Monday, May 9, 2011

York to Staithes ...

Hello!  David and I are in the Royal George in Staithes at the end of a lovely day. Bless them, they have wireless internet here!  I've got a pint of cider and I'm just going to post a bit about the topic dearest to all our hearts, MINIS!

The Miniature Scene on Fossgate in York
I had an AMAZING time at The Miniature Scene in York on Saturday!  For everyone who told me what a wonderful shop it was, I just have to agree :)

We parked near the Black Swan in York, leaving Mum comfortably ensconced with a pint while David walked up to Monk Bar Model Shop and I walked across to Fossgate.

Friendly, knowledgeable people and a really marvellous array of minis, it was a dream come true! 

Here are some photos from the inside of the shop:

I love the little vignettes they have set up all over the shop!
Gorgeous Jacobean chairs and table

Dolls by The Giddy Kipper -- sorry for the glare, but they're all in a glass case!

Wonderful assortment of food and pewter.

I really love the bowed windows on the front of this house :)
Great witch!  Look at the size of that cauldron :)

Great Dr Frankenstein

I love houses from the humble ....

To the very grand! 
And this church is really lovely ...
As soon as I get a chance I'll take some photos of the pieces I bought here and in Chesterfield!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

First day -- Chesterfield

Just a quick note before we leave Chesterfield and head for York.

We had an uncomfortably cramped flight via Thomas Cook yesterday, and were blessedly happy to get to Gatwick and get off the damned plane.  No problems picking up our car, connecting with the lovely fellow who brought Mum's oxygen concentrator to the car rental place and then we were on our way to Chesterfield.  This time we split up the driving rather than David driving the whole thing, which was much smarter!  We stopped at a break station where we ALL drank incredibly strong coffee, (even I, who almost never drinks coffee) which helped wake us up!

We were in Chesterfield around noon, at the Olde House Pub and Hotel, where the wonderful proprietors let us into our rooms early -- this is a great place to stay, very welcoming! Several pints later, we felt pretty much refreshed :)

David and I left Mum to rest, and, after a shower, we headed into the town.  First stop, Dolls House Gallery, where I picked up so many lovely little things, including a really stunning chandelier for the WAM House -- photos tomorrow, I hope!

Victorian magic lantern at Chesterfield Museum -- wouldn't this look wonderful in miniature?
We also visited the charming Chesterfield Museum (where we saw two of George Stephenson's glass tubes for training straight cucumbers :)) , a local model railway model shop and finally visited the grounds of Tapton House, George Stephenson's home, overlooking Chesterfield.

Peace garden at Tapton House

Walking in the brilliant afternoon sunlight through the grounds of the house, I felt so happy to be in England.  What always strikes me on arriving in England in the spring and summer is how incredibly green the country is.  There was no better place to appreciate this than Tapton House Park yesterday :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

England trip starts!

We're waiting in Halifax Airport for our flight to England!  I'll never get over being able to get on the internet in public places, it seems so improbably futuristic, somehow :)

As always happens, I got most of the things done I needed to, and the ones I didn't get done will turn out not to have been so essential after all, I guess.  I have some very light reading and some chocolate and a book of Sudoku puzzles and am looking forward to the flight!

The building in the photo above is our first stop, the Olde House Pub outside Chesterfield, where we'll spend tomorrow night.  It's the same place we broke our journey from Gatwick to Staithes last year, and we're comfortable there.

So the next time I write, we should be in Chesterfield!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

England trip, oh my goodness!

Staithes, North Yorkshire, UK
You know how time seems to run more quickly when you're trying to get things done before you go away?

I'm in that stage right now :)  It's compounded by the very strange election we just had in Canada (a far-right party was just given a Parliamentary majority by only on 40% of the voters, our left-of-centre party had its best showing ever, forming the Official Opposition, we elected our first Green MP, and the "natural" governing party was reduced to third place.  Strange times, indeed).  Add in the fact that I have two big productions coming up for my opera companies -- Madama Butterfly in June (for which I'm singing Suzuki) and Tales of Hoffmann in July/August (for which I'm stage director) -- and my stress level is pretty high.

I'm a little overwhelmed, to tell the truth!

So I'm writing press releases, and packing, and having production meetings and rehearsing and all the while I'm thinking, "Just a few more days, and (d.v.) we'll be in England and sitting at a pub and reading about someone else's political woes!"

