Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Story of a Neglected Blog...

I started this blog on 8 January 2011. I was full of enthusiasm and believed the creation of the blog would keep me motivated. One year later on 1 January 2012 I had only made a few entries and I made a New Year's Resolution to try to make a blog entry once every fortnight and to make more time for miniatures. My last post was on 11 February 2011, 7 months ago. Arrgghh!! I so want to do this. Life just seems to get in the way - or perhaps I let it get in the way. Anyway, here I go again.

Today I have moved the spare bed out of the room I use as my craft room to make some space to set out my dolls houses and have room for a work desk. It is great to have a bit more space but unfortunately if someone comes to stay we will have to put them on a hammock in the rafters or kick our daughter out of her bed onto the couch. I have taken a short break from trying to sort out my craft room to do this blog.

Last weekend was the first time I sat down and actually made something miniature in a long long time. I made the plant containers and plants in the pictures below.

I shouldn't really say I made the plant containers. They were two little brass pots that I picked up cheap at the local antique shop. I sealed them, painted them with gesso, then sprayed them with a layer of textured gravel grey paint that is used for miniature railways. Finally I gave them a wash of watered down grey paint to get the concrete/stone effect. I am quite pleased with the way they came out. I then made the plants with green papered wire, flower soft and cut up leaves from a silk flower.

Well, I've done it, I've made an entry. Now to make it a habit.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Chinese Miniatures

Took my daughter into town today so she could spend some of her money on some Sylvanian miniatures. While we were out I couldn't resist popping into the local second hand/antique shop. I just had to have these old miniature chinese figurines and miniature bridge. They are between 2cm and 3cm high. The two characters in the front should have fishing poles. They will work well in The Laurels which will be decorated in late Victorian.

I also found four of the ceramic wall paintings similar to the one in my earlier post which work well in old houses so they are now stored away waiting for me to get my dollshouse wallpapered.

Tomorrow morning my husband and daughter will be going to golf. My 9 year old daughter is playing in her first golf tournament (6 holes). I am hoping to take the opportunity to make some miniatures as well as to start stitching a miniature arts and crafts movement floor rug.

Monday, February 6, 2012


My old house has prompted some discussion on the Dolls Houses Past and Present website. The general feeling is that it is probably not an actual G & J Lines dolls house, but a copy of one made around the same period, being the early 1900s. Imagine a little girl falling in love with a picture of a G & J Lines dollshouse and her father/grandfather making her a dollshouse very similar. I bought it thinking it was a home made house and hadn't even heard of G & J Lines at the time. I like the thought of the house being made with love for some little girl. Whether that is the case or not I will probably never know, but I will run with that thought for now. In a way it gives me a little more artistic licence with the decorating and I will probably install lights.

In any event I have decided that the old house will be my project for now. While I love the Arts and Crafts Movement and want to make pieces from that period, I don't have a house yet to put any pieces in. I did consider using the old house for my Arts and Crafts Movement house, but the old house deserves to retain its quirky oversized fire places, which aren't suitable for the Arts and Crafts Movement.

My old house is named "The Laurels" and has the date "1895" on the front. I am going to use that as my starting point. I have therefore today spent some time on the internet looking at old wallpapers, articles about events that happened in 1895 etc. I still haven't formulated an exact idea of what I want to do with the house but I think it will have a lounge, kitchen, bedroom and library and the small rooms will probably be an entranceway and a bathroom. I just need to think about who is living there and create their story.

I did come across an interesting old book from 1895 called Lee's Priceless Recipes. Written in 1895 the cover reads 3000 Secrets - For the Home, Farm Laboratory, Workshop, and Every Department of Human Endeavour. I made a little mock up of the book to go in The Laurels. I deliberately made the cover a bit grimy like it had been well fingered, but unfortunately putting it on the scanner has flattened the spine and the tatty corners I had given it. I didn't think I would be able to photograph it very well as it is only 2cm long. I was hoping to be able to print the image of the cover directly on to old book cloth but it didn't work. I will have to get a better quality printer at some stage.

Another thing on my wishlist!


