Thursday, 30 April 2009

Finished Foxgloves....

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Well.....what a surpise I had

Browsing though some blogs the other day I came across Susan's Mini Homes

Susan was asking about a house she had purchased from a thrift store called the Stockbroker Tudor dollhouse and was asking if anyone knew of this house and it's history.

Well, you can imagine the shock I had when I saw the photo and realized that this was the house I grew up in back in Birmingham,England.

After, getting over my initial shock I started to read the description and look at the interior photos.

Not only was the exterior identical but also the interior. The layout, the alcoves in the living room, the tiny kitchen and third bedroom and even the coal cellar under the stairs.

I'll admit it was a rather spooky experience....I've not thought of this house in years and all of a sudden there was.... an exact 12th scale replica of it right in front of my eyes.

Mick and I literally grew up around the corner from each other so he is familiar with the house as well. When I showed him he was amazed. I even called my Mom in England to tell her to go look at Susan's blog.

I have permission from Susan to repost her photos here and went onto google street view to get pictures of my house. Unfortunately I have none of the interior of my house but trust me when I say it was identical to this dollhouse.

My old house has been renovated a lot since I lived there. They have added a porch, new windows and an extension so I scooted down the street to find a photo of the same style house that had been altered less.

This is the front of Susan's dollhouse.

This is the real house.

How strange is that huh !

My 'real' house had the more squared bay windows and the curved brick on the porch entryway but as I mentioned, my house has changed too much to see it as it was then.

The 6 small windows at the top of the bays opened and were originally stained glass.

Susan mentions how tiny the third bedroom was...and it was indeed...this was my bedroom. As the eldest I got my own room and my brothers had to share the larger back bedroom. The box room, as it was known, was probably little more than 8ft squared .

Susan also mentioned a small cupboard under the stairs, with no access from inside the house. This 'cubbyhole' as we called it, with it's outside door was where the coal was kept.

Once we moved onto gas fires, many people, including my parents, added an interior door to this cupboard as well. It was where we kept the vacuum, coats etc. It was also a great place for sneaking in and out place as we still had the outside door :-) You can see it was a decent size.

The living room would have originally been 2 rooms separated by a solid wall. Each room having it's own fireplace and alcoves.

It was common for people to knock these 2 rooms though into one larger room as is shown here.

there would have been a door at the front right of the picture that led into the hallway and opened just in front of the kitchen.

You can see the bookcase in the center alcove. When this was still 2 rooms the alcove would have been half this size and half was in each room. Once knocked through it was common for people to build bookshelves into it. Even down to the 1970's style sliding bottom doors and teak wood color.

The small inset porch had small alcove either side...this would be where the milkman left the milk, eggs and butter and the pop man left the pop.

Many people have now either added modern porches or added doors.

The step was made from red brick just like this is and one of the earliest chores I remember having was polishing this step with something similar to shoe polish...obviously some kind of red wax

This is the back of the house.

The small window on the top right was my bedroom.

My brothers room was the larger upstairs window.

e bathroom was the other small room at the front of the house.

The lower right is the kitchen and the lower left was the dining room. This had windows and a central opening French door.

So.... how about that then. How would you feel if you saw a dollhouse that was the replica of your childhood home ? I have to confess it was rather a strange feeling.

If anyone knows anything about this house please let us know. I am convinced that, although it was found in a thrift store in Canada, it came from England originally. Who knows, perhaps someone had a woodworker for a Grandad like I did and he built this for one if his grandchildren. Wouldn't it be fascinating to find out the history and where it came from.

Susan, you are one very lucky lady, I would give anything to have this house but I know it is unlikely I'll ever find one. If you would like to see more homes of this style, go to Google maps, look up Jayshaw Avenue, Great Barr, Birmingham B43 and go to street view. You can meander up and down the street and see more.

Thanks so much for sharing Susan and for kindly allowing me to post about it over here.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

The part I love most

...about making miniatures is the joy they bring to someone else. It gives me the greatest satisfaction, to not only know they have gone to a good home and will be loved, but also to see them in their new home.

You may remember a short while ago I posted this photo of a geranium and ivy hanging basket I made...

Well, as soon as I posted the pic I had a bunch of emails from people wanting to buy it from me. I was overwhelmed and decided the fairest way to do this was to offer it to the very first person, which was Kim from FlowersAndArt.

So now, Kim is the proud owner of this little basket.

Please take a minute to go and look at her blog here and see it in her beautiful flower shop. It looks so much better there than sitting on my shelf without a proper home.

Thank you Kim, I hope you enjoy it for many years.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

In the beginning....

Inspired by Cary, who recently posted some photos of his first venture into miniatures, I thought I'd do the same....don't laugh too hard you hear !

This was my very first attempt. And, although rather crude, I do actually still really like it.

