Thursday, July 31, 2014


...echo, echo, echo...

Hello everyone, I'm back.  There was a similar echo on my blog back in February I believe.  I'm sorry I left my blog alone for a few months,  I did not feel I had much to show you although I have been busy!

One of the things I did was make a miniature kitchen.  I know what you're thinking: 'What, another one?'.  Yes, yes, another kitchen.  But this time it was slightly different.  I was asked if I could duplicate an old handbuilt miniature kitchen, as closely as possible.  

So I did.  It wasn't easy.  In fact it was quite difficult as I had to copy the style and method of someone else's work.  I also tried to use the same materials which were used in the original kitchen.  Again not so easy as for instance the marble used for the floor and countertop is no longer available as the marble is mined at a different depth now and so looks different.
With the very kind help from a local marble company and some experimenting with oil paint I came close though!

New 'old' kitchen
Old kitchen

There are real tiles on the wall into which I scratched tile grids.  I searched to find tiles which have the same size and colour variation as the tiles in the original kitchen.   Again I was very kindly helped by a local tile company.  

I had put the old kitchen in the back of my car and showed it to the people of different companies.  They were all so kind, helpful and interested!  Which was much appreciated by me as of course my orders of 9 tiles and a tiny bit of marble means nothing to them.  

Exact copy of one of the windows.
Turning the handle for the oven door on the drill press.
The oak for the cabinet was provided to me by my young cabinetmaker neighbour.  He kindly planed the oak to the many various thicknesses for me which left me with the task of building the cabinet and stand.  As my machines are built for making miniatures and the oak was up to 2 cm thick, again that was not so easy.  But my little machines and I managed ;-)

As I don't have a lathe (yet!!) I thought I'd have to find someone to make me the different metal fittings of the kitchen too, but after some experimenting I found that my big drill press did the job perfectly.   So I made all the metal parts myself as well.  The only thing in the entire cabinet I did not make myself are the hinges on the cupboard door, those I found at the hardware store. 

Another thing I found difficult was trying not to make it look perfect.  The grouting for instance had to be done slightly rough and let's say 'sloppy'as that's how the original was done.   I did not go overboard with putting patina on it, as time will do that all by itself, just like it did with the original.

I put a few of my own miniatures in the kitchen to give it some life for the photos.  Although the new 'old' kitchen differs slightly from the original old kitchen on some points, I am very pleased with the result.  And I had fun and learned a lot!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Show Apeldoorn

A few weeks ago I visited the Dolls House Nederland Show in Apeldoorn.   I could only go for one day this time, so it was impossible for me to see everything.  It was unusually quiet that day at the show, which was very good for us visitors but not so good for the people who were trying to sell their miniatures.  I hope the people who were there did their best to compensate for the lost sales.  I certainly did! 

Here are some of my purchases: 

A lovely lidded vase, painted by Dieneke Boektje.  The vase temporarily lives in the yellow salon, but I bought it to go in my chinoiserie dining room, which I have only recently started to work on.

      I picked up the vase and two bowls which I painted during a Cocky Wildschut class.  The dog and cat tiles on the wall in the background were also painted by me in one of her classes.  Even though I produce work with varying results,  I always enjoy these classes.  

And then I saw this beautiful wall fountain.  It is made by Henny Staring-Egberts.  My head said 'don't go there, don't look at it'  but my heart would not let me.  Within seconds I knew I had to get this ;-)

Isn't it gorgeous?  It is not hanging in its right location yet, although I do rather like it on that wall.  However, it would be rather odd to have a fountain behind a door.  It should go in the downstairs hall close to the dining room.

Blue and white by several different makers.    Wall tiles on the left by Idske de Jong,  salt vessel and blue lidded pot by Elisabeth Causeret,  vase and bowl painted by me,  wall fountain by Henny Staring-Egberts.

I leave you with two photos of the spring 2014 fair in Apeldoorn: 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Silver chamberstick...

…a class with Jens Torp

Two weeks ago I took another silver class with Jens Torp.  This time we were going to make a 12th scale silver chamberstick.  The class would include two techniques which were new to me, turning on a metal lathe and soldering silver.   The photo above shows my finished chamberstick.

This photo shows some of the components of the chamberstick.   The bottom bowl has been cut from a sheet of silver, then shaped and drilled.  The top bowl has also been cut from  sheet of silver, shaped and drilled, and then soldered onto a silver tube which we had turned on a lathe beforehand.  

The soldering was nerve-racking, as in silver soldering the whole piece is heated and it could all melt into a big blob of silver in a split second.  Thankfully Jens was watching us and telling us what to do. 

A short impression of my first try on the lathe.  Jens is standing by with instructions.   I was turning the top part of the tube which the top bowl has to fit onto.  As you can see I have difficulty reading the measurement on the calipers…too many tiny lines too close together!

The tube with top disk attached were then mounted onto the lathe again where some decorative turning had to be done.  At first things were going fine for me, but when I had a few lines on there, I just could not see what I was doing anymore.  Help!  I think I need better light and better glasses.