I have now been advised that the dog in the previous post is Toby, Punch's dog from the old Punch and Judy Puppet shows.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Some of my Old Treasures

Hopefully tomorrow I can load a post of something I have made. However, today I thought I would show you some of my old treasures.

Below is a photo of some old dolls and a dog. They are all very old. The dog is a real character. I don't know if he may have been a character from a story book or from advertising. Hopefully with some research I might be able to find out something about him. The very delicate lightweight baby on the table is unmarked. The tiny doll on the floor has "Made in England" on its back. The doll to the right is marked "Roddy Made in New Zealand".

The two photos below are some miniatures I have just purchased by on-line auction for NZ$8.50. A real bargain. There was also a cute green plastic typewriter pencil sharpener that will look great on a dolls house desk with a new paint job. In the first photo the fan and the tea urn are unmarked but are really nice pieces. I haven't been able to find anything similar on-line yet. The globe is by Chad Valley. I have located a similar thermometer on-line to the one here on an American antique site. They describe it as an Antique German Dolls House Miniature Gilt Metal Art Nouveau Thermometer (that's a mouthful)! They are advertising their thermometer for sale for US$250.00. I just thought it was a lovely piece and wanted it for the 1920s house I am doing. The photo below is of a Tootsie Toy bed, chair and rocking chair. They are 1/24th scale and so cute. I think I would like to collect some more Tootsie Toy items to furnish a 1/24th scale house in the future.

This next photo is of an old piano with the words "Protex Polka" on the music sheet. The painting is made of some type of china or porcelain.

The stove below is also a recent purchase on TradeMe. It is a little worse for wear with a dent on the right hand side. The cook must have attacked the stove with the fryping pan when she burnt the sausages perhaps! I have seen a few of these on the Dolls Houses Past and Present site so they are not rare, but will look great in a vintage house.

My old dollshouse and the above items have now been posted onto the Dolls House Past and Present website and hopefully I will start finding out a bit about them.

I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of the old treasures I've accumulated so far.

Monday, January 30, 2012


I was just looking for information on old wallpapers on the web trying to date a wallpaper in my old dolls house and I stumbled across the following YouTube video from a Kit Laybourne at Oxygen Media (with the Cooper-Hewett National Design Museum) called 'Wallpaper That Moves'. It basically covers 300 years of wallpaper in 3 minutes. Very clever and a good quick reference.
Unfortunately it didn't help me identify the wallpaper in my dolls house. I'm still looking!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Lamp Table

I had to cover my daughter's school books today before she starts back at school tomorrow. I have to say it is not one of my favourite jobs. I usually end up with as much plastic cover screwed up in piles on the floor as I have covering the books. When I was finished I was determined to get into my craft room but didn't feel like doing anything too precise.

I made this table. It is scratch built with no measurements taken or anything and only a rough sand and no varnish - certainly not the precise accuracy miniatures usually require, but I had fun and I think it worked out fairly well in the circumstances.

I think the design would probably look good with a plant or lamp on it, perhaps one each side of a large Arts & Crafts Movement settee.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

First Follower

I'm so excited. I have the first 'follower' of my blog. Thanks Brae of 'Otterine'. I will really have to make an effort with my miniatures and blogging now. If you want a dose of inspiration check out I would have to say it is my favourite blog.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Reporting In

Well, it is now 9.00pm NZ time on Sunday night. What did I do today in between housework?
I made up a book kit from They have some lovely items. Today I made up "Schubert's Illustrated Animal Kingdom" which was illustrated during the late 19th century. It even has fold out pages, a dust jacket and a book sleeve. I get a Classic Book of the Month kit sent out to me each month. I won't try to post a photo of the book as it won't do it justice. Check it out on their site.
Also, I made a fabric covered sewing box as shown below, some of the contents of which are also from a kit from the Paper Minis website. I'm quite pleased with the way the box turned out. I think it looks quite good on the seat I made for my sister's gallery. I might have to make myself one and find a little lady to sit and sew on it.

