make windowsills when I come to work on the fourth wall so a few things can be dotted about there which will help.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

First things first

Before I can crack on with anything else such as lighting or the fourth walls or drapery I need to put the rooms back to rights.

I had six boxes packed with the mini house contents and I assumed they would pretty much be one box per room but discovered that wasn't the case as soon as I began to unpack them.  I had used the space judiciously and  fitted in what I could where.  The first two boxes revealed the mixed contents of three rooms.  Decision made.... I opened each box and just shoved the objects found into the room where it would eventually reside.  They will get sorted one by one.
I so hate muddles

I count my blessings that only one item was damaged in the move and it wasn't such a precious one, other than the time I had put into making it.

quickly sorted with a little wood glue and a good squeeze

After doing a rough sort I concentrated on getting one room right.  For today I only had time to do the one.... the Hive (my workroom in the basement)

The Ikea corner worktable still had all its little things in place and I was able to give it a quick dust over with a soft paintbrush.
It is hard to pick a favourite object

The swivel chair swivels and the scale of the off-cuts of wood is just perfect.  I think they came from a Jane Harrop kit along with the wallpaper and flooring.  I remember making the cardboard boxes and rolling the paper and finding more wood.  

love the extension lead - Delph probably

The IKEA computer trolley is a copy of my real one.  Unfortunately the processor unit is too big for its space (not in real life).  the castors really work and the keyboard tray slides in and out.  I remember the very many coats of paint I had to apply to get a proper IKEA finish on these pieces of furniture.

one of my favourite bits of furniture

Another IKEA copy - my trolley that my Dalton sits on is just like this and has castors so I can get to the back for wiring or just to move it from A to B easily.  Since this basic concept I have added drawers to my real one but this is just fine as a reminder as to where it all began.

The Jane Harrop dolls house has a roof panels than comes off allowing the front to be removed.  You could quite easily complete this with 144th paper, paint and furniture.

Love the working castors

This is a view of the room with everything back in place.  It used to be the housekeepers room in the original house and still has the lockable Georgian linen cupboards at the back of the room - great storage for Elizabeth's mini stuff.

note the radiator and the plug sockets

This room just needs a multi-frame picture on the wall containing family photos which is what I have in my room.

I have gone through many transformations of my work space since this mini room began so my current (new) room doesn't look like this but the trolley and the computer table remain and I have memories of working at that corner table in the spare room and then the summer house through one summer a few years ago.

Apropos of nothing in particular I came across this image which amused me as we still have a sort of 'open-all-hours' hardware in the village we have moved to not too dissimilar to this.  What a cracking project for somebody.

This is not ancient history but post-war (my own childhood)

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Dolls House and Miniatures Fair - York

Dolls House and Miniatures Fair
(Established 2002)
York Race Course
Sunday 3rd June

 I managed to get to the York Show at the eleventh hour.  With current health issues and moving into a new house/garden and wanting to be around to help the family I wasn't able to make a decision until the last minute this year, but we made it.

When we do this show we go to York for two plus days, especially for the Spring Show when the weather is usually nice as York is such a lovely place to visit.  I commend it to anyone who could take a mini break there (or even an extended holiday) just remember to build in the June or November show!  It is on the 18th this year.

We go on Saturday arriving in time for lunch at our very favourite restaurant of all time - Trinacria .  It is not at all posh but has the most wonderful cook/chef.  They do arancinis to die for and I have never eaten anything there I didn't love. 

On Sunday I go to the show and my other half tootles around on his bike seeking out various ice creams (home made Italian, or in Trinacria's case Scicilian) and cakes and coffee - so he is one happy man.  Not sure he takes in much of the fascinating scenery.  By the time he picked me up from the show he was ready again for cake and coffee at the lovely Goddards.  As a miniaturist and somewhat passionate about beautiful houses this is high on my hit list.  A modest (by grand houses standards) Arts and Crafts House once belonging to the Terry (chocolate) family.  If you are doing an Arts and Crafts project this is one to visit for sure.

we had our tea and coffee and cakes on the terrace at Goddards

I am afraid I was very forgetful about taking photos but I do have this one through the car window as we were leaving York for our trip home - you get a glimpse of the Minster.

We also squeezed in a quick flit to Beningbrough Hall but I confess to not doing the house or gardens as I was bone weary from the show.  We have been there before and, again, another trip worth doing if you are in the area.  This time you have 300 years of house to go at and on a grander scale - but still not overawing. (is that a word or did I make it up?)  We stopped in at their Farm Shop and I bought a couple of white foxgloves for a little empty corner behind my Buddha.  In the twenty four hours or so behind a car seat they managed to bend their stems to accommodate it!  I promise you they will be lovely when fully grown and open.

Beningbrough foxgloves

So to the show itself....

It is a bit naughty of the organisers to claim 'over 90 vendors' year after year when the numbers have steadily declined to 72.  Yes, I know there are folks out there who would sell their souls to be surrounded by 72 traders all selling their miniatures.  Part of the loss this year for me was a bit significant in that there were two vendors missing I had particularly gone there for.  Hey Ho.

I did see a lovely display by a family group called Raven Miniatures.  I googled them but without success.  They had created a lovely scene of our 1/12th friends looking at their very own model railway which was actually happily chugging round its lovely little track.  I have an email for them if anyone wants to follow up for any reason -

They had a second display of a BBQ complete with smoke rising from the grill - a light bulb and some oil it seems......

As I mentioned I am not super fit right now so maybe I was under par in general - all I know was I couldn't find anything I really wanted.  This has happened every time at the last few shows that it worries me - am I just not well, jaded as far as the project goes or just come to a natural end with the hobby?

I love coming up with an idea, researching it and doing the actual build of the house.  I enjoy some basic furnishing but every time on the previous four projects the enthusiasm peters out when it comes to endless shopping around for bits and bobs to dress the scenes.  With every build prior to this I had another project waiting in the wings so I felt OK about not quite finishing and passing the story along to someone else.  This time I am determined this is my final build and it will be carried through to the end and kept by me...... BUT..... I confess to being less than enthusiastic when it comes to looking for  things to finish the story.

Here's what I bought....

A bowl of eggs - I am not sure if I got rid of the one I had that looked like this or if I still have it

sort of tells its own story!
 I did like this buy - some things from the Luggage Lady (Sue Popely)  Beautifully in scale and made of leather.

 Talking of scale I also managed to get some liquorice all sorts, also spot on with their size.

 This is where it all goes wrong.....

I have seen these musical instruments many, many, many times on the web and at shows and have always decided I didn't like them enough to buy them and I would wait until I could afford some 'better' ones.  Stopping by a stall and desperate to buy something I spotted these on musical instrument stands.  One was a very nice metal stand which really gave the violin a boost in its appearance and for that reason alone I asked for a violin and a cello and two matching metal stands.  After saying she wasn't sure if she had any the vendor picked out two stand boxes and carefully opened both checking their contents (so she knew they were plastic?!) and voila I now have two instruments I am not fond of on two plastic stands which don't fit either instrument properly and I am over twenty pounds lighter in cash.

I bought my French post-grad student a very nice espresso coffee maker for her apartment.  I am sorry the photo doesn't do it justice.  It is a piece by Delph Miniatures and, as always, nicely done.

Finally I bought a cat only to discover when I got home I have the very same one!  My excuse is that the house has been empty now for about three months and I don't have a clear mental picture of each room any more.  Hey ho, we now have two cats.

So for me not a fabulous trip BUT do not let me put you off, it is a jolly good show for anyone with stamina and optimism - I know of a couple of ladies who had a whale of a day.