Wednesday, 27 February 2013


I love books! I have collected quite a few over the years on the subjects I am interested in; art, architecture, history, dolls' houses etc etc. Some of my library ( if it doesn't sound pretentious to use that word!) are pictured here. Most of my books on Architecture and dolls houses are stored on these shelves down in my work dungeon (AKA the cellar). The bookcases aren't very good, so the shelves sag a bit with the weight of all the books, but they fill the space down here in the cellar very well, so I live with them!  

I get most of my books from second hand bookshops or charity shops. I like to have a good rummage along the shelves, and sometimes find a real gem amidst all the Catherine Cookson paperbacks. 

So, why am I showing you a shelf full of books? Well, partly it's to show you part of my work area you may not have seen before, to satisfy the current vogue for showing off work spaces in Blogland; and partly because I have been thinking of using some of my books to do little book reviews. Nothing profound or enlightening, just whether I like them or not really, and how they might help a fellow miniaturist (Elga did something very similar on her blog recently!).

I'm currently doing quite a bit of research for my next "Period Style' post (and there's a lot to be researched! it's taking ages!). The books I show may be on Architecture, history, furniture or dolls' houses, whatever I have that might be interesting to you.

I'll probably only do one or two books at a time, and will only appear occasionally, not every day I promise!! ;o). If you are able to see them ok, most of my dolls' house books are pictured above. Some have been well used as you may notice!

These are some of the books I have bought over the last couple of weeks. All of which will come in useful for my miniature projects and historical posts.

Sorry there are no miniatures today!! 

Look out for my first book review coming soon!!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Spooky Darling!

Anyone who has read my blog might be aware that I am a not so secret fan of Lego. When I saw this Lego Haunted House on sale last year, I had to have it! After a few quiet words in the ears of Santa's Little Helper, I got to unwrap this on Christmas afternoon!

It has lots of great little details and as it's a house, opens up to reveal its interior and is furnished inside, I though it deserved a place on my dolls' house blog! 

The house is supposed to look run down and derelict, which isn't easy with Lego bricks, but the designer did a great job on this! 

It comes with its own gates too. Inside there's a kitchen, a bedroom, an entrance hall with fireplace and a study, there are also attics in the Mansard roof, complete with old gramophone and of course all the resident ghosts! There's also a zombie chef and Lurch type butler.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

More stuff!!

In Britain there is a phrase we use which goes something like this ' You wait all day for a bus, and then three turn up at once!'. Well, I think that is something like what has happened on my blog, I've don't do a new post for over a month, and then do three in a week!

This post is part two of my list of recent purchases. This one focuses on things used in or around the kitchen, so there won't be any fancy gilding or Chinoiserie!

The first picture is a rather shameless, as there is only one thing in it which is new, and you would never guess unless I told you (which I will soon!), I just happened to think this shot was a rather good one of my Georgian House kitchen; which rarely gets seen. I love kitchens in dolls houses, they are always rather special, but they take AGES to fill up! Not helped by the fact that the kitchen/servants hall is the largest room in the whole house! You can see all the empty shelves still on the dresser, and the table looks full, but that is more of an optical illusion than anything.

As I mentioned in my last post, Tony Hooper was exhibiting in London for the last time in January (though the website is still open for a while) he was selling all his items at half price. I only discovered this when I was about to leave, as there were great crowds around his stall when I arrived, and I really don't do crowds! So much of his stock had gone, as had most of my ready money (Tony's stall was one away from John Hodgson's, which explains my lack of crinkle!) however, I bravely stood my ground and picked up a few little things to go inside my kitchen (and a few other things for a secret future project). The only new thing in the picture above, which was from Tony Hooper is the large pewter dish behind the marrows and hour glass on the dresser. I actually bought two of these dishes, the other is under the kitchen table.

And just so that you get a more or less complete picture of the kitchen here is a photo of the opposite wall.