I also managed to pick myself up a new 'old' dollshouse. It is an old tin Triang No.50 (one of the earlier ones) from about the 1950s. It has certainly seen better days but it will be a good challenge to try and restore it. Hopefully I will receive it during the week and will post some photos. I really must stop looking at the on-line auctions.
Anyway, I think I'll retire from my craft room for the day and will go and flick through some dolls house magazines.

I've decided today is a 'Miniatures Day'

Hi there. I've decided today is a 'Miniatures Day'. I haven't told my husband and daughter yet though who are currently out playing golf (or at least my daughter is at her junior golf lessons)! In the meantime I am having a very late breakfast in front of the computer - I love Sundays! (It is currently 10.20am on Sunday in NZ).
My goals for today: Today my goals are to turn some more of my sister's art into canvases for her mini art gallery, trial my new dremel tool that my lovely husband bought me for Christmas, make up a couple of book kits, and anything else mini that takes my fancy - oh and probably look at a few blogs. I'm addicted to blogs. Isn't it great how people share their ideas and skills via their blogs. While I may not have that much to offer yet, I know my blog has been read in New Zealand, the UK, the US, Russia, Germany and Latvia. What a world we live in.
The Laurels: In flicking through an old Dolls House & Miniature Scene magazine the other day I came across a house that had very similar details to my recent purchase "The Laurels". It was an old G & J Lines house from the early 1900s. Subsequently I have found a great website that has members that are keen collectors and will help you date your old dollshouses and there are some great galleries of old dolls houses and furniture on the site. Well worth a look. I am in the process of having pictures of The Laurels uploaded on the site. I will let you know what I find out.
Anyway my breakfast has been eaten and I've nearly finished my coffee so I'd better get on to my minis or the day will disappear.
Will report in later.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Did I Really Do That?

What is 'That' you ask? Bid on an on-line auction for a pre-loved dolls house. Not only did I bid, I also passed the limit I had set myself. I am now the proud owner of 'The Laurels'.

It so looks like something my grandfather would have built for me had he been alive when I was into dollshouse miniatures. I just had to have it - to give it a bit of TLC and be its guardian for the next period of it's history! Through email correspondence with the seller I know it was purchased secondhand about 10 years ago from an auction house in Wellingborough, England. She wonders whether the builder might have built it based on a grand old building called the East Carlton Hall, although it has 'The Laurels 1895' written on the front. I may never find out but I'll see what I can uncover.

As far as my previous post on the Arts and Craft Movement, I have really enjoyed doing some research. I found a great book at the Library called "The Arts and Crafts Movement in New Zealand 1970-1940 by Ann Calhoun and of course the internet is a great source of information. I've discovered there is a bit of an overlap with the Pre-Raphaelites, Arts & Crafts Movement and Art Nouveau periods and sometimes it is hard to distinguish which period certain items come from.

Being school holidays I have spent a bit of time doing crafts with my daughter. Even though it is January now we have mainly been making Christmas items. I have a slight reluctance to let go of Christmas. While I don't always like the hussle and bustle of Christmas I love all things Christmassy.

Well, must go. I have to work out where I am going to fit another dollshouse!

Thursday, January 5, 2012


I've been having a real think today about the direction I wish to head with dollshouse miniatures rather than having no particular focus or direction. I am pleased to say I have made a decision. I have long had a love of things relating to the Arts and Craft Movement, particularly with regard to Morris, Rosetti and Edward Burne-Jones. I've decided to do some research and try to create some miniatures in line with this period. I would also like to look into how this movement influenced New Zealand furnishings and design. I've also decided to have a go at miniature wood inlay when I can get hold of some wood veneers. I'm by no means an expert woodworker so this will be a real challenge, but every craftsman started somewhere. I'm just heading to bed now with my husband's i-pad to do some research. Watch this space!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

It's a New Year

Happy New Year everyone. Hope you had a lovely Christmas with family and friends and got lots of nice pressies. My lovely husband bought me a Dremel so I will be having lots of fun experimenting while learning how to use the tool and learning what it's capabilities are. I have made a new year's resolution - to try to enter a blog once a fortnight and to make a real effort to make time for miniatures. Will keep you posted - hopefully at least once a fortnight!