After turning the decorations a hole had to be cut into the tube which would hold a device for raising or lowering the candle.  Then the bottom bowl was soldered on and the little handle riveted into place.  
Sounds simple enough, doesn't it.  Well I can tell you it isn't!

Well as usual there was a lot more sanding, buffing, polishing etc. to be done before it was finished, but here it is, all finished and looking lovely and shiny...

It resides in the bedroom now, but it could go anywhere really.

Isn't it lovely?  I enjoyed this class.  Learned some new techniques…I should really say I tried some new techniques as there's a lot more learning to do before I master them!

Jens sells these chambersticks, made by himself of course.  And then they're somewhat more delicate than mine…Now how can that be? ;-)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Art Nouveau...

Hellooo!   Hellooo!    Hellooo!

There's a bit of an echo here...after not posting for so long. ;-)  I did not have much inspiration or drive to work on miniatures or post anything lately.  Which doesn't mean I didn't do anything at all.

The past few weeks I tried to do a little inlay work.  I had done a bit of inlay before, about 8 years ago in a class by Barry Hipwell.  I must confess I couldn't quite remember how we did it.  At that time I didn't realize I had to write  everything down so I wouldn't forget how it was done.  

After a bit of trying I figured out how to do the inlay again, or something which worked for me anyway.  I used a tray by Émile Gallé for inspiration.  I did make a few mistakes and I'm not happy with the entire design (there were some odd design choices by the great Gallé in my opinion), but I decided to finish it anyway, just for the learning experience.  

It was a LOT of work and I spent a lot of time on hands and knees looking for yet another piece I had dropped (great fun looking for a piece of wood on a wooden floor),  but I did enjoy it.  I learned a lot from making this little tray and I have already found another piece I would like to try and make next.  Now I do need more veneer!

The sides of the tray are made with pear wood, into which I carved a centre line.  I finished the tray with shellac and wax.  It looks lovely and smooth!

Although I made the tray just as an inlay exercise and not with a specific room in mind, it looks quite at home in this Arts & Crafts room in my Canal House.   The curved edge of the tray is repeated in the curved back of the chairs.  

Also for this room I made a cute Arts & Crafts inspired light fixture.   I used an old metal brooch, a bit of brass tubing, a glass shade and a light bulb from Lighting Bug.  Sorry for the poor quality of the photo, but lighting conditions were bad lately.

Even though the lamp is a bit cobbled together, I really like it.  The lamp reminds me of the ones in Standen, an Arts & Crafts house with Morris &Co. interiors in West Sussex, UK.   As you may know by now, I love the Arts & Crafts movement!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Attic bedroom...

When I took these photos today, I was trying to think back to when I started work on this room and thought it was around one year ago.    I just looked up the other posts I did on this room and found that I started on this room over two years ago!

I did not have a lot of inspiration for the attic.  And that is probably why it is taking so long.   Starting to work on my second Canal House didn't help either.  
But the last few days I finally picked up where I left off and the attic rooms are starting to take shape.

View from the attic hallway towards the bedroom on the right of the house.  The partition walls all have painted planks (although they are actually made of strips of thick paper).  I have always liked this look and I think it is appropriate for an attic.  
On the right you can just about see the doorway to the bathroom.

I didn't push the partition walls against the slanted roof quite far enough, as light still peeps through there.   In reality that is hardly visible, but still,  I will fix that when everything is ready to be fixed in place permanently.
The hallway can only be seen through the open doors of the bedroom and bathroom.

The end wall of the attic bedroom also has painted planks, in a very lovely blue colour this time.  It is one of those colours which change when the light changes.  
The chair on the left is one I upholstered in a Nancy Summers class when I was a scholarship student at the Guild School in Castine in 2007.    It still needs a bit of finishing...

The 144th scale house was a laser kit which came as a gift a few years ago with a 2 year subscription to the Dolls House Nederland magazine.  I modified it a bit to look like the houses in the pretty Dutch village of Broek in Waterland.  

The bedside table is a gorgeous little casket which came from my grandparents.  The casket is around 100 years old.  It has a gilt exterior with some coloured enameling.  The interior has a silk and padded lining which makes me think it was probably a little jewelry box.  

I made the bed a little over two years ago.  It has a painted and aged wooden frame which I upholstered using white cotton.  

I used some pretty ribbon to decorate two simple lampshades.  A bit more frilly than I would normally have it, but it works well in this room.  

The partition wall has the William Morris wallpaper ' Daisy' on it (by Susan Bembridge Designs).  It's a very pretty design and the colours are perfect for this room.  
I have kept the room quite sparsely furnished, which makes a nice contrast to some of the other rooms in the house.

View towards the attic hallway, looking in through the bedroom window.  You either have to be very tall or stand on a small stepladder to catch this view.   I am quite tall but still stood on a stepladder to take this photo ;-)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Festive cheer...

       ...for Christmas and the New Year... 
     I wish you all much joy and happiness!

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