Friday, June 22, 2012

Wash Day

I'm working on a small project that I can't wait to share. Unfortunately, I'm mostly working on it late at night, so I can't get good photographs. In the mean time, I thought I'd share another of the dolls Mom said goodbye to at Sturbridge.

When we first started talking about doing a show, one of the big questions was how to best display the dolls. Mom loves to use accessories to tell a story, so we wanted to be able to suggest the possible setting in a very simple way. We found plain black frames that made a nice display base, and made a variety of floors which we could swap in and out as necessary. For this one, we dry brushed grey paint over an unfinished floor. Simple but effective.

Mom purposely chose a rather robust woman for this doll. Washing is hard work!

 Mom bought the wringer and tub unfinished, and I aged them for her. Mom did all the resin pouring. I believe the cat with kittens is from Falcon miniatures.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Have you entered Lucy Coles' Giveaway?

Do you have an artisan whose work you just love? Every time you go to a show, you come back with another piece, until one day you realize that almost every room in your house has something from them...
For many years that artisan, for me, was Lucy Coles, specializing in miniature needlework and porcelain. Unfortunately for me, Lucy dropped out of the miniature world for several years. But now she's back! She has a new blog, called Evalina Rose, to share her half-scale cottage project, and has the most FANTASTIC giveaway going at the moment (more on that at the end of this post).
In the mean time, I thought I'd highlight how many of my favorite toys and porcelain pieces came from her!

 I bought this porcelain vase from a dealer shortly after Lucy Coles stopped doing the local shows. It has been in the dining room for years, but I just found a better way to display it in the music room.
 A few of the plates in the kitchen, like this pink one, were painted by her. Apologies for the terrible pictures, my camera was acting up when I took these!

The green plate second from left was also painted by her.
 The pale blue and white wash pitcher in Lottie's room was an impulse buy that I never regretted...
 and it came with a matching chamber pot!
 Every time I see this little baby boy doll, I want to pick him up and cuddle him. His red and white suit has the tiniest knitting!

For several years, it was a Christmas tradition for Mom to give me a Lucy Coles doll. Sometimes it would be a doll I had seen at a show, other times a complete surprise. I named almost all of them...
 This is Georgiana, with real leather boots, and an entirely knit outfit. She's only about 2 1/2 inches tall! She was one of the last dolls Lucy Coles made for me. I was reading Pride and Prejudice at the time, and a bit obsessed with the name Georgiana.
 Here's Annabelle and Clara. Annabelle is super tiny, only about 1/2", but her arms are jointed. Annabelle's name came from the book The Doll People by Ann Martin and Laura Godwin. Clara's name came from the Nutcracker, which my grandparents took me to see one Christmas when I was very young.

 This is Meg. I love her lace shawl,  and her face is especially sweet. Her name came from Little Women of course!
For the life of me, I can't remember what I named this doll! I always loved how delicate she looked with the lace petticoat showing through her dress!

Here's another doll whose name I can't recall. Can you see her tiny painted gold necklace? Many of the dolls also have painted barrettes as well.
 Here's Sylvia and Hitty. Hitty was the very first Lucy Coles doll I fell in love with. The name  Sylvia came from one of my favorite childhood books, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken. The name Hitty came from the book Hitty: Her First Hundred Years, by Rachel Field. 
Last of all is my little bear in the attic. 

Now comes the really fun part. If you want your very own Lucy Coles creation, sign up NOW for her giveaway! She's giving away this darling mouse named Bella:
(photograph from Lucy Coles)
The giveaway ends tomorrow, so  hurry!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Painted Bookcase

We didn't have much time to spare at the Sturbridge show, but there was enough of a pause late Sunday afternoon for me to go buy an unfinished wooden bookcase from Bed Miniatures. I had a lot of fun painting it. 
It was a bit shorter than usual, so I bought it thinking it might fit in the eaves of one of my attic rooms. It was just a bit too tall for the attic, so I added feet and made it a standard height instead.
I also added gold to the beading along the edge, though it doesn't show up in the photograph.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Projects with Paper

I'm really not fond of making flowers. It's strange, because I usually like working with paper. But even the simplest plant kit seems to drag on forever! Looking around my dollhouse, I noticed that it really needed plants. I'm addicted to miniature porcelain, so I have tons of vases, but they're all empty!
I started with a camellia kit from SDK miniatures. Most of the flowers ended up in this pretty wooden vase, at least for the moment. I thought the vase was painted by Janet Reyburn, but when I looked at the bottom, I noticed that the intials were RW. Does anyone know who RW might be?
 Because I knew I was making cut flowers, rather than a plant, I saved some time only adding leaves to the top of the stem. The top of a glue bottle worked well for holding them upright as they dried.

In other news, I also spent some time organizing my lace scraps.  I saw this idea at the blog French Laundry,  and thought it was a pretty idea. I aged some thick watercolour paper, printed images from the Graphics Fairy, and wrapped my lace  around. It's so fun to open up my drawer and see all the pretty cards of lace.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Don't Count Your Chickens

Last time I showed you Mom's Potato Seller. This cook plucking a chicken also sold at Sturbridge. She was one of my favorites!

I made the chicken. The feathers were all cut down from larger ones left over from my brother's fly-tying supplies.
I also wanted to show you my miniature chest. This was my graduation gift.  I've been keeping the finished miniatures I intended to sell in recycled boxes for the last year or so. It was a bit of a nightmare, to be honest. I really wanted something portable, preferably with drawers for easy access.After a bit of research, I found this machinist chest made by Windsor, which seemed like the perfect solution.

The top has a deep enough compartment for most furniture, and the front panel opens up show to eight smaller drawers, perfect for my readable books and other small things.
The drawers are lined with green felt, which helps keep things from shifting around.

Two of the small drawers came with removable dividers.

I was able to fit everything I brought to the show in the box, with quite a bit of room to spare. Coming back home, there was even more room... It's going to take a LOT of miniatures to fill this chest up!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Back From Sturbridge!

We had a ton of fun this past weekend at Sturbridge. This was the first show where we didn't lay out all miniatures we were bringing beforehand- we just kept packing them up as we made them, so we didn't really realize how much we had brought until we started setting up!
We had about five hours to set up, and we used most of that time, though we were so nervous that we probably fussed with everything a lot more than necessary. It's hard to see, but that top level was absolutely CRAMMED with miniatures.

I didn't show any of mom's dolls before the show, but she brought quite a few. This potato seller was the first doll she sold Saturday night at the preview.
His whiskers were a last minute addition two nights before we left! Mom dressed him several weeks ago, but he never got packed away because it seemed like there was something missing. Adding the bushy sideburns and mustache did the trick! His vest came from the most perfectly worn leather glove. His cart was purchased, but Mom made the potatos to fill it.
The only fly in the ointment was that the poison book box I made went missing sometime Sunday morning. It was upsetting, not so much because of the loss of the book itself, but because it made it harder to trust all the other genuinely lovely customers.

Overall though, we had a fantastic time, and are already planning to do it again next year. We met so many wonderful people, and enjoyed catching up with others we already knew. I'll post again soon.