Ah! but wait, there is another new purchase lurking in the above image too, can you see it? It's another miniature from Tony Hooper...

Well, yes it's the kettle, which is an unusual oval shape, and I thought looked suitable Georgian (though it may not be!) The 'brass' kettle was purchased from Kristin Baybars' shop; I have no idea of its maker, but it is nicely detailed. It lives on the range in the pub, and keen eyed bloggers might have noticed it before on previous pictures.

Here is my miniature version or Where's Wally. Can you spot the new things in this room? Ok, here's a clue, they are on the tray next to the plates! Two divine little spoons! This picture by the way, is the servants' hall. The servants' hall contain old fashioned furniture that once had pride of place in the old manor house that was demolished to make way for the new house! Not nearly elegant enough for an 18th century gentleman's home, so consigned to the servants quarters! ;o)

Another new purchase in the Georgian kitchen is this marble slab with wet fish. Made by Et Cetera. The fish are beautifully painted and have very fine detail, I think they are lovely!

And here are some food items which are in the kitchen at The Swan. The toast rack has been mentioned before by some of you. It was again a miniature made by Et Cetera. The frying pan with full English breakfast on the go, was a nice find at Kristin Baybars' shop; I think they should have cooked the bacon a little earlier as it still looks a little raw, and the egg is almost done! Ah! I'm getting hungry now, and I don't even eat red meat!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Something Old, Something New

When I had almost completed my Georgian House I started to buy things to go inside it. From the beginning I made the decision to buy the best pieces I could afford, and where money wouldn't stretch, make kit furniture and possibly make a few pieces myself.

One of the first pieces in the house, the sideboard in the hall, was made from a kit. I hadn't made a kit before, and was fairly pleased with it for a while. But I used a stain that wasn't appropriate, small patches of bare wood were left in places where the stain didn't take because of the dried glue. and the drawers didn't pull out very well or got stuck completely. Whenever I looked at that piece of furniture it reminded me of how I had leapt into a huge project with no previous woodworking skills or miniature experience. It always looked ok, but I always wanted something a bit better!

In January I went to a new dolls' house exhibition in London, held at the Tower Hotel in the east of the city, near (yes, you've guessed it) The Tower of London and Tower Bridge. The show was set up by the same people who organise the Kensington Dolls' House Festival, and was fairly good, though not quite as good as I was expecting. I bought a few things at the show, and will show you some of them further down this post, but first I wanted to show you what I have finally bought to replace the sideboard in the hall.

Is it too ostentatious? I think it works quite well.  If you haven't guessed already it's made by John Hodgson. I'm not sure if you can see it, but in the centre of the base is a pineapple (I had to smile when I saw that Fi, especially after all those wonderful photos you sent!). it is made from gilded pewter with a faux marble top, hand painted by John, and signed underneath by him. Perhaps it would look more at home in a Mulvany & Rogers house than sitting next to my wonky (and rather dusty!) stairs?  What do you all think?

I also purchased this Chippendale style Chinoiserie chair for the bedroom. It is made by Masters' Miniatures, and the yellow silk upholstery was perfect for the bedroom. As i mentioned in a post months ago, I saw a bedroom with Chinoiserie decoration at Blickling Hall in Norfolk whilst on holiday last year, and wanted to get a few pieces in the Chinoiserie style for my miniature bedroom, so was thrilled when I found this chair!

Keen eyes might have noticed the scent bottle on the dressing table (again I'm thinking of Fi, who notices EVERYTHING!). Another thing I picked up in London. Here's a closer shot of it on the dressing table.


You can just about see it reflected in the mirror! The silverware on the dressing table was all from Simply Silver, who I believe have now retired. Quite a few makers seem to be giving up the shows lately. Tony Knott seems to have retired, and both Et Cetera and Tony Hooper gave their last shows in London last month. It's all rather a shame, but I hope they are all relaxed and happy! 

