Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A roast by Kiva, whitewood furniture and topiaries

Just wanted to show you a couple of things I got in the mail yesterday.  First is this amazing roast beef by Kiva Atkinson, one of the greatest polymer clay miniature food artists in the world.

I've long wanted a piece by Kiva, and my number one wish was for a beef roast.  In person it's even more eerily perfect than in photos.  Another thing I adore about this piece is that it would work in a miniature scene in almost any period.  Thank you so much, Kiva -- I'll treasure it!  Kiva's blog is Kiva's Miniatures and you can find her work for sale in her eBay shop, user name jklr4.

I've gone back and forth on what sort of display piece to use in the Blue and White Room in the William and Mary House, and finally I decided to buy this Queen Anne dresser from Minimum World in the UK.

It's unfinished (if you're searching for it on UK sites, it's called whitewood) furniture, and I'll stain it and maybe do a little surface decoration of some sort.  I'll certainly replace the handles.  I love the details on this piece:  the legs are quite elegant, the scalloping at the top and especially the bottom is lovely, and the little finials at the bottom are an unexpectedly charming touch.  I've ordered lots of whitewood pieces from Minimum World and they arrive promptly, well-packaged, and MW's shipping costs to North America are very reasonable. 

Finally, here's one of the projects the Knitwits and I made last Thursday to be part of our upcoming giveaway:  topiary trees!  I'm so happy with how these have turned out :)  More soon!

Monday, September 27, 2010

A belated welcome to all our new followers!

I am so far behind, my dears, in welcoming all the wonderful people who are reading our blog.We're at 255 followers, and I haven't even done my 200th giveaway yet!  Well, we've got some very special things that we're making for you right now, and will post about them soon :)

The kids and I really appreciate your interest, comments and kindness to us.

Welcome to:

Janny Warmaar from the Netherlands works in an elegant shabby style and blogs at Art of Mini.

Kim who blogs at My Fairytale Cottage.

Marleen is a Dutch blogger who blogs at Marleen's Miniaturen.

Esther Diaz is a Spanish blogger who blogs at Mi mundo de miniatura.

KCDesigns is from Germany and blogs at Meine Miniaturen in 1:144.

Francesca (Chipironini) is a doll and miniature maker from Spain who blogs at Petitissim.

Eu... is a Portuguese blogger who blogs at Tenho um blog, e depois?

Catherine blogs in French at Le monde créatif de Catherine.

And also to Natalia, Livia, AnythingMiniature, HazelC, Bob for whom I couldn't find a website.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

John Ottewill table


We're back from Moncton, and David's procedure went swimmingly. He's so relieved, now that it's over, that he's practically skipping around the house!  Happiness abounds ...

Here's a couple of photos of the John Ottewill William and Mary table David gave me for my birthday. 

Isn't it gorgeous?  The compass rose marquetry on the top is perfect, and I love the curved stretchers and the tiny drawer.  It's the most exquisite piece in the house!

And here's a shot I took tonight through the parlour door:

That's Sir Isaac Newton to the right of the chimney breast :) 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Birthday presents, lights and paintings

Oh dear, I've been such a bad blogger!

We had a great trip to Toronto, and when we got back there was such a lot to do, and I just didn't get around to updating the site.

And I sat down to take some photos this afternoon, and my camera batteries ran out after two photos!  So I don't have much to show, I'm afraid, of the work I've been doing on the WAMH.

Here's the hallway.  I bought quite a few picture frames while I was in Toronto, and managed to get a few things framed up for the house.  I also bought a wall sconce, which you can see next to the closet door on the staircase -- it's a lion's face with two candles, and was pretty darned shiny.  I dulled the finish a bit with raw umber acrylic paint and it looks more authentic now.

Here's a better shot of the wall sconce.  Above it you can see the portrait of Oliver Cromwell I framed: he's one of David's heroes, so I knew he'd have to make an appearance in the house, somewhere :)

You can also see the amazing carved chair, which is one of three birthday presents David bought for me at The Little Dollhouse Company in Toronto!  This is a hand carved Tudor chair by Canadian craftsman John Ottewill, and it's exquisite. I was stunned, totally overwhelmed.  David also got me a William and Mary inlaid table, also by John Ottewill and a library staircase.  I am a VERY lucky woman, but also a very frustrated woman because I can't show you the table and stairs yet because of my thrice damned camera ... :)

I've been cutting out foam for the first floor, and trying to make decisions about wallpaper and other things before I get started on the construction.