We're going back to North Yorkshire to stay in Staithes again, this time with my Mum.  I've got only two dolls house shops to visit this trip, and I'll see them both in the first two days :)  But we're going to have a lovely time and see David's marvellous family again, and I will be VERY glad!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Mini books by Eva

As a proud Canadian royalist, I was up this morning watching clips of the Royal wedding online -- I found it surprisingly moving and very, very beautiful.  Loved the spring-green trees in the Abbey!

Here's a photo of the whole Kitchen wing this morning:

 And here are some tiny books Eva worked on yesterday, from several of the book kits I have lying around.  She is amazing with small things -- the smaller the better as far as she's concerned :)  I gave her a kit for a 1:144 scale dolls house and she did a great job on it -- now she'll make furniture for it!

The ones in the back are from the Dutch shop Silly Sisters -- their book kit which makes over 60 attractive, non opening books.  These have been great for the kids.

The one in the front, with the pages  (Eva did such a lovely, precise job on this one, which is very fiddly) is from the first kit of antique books by Paper Minis -- they have lots of lovely things for sale, including stamp albums!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I'm alive! And Knitwits worked on the Castle today ...


First of all, sorry I've been MIA for most of this year so far.  It's been a good time in my life, but I'm just very, very busy in other areas.  I haven't had a moment to do minis for ages and ages.

But today, at Knitwits, Evangelista insisted that we get out the Castle kitchen and do a little work, and I was so happy! 

Evangelista scumbled the walls of the upper floor of the Kitchen wing with paint so we can go ahead and put in the shutters for the servants rooms.

Tiddles took everything out of the Kitchen, cleaned up and rearranged everything so it looks lovely and tidy.  We also made a list of food we want to make for the Kitchen.  Tiddles took these photos :)

By the way, David, my Mum and I are leaving for England in a week!  We're staying for two weeks in Staithes and I've got planned dolls house shop visits to Chesterfield and York.  I'll be blogging up a storm ...

Okay, I'm off to catch up with everyone else's work :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Scale Miniature-Themed Collection at Artfire

I'm so sorry I've been missing in action for the past month -- between doing Thing-a-day for February and the time I've spent doing auditions for my summer opera workshop, I've just had my mind elsewhere :(

Here's a Collection I've just curated at the online selling venue, featuring some of the many wonderful miniature makers who have studios there:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

17th century terrestrial globe for William and Mary House

I'm thinking ahead to the time I work on the study / library / workspace in the WAHM.  I really wanted the scientific gentleman of the house to have a nice terrestrial globe (among his other instruments) and decided to refinish a store-bought one to look more 17th century. 


Here's the 3 inch (7.5 cm) globe and stand I bought -- it's by Euro Minis and it's dirt cheap :)  Typical faux-mahogany stand, and a pretty garish globe, but the basics are usable.


Here's my inspiration -- two 17th century globes and a Mercator projection circa 1665.  One thing I love about miniatures (particularly working with a specific historical period) is how much I learn as I go along.  At the time of this Mercator map they knew where western Australia was, something I didn't know.  So recreating the inspirational globes led me to this process:

1.  Take the globe apart (this was surprisingly easy, besides it's fun sort of wrecking stuff :)).

2.  Paint the wood of the base a combination of burnt and raw umber to mimic walnut.  Paint the legs black to mimic ebony.  Give it two coats of satin varnish.

3.  Paint the globe's support brass/bronze.

4.  Repaint the globe itself, which took a while :)  I painted the whole globe a dirty parchment colour, then roughed in the continents using the Mercator projection as a guide with a darker colour.  Then I did a more detailed outline of the continents with a black pen, and finally cleaned up the sea/land meeting points and sketched in some "lettering".

5.  Reassemble the globe, with axis straight up and down (as in reference images of globes).  Since I had to break the original wooden stick that held the globe in place in its support, I used a length of brass wire as a replacement and I added a little flat brass spacer and bead just for detail.

And here's the finished piece!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Marble fireplace in WAHM Bedroom, and Thing-a-day!

I enjoyed marbling the Blue and White Room's fireplace so much, that I had to do something to the very white and plain fireplace in the bedroom!  I used some cream and yellow ochre and white, and then drew in the veins with grey.

I'm participating in this year's Thing-A-Day Project, which challenges its participants to create one thing every day through the month of February.  So far I've just been doing jewellery projects, but I know some of the things I'll do will be minis, and I'll post them here.  If you want to follow along, you can see all my TAD projects at my artists' blog, Dangerous Mezzo, or you can see the work of hundreds of participants at the main Thing-A-Day website :)
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