Back in November I again went down to London. That time I visited Kristin Baybars' shop in Gospel Oak again. I posted about my last trip ages ago, when I ended up in Stratford by mistake! this time I arrived without issue, and picked up some nice little bits and pieces. Most of what I bought was for the Christmas project in The Swan (it's also where I got the warming pan mentioned in my last post!), but I did manage to find this rather lovely little bowl.


It was made by Muriel Hopwood (I know this because it is signed by her) and is a rare find as she has almost stopped making miniatures, though I am lucky to have some of her recent pieces picked up from an online miniatures shop. This delicate little bowl also fits the chinese theme I want to give a hint of in the bedroom. When I find the right sort of wash stand (or make one!) this will probably sit on it, as Georgians didn't really have matching ewer and basin, and the basin was usually fairly small in comparison to Victorian ones.

Going back to Kristin's shop was fun. It's such a great space for rummaging! When you first arrive you think you'll never find a thing as it looks so jam packed and jumbled up. But actually, things are stored in drawers and cabinets in a fairly logical order, one for plates and cups, another for pans, another for food, another for cleaning products etc etc, there are tiny drawers filled with even greater treasures. The best thing is that Kristin doesn't get rid of things, if something doesn't sell, it remains on sale until it does, so you might well find little things from makers who have long since retired, like my Muriel Hopwood bowl. 

I took some photos of the shop to give you some idea of how it looks inside. If you do get to go there (it doesn't look much from the outside, but don't be afraid to ring the bell!) ask to see the Dog House, which is a charming house occupied by dozens and dozens of dogs in each room, and is great fun! There is so much to look at you'll need a good couple of hours; they might even make you a cup of tea!

The back room with its drawers and cabinets filled to the brim with tiny treasures!
Some of the amazing miniatures available in the shop. I love that skeleton playing xylophone on the other one!

I will do another post very soon on some other little purchases, which have been housed mostly in the kitchen!


Sunday, 3 February 2013

Order Restored


Apologies again for taking so long to make a new post! I thought it was high time I did something, so here are some new photos of The Swan. After the Christmas revelries went on in the pub for much longer than first planned, it is nice to have cleared away the seasonal nick-nacks and restored some sort of normality to the pub again.

In the picture above, you can see the kitchen is for another busy day of cooking and cleaning up. I have added a dish rack to the wall, which is an old McQueenie Miniatures kit originally bought to go into the big Georgian House kitchen, but was actually too big to fit in the place I wanted it, so had been left in mini limbo for ages, before finding its way into the pub kitchen.

This is another shot of the kitchen, I wanted to try and show as much of the kitchen as possible in this photo. I am planning to make a small pair of curtains or a pelmet of red gingham to put up at the window above the kitchen sink because it will make the kitchen feel a little more homely; it looks a bit cold at that end of the room at the moment.

The sitting room upstairs is starting to look more how I originally intended it to look. The furniture I have in the room now, gives a comfortable, slightly old fashioned feeling that I was looking for. There's still a way to go with all the rooms in the pub, but I feel happier with this room now than I have in the past. The plant on the table was a little Christmas gift from David. The bird cage next to the sofa was another mini limbo item, which originally came with the mirror above the fireplace; a rare purchase by me from ebay!

And here's a shot of the pub itself. almost the same as it was before Christmas. The bar stools are new, and as yet untreated, another little stocking filler. I'm not sure if I've mentioned the warming pan hanging on the wall by the fire. These were once filled with hot coals or water (I'm not entirely sure which, but maybe both) and inserted under the bedclothes to warm the bed; an early hot water bottle! By the 20th century these were more likely to be used as ornaments, and its the sort of 'Ye Olde Worlde' thing you'd have probably found in country pubs, along with old horse brasses, like the ones hanging on the bar.

The warming pan is one of several items I have purchase over recent months. I plan to do a post on some of the other recent purchases in a few days.

Until then, take care! xxxxx