It was fashioned after the bottom of my Nans garden...where the fairies lived don't you know. It must have been true because, even though I never saw one, she'd tell me the stories of what they'd been up to every night :-)

I went kinda mushroom making crazy after this and a lot of my early work had a mushroom or two tucked away somewhere. I even did some with faces Nikki !

I should dig them out...I have a box of them doubt I'll be horrified at how bad they are lol.

When I first started I used artificial flowers. I'd buy big bunches from the craft store and would only be able to use the tiniest parts of them. I actually sold a lot on that I look back I cringe when I think that someone has these primitive arrangements but people bought them...I sold everything I made.

Here are some of the very first things I made and sold.

This little house was made for an competition run by a miniatures group I used to belong to....I think the theme was acorns...hence the roof. It was sold on ebay to a lady I know in Scotland. I actually wish I'd kept this. It was only about 3" tall and I had loads of fun making it.

Acorn Cottage

This flower display was my very first attempt at making my own flowers from paper. It was a reproduction of a wedding flower display made for the same lady in Scotland, who was recreating her daughters wedding at Gretna Green in miniature.

I was unable to buy the flowers the same so figured I'd have to make them myself. The real display is in the top left (not that you couldn't tell ) and that was about the size of the photo I had to work from so a lot of it was guess work.

I should perhaps make another like was quite fun.

So, as I mentioned in my last can see just how far I have come in my flower making. Back in the beginning I had no idea I'd end up making foxgloves, geraniums or Bird of Paradise.....which is a rather exciting day perhaps I'll look at what I am doing now and think how basic it was....who knows where I'll eventually end up.....I certainly don't :-)

Hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Foxgloves Part Deux !

So, here we are once more. My second attempt at a full foxglove, with new style leaves.

They won't all be identical to this as I shall make each one slightly different as they would be in real life.

Some will have more buds, others less. This has a few caterpillar chewed leaves and one almost dead one....some may have this, others may not.

Before I posted a photo of these I wanted to get the go ahead from Nikki and make sure she liked them first. She did so here we are :-)

The reason I checked with Nikki first is that I am not happy with them. I know a lot of people think I am often too picky so thought I'd share my reasons.

  • I wish they looked less like they were made of paper.
  • I was unable to put the very bottom buds, the ones with the tiny stamen, on a stem. They are so tiny and even using the thinnest of my wire adding a stem to the main stem looked a I had to attach them straight on there.
  • I couldn't split the stamen at the ends....although I managed to split my fingers many times :-)
  • The leaves, although better than my first effort, are still not realistic enough for me. Foxglove leaves have such intricate veining and I was unable to reproduce it in this size.

But, this is the best I am able to this point anyhow. Perhaps one day when I have more experience I'll make more.

I guess I can take consolation in the fact that, as usual, they look better in real life than in the photos.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Foxgloves bottom

Good morning...hope you all had a wonderful Easter. At times like this I wish I were back in England for my 4 day is a bank holiday over there and we get Friday and Monday off...and some people even the Tuesday too :-)

Still working on the foxgloves. I have almost all the flowers made and ready to be attached now. Sometimes I need a break from the repetitiveness so I have also started on the bottom buds that you can see in these photos of REAL life foxgloves.


You can see in the top photo how the stamen sticks out and separates into 2 at the very end. Hmmm......can't seem to manage that with the cotton thread that I am using. Still, it is so small I don't think you'd even see the split.

I am also still working on the leaves... I just can't seem to get those how I want them...but I will. I think I've tried every kind of paper known to man...or at least known to me and nothing gives me the right effect. I will persevere.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Happy Easter

To all who celebrate Easter,
may you and your family have a peaceful & enjoyable time.

The photograph shown is a bowl of daffodils I made sometime last year.

These were my first real attempt at making daffs but I was pretty pleased with the way they turned out.

I had planned on doing an Easter giveaway with these as a prize but left it kind of late and with so many people going away it doesn't seem fair to do it this weekend.

If anyone is interested in me doing it after Easter just let me know.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Oh I've got a loverly bunch of coconuts....

There they are a-standin' in a row.
Big ones, small ones, some as big as yer 'ead!

OK....maybe I don't but 'I've got a lovely bunch of foxglove parts' just doesn't sound right....besides.... I've had this song in my head all morning so thought I'd pass it on - like to do my bit for the community and all that :-)

I spent all of yesterday making parts....uggh ! I actually hate to work like that but sometimes it just has to be done.

So now I have a slew of flowers, leaves and prepared bits of wire. I am not quite ready to start assembling yet.

These cone shaped things will become the flowers.
These still need to be checked over for any bits of glue, have another coat of paint, be bashed up some, dotted and spotted in the centers, ends opened up and bashed some more.