I'm leaving for a couple of days to go to Moncton with David for his brachytherapy (for prostate cancer -- the prognosis looks pretty good)  -- we'll both feel a lot more relaxed when this is done.

I hope all your projects (both 1:12 and 1:1) are going swimmingly!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Some miniature makers on ArtFire

I apologize for  the long silence!  David and I are in Toronto visiting some people, so our minds are on the 1:1 world, mostly :)  However, we made a little trip to the Little Dollhouse Company, and I know that David bought me some 1:12 birthday presents, so more to come!  (I'm so excited!)

I was browsing on ArtFire (a craft sales venue like Etsy but with better customer service for the sellers :) and just wanted to share a few of the craftspeople selling miniatures there. 


The Twelfth Dimension is an artisan from the United States who makes a variety of items in 1:12 scale, most notably vintage-looking toys and games and household items.  Many of them are kits.  Such cute things!  Look at that giraffe pulltoy kit, for example :)  Or this bakelite-looking radio:


This French artisan makes 1:12 scale books, mostly children's picture books.  Very cute looking!

Fairy Furnishings

Fairy Furnishings makes and sells 1:12 scale rustic furniture suitable for fairies, of course, but also, perhaps, for a very nature-oriented witch :)  I love the little bench, below:

Friday, September 3, 2010

Evening lights in the WAHM

Here are some photos David took for me of the lights on the ground floor of the William and Mary house at night:

Dining Room



Kitchen -- there are no lights here yet, but we didn't want it to feel left out!
It's been insanely hot the last few days here in Nova Scotia -- it's just impossible to get up the energy to do anything :)  The KnitWits and I actually spent our afternoon in a saltwater pool, courtesy of Fred, and it was sheer heaven.

And now there's a hurricane heading for us - his name is Earl.  We'll batten down the hatches tomorrow -- anyone out there on the Eastern seaboard of North America, I wish you well!

Time to go and lie in front of our air conditioner :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dolls' house lighting with round wire - Part One - power strips and transformers

Everyone who wants to know more about lighting, check out this Greenleaf article on Lighting your Dollhouse.  It really is very helpful!  I just wanted to give that link before I launched into my own (certainly less useful) explanation,  However,  I know that sometimes hearing the same stuff described in a slightly different way helps me make connections, so I'll give it a shot in the hope that it's helpful for someone else :)

I'm only going to deal with round wire because it was recommended to me at the beginning as the easiest, most durable and simplest to trouble shoot of the two wiring systems,  so it's all I know.  It's also best for front opening dolls houses.  The other commercially available system is tape wiring. (It's possible to use a hybrid of both methods, but I'm going to stick with what I know!)  (Small World Builders has a great tutorial on choosing a lighting system).

1. For any project, you need to buy a 12 volt power strip / socket board and a 12 volt transformer that will connect with and convert whatever AC power source is used in your country. 

Power strip:  The power strips are all pretty much alike, and they attach to the transformer with the sort of connectors shown in the first photo below.  They have sockets into which you plug your lights, and a fuse to help protect everything.

A typical power strip showing the connectors you'll screw to the transformer, plus a spare fuse.
My powerstrip for the WAHM

Transformers:  If you buy the transformer from eBay, make sure the transformer you buy has the right kind of plug for outlets in your country. A North American transformer won't do you much good if you live in the UK, for example.  A dolls house company in your country should be able to help you get the right one.

This is the big 40W transformer for the WAHM.  You can see the connectors from the
power board screwed into place at the end of it.

The 12 V transformers come in various wattages, which determine how many 12 V bulbs they can power.  (NB: The following list is simplified, because the bi-pin bulbs generally draw less current than the screw in ones, but this is a good, conservative rule of thumb):

A 5 Watt transformer will power up to 10  bulbs.
A 10 W transformer will power up to 16  bulbs.
A 20 W transformer will power up to  33  bulbs.
A 40 W transformer will power up to  64  bulbs.

Remember -- that's bulbs, not light fixtures!  So if you're hanging chandeliers, remember to count the bulbs!

I bought a pretty large transformer (40W) for the WAMH, because I'm using a lot of chandeliers, and want to have lots of power for them.  I've already got 16 bulbs on the ground floor, and I'm just getting started!

(For much more detail about transformers, what they do and how to choose one, see the About.com article on transformers).

More on lighting to come!
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