The wires have all been cut to length, the ends curled over and then dipped in ZapAGap. This will make sure that the flowers won't fall off the wires.

And here is where I am up to so far on the main stems....still a ways to go yet but once all the bits are finished it will be quicker. The flowers stick out at funny angles because I haven't bent them down yet. I wait until the glue is totally dry before changing their shape.

Sorry the pics are so poor...I dunno what has happened to the sunshine. I was out walking at 6am and it was gorgeous but it is clouded over now :-(

Ignore the other bits of flowers you can see...they are rejects or bits I am playing with.

And there you have it.....doesn't actually look like much given it took so long :-(

Monday, 6 April 2009

Geraniums and Ivy

Good morning all,

I have been busy, busy so no time to post anything on here.

Still working on the foxgloves...I am down to the bottom flowers now Nikki so they are getting there :-)

While I was waiting for paint to dry over the weekend I threw together this geranium and ivy hanging basket...I can say threw together as all the leaves and blossoms were leftover from another one so were already cut and painted...I just had to glue them all together.

I love the way this variegated ivy looks but it is so fiddly to make, the main leaves are bad enough to paint but the end ones, those real tiny ones, almost send me blind. I can barely see them let alone paint them.

Personally, I am not crazy on this one. There is nothing wrong with it...I just don't like it much... but it is good enough to put up for sale....someone might like it.

I really want to make a huge ivy vine to cover the one wall of my house but the thought of all that work...ugh.

The geraniums, on the other hand, are dead easy to make. I quite like them in miniature but can't stand the smell of them in real life. I do have them in my garden, but only because the black Phoebe bird loves the bugs on them. They are far enough away that I can't smell them. the smell reminds me of cat pee...yuk.

Well that's it from me....back to the foxgloves !

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

I Love Your Art Award

Another Award, this time from Mary at Sunny Sunflower Minis.

Thank you Mary, glad you enjoy reading my blog and 'love my art'

Now 7 likes or loves, aside from family...I have deja vu now so I'll try and think of a different 7.

1. Roadtrips - Anywhere and for any length of time on the bike or in the car.

2. Cats - one day when we grow up and settle down somewhere I'll have lots of them. Not fair to do it till we grow up and quit moving about.

3.Blogging - considering I was so hesitant to the idea I have come to enjoy it and have met so many new friends here.

4. Chocolate - but only the English kind which I don't get much of nowadays :-(

5. Walking - I walk a lot. Not far but frequently. Every time my eyes start to hurt from flower making I do a quick whizz around the block which clears my head.

6. Birds - the feathered kind. We have all the gear and the books and often go birdwatching.

7. My journals - well really they are scraps of paper but I have them going back years. Very interesting to read what I was thinking at each point in my life. Especially the ones when i decided to quit my job, sell everything and move. I was planning to move to Africa but came here in the end. Looking back I am amazed i didn't have a breakdown I was so confused with my life.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Now to pass it on....I award this to...drum roll please...I shall try and give it to people who have not had this already.

Kim from Flowers And Art

Kat from MiniKats Little Thoughts

Lori from Oh Mini Of Mine

from Mags-nificent Miniatures

Sasha of Sasha's Mini World

Cary of Musings Of A Miniature Mind

And last but not least...

Grace of Treefeathers

Barking Mad

....that's me right now. I appear to have become a little obsessed by trees :-).

The making of the armature is so easy and I can do it whilst doing something else...i.e. last night watching American Idol and that new Ozzy show (which was chronic BTW but I do have a soft spot for Ozzy)

The problem is, I will end up with all of these tree armatures then have to put leaves on them all. Unless they are dead trees of course :-)

So here is the latest....even though this didn't start as a bonsai it has become much bigger than I is so easy to get carried away and create a monster. Too small to be a whomping willow but I am getting there :- ) Mick's company is closing down his branch so he will be bringing me a boat load of wire ...amongst other goodies, home soon.

I am still working on the foxgloves during the day but I can't do them in the evenings with all the distractions.

I used to be so envious of those miniaturists who could sit and create while watching a movie or listening to music...I just can't do plants like that as I lose my concentration.

Mick works with loud music...when he was at home last week he was writing a complex electronic test procedure using excel.....and had his music on at full blast...not soft or classical music either.....bands like Marillion, Genesis and Yes...or maybe it was Vangellis...I get those mixed up. It totally threw my work out of sync...I don't know how he does it.

But tree wrapping...yay....I can do that and concentrate on something else....I forsee a lot of trees in my future.

So during the days I will continue with my foxgloves, and in the evenings make trees :-)

As for the more piccies yet. They all have the top buds on now so I need to start making the open flowers Will post piccies when they look different from last time.

Happy April 1st ya don't get fooled !.