Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Visit to the Tom Bishop Madrid show

We had a weekend break in Madrid last week where I attended the Tom Bishop Miniatures show.  You can read more about the weekend on my main blog.

One stand was selling an adorable range of teddy bears, rabbits and other characters, all very detailed, and made from Fimo.  I picked up these two critters, and the smaller one with go into the Fairfield house.  I love the way the tiny cardigans are imprinted with a 'knitting' texture.  The larger one will find a home in one of my 1/12th houses.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Gothic folly

Today we drove around London to visit Knole Park, a National Trust stately home known amongst other things for being the home of the famous Knole sofa.  Before we went inside, we went for a walk around the extensive deer park (lots of deer running around tame) and came across this Gothic Folly called 'The Birdhouse', built in 1761 originally to house an aviary.  But later it became a private home for an estate worker.  How cool is this?  I love all the turrets and the sticky-out bits and the central roofline - I bet there are one or two really great bedrooms up there with slanted ceilings.  And their shed seems to be behind a facade making it look like a grotto. I would love to see inside both buildings!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Knight's Castle

I bought the kit for this Knight's Castle at the Arnhem Dollshouse Fair from VA-Holzkunst, who had many amazingly tiny laser cut kits on their stand.  I gave them my email address and they emailed me directions in English.  The kits are laser cut from extremely thin wood. The young man on the stand assured me this kit would be very easy to put together even though it looked difficult.  Having now put it together, I'm not sure I would classify it as 'very easy'.  It took dexterity, and ultimately the use of DH's magnifying visor, and lots of breath holding as I desperately hoped that whisker thin scraps representing knights did not go 'ping' out of the tweezers.

I wanted my castle to be grey, so I coloured it in with felt tip pens.  I cut a base from some scrap wood as this is not provided in the kit, and coloured it green with felt tips.  When it came time to position the tiny knights and horses, they were also coloured first with felt tips before cutting them from the background wood.

The towers are perforated at each corner, so you can carefully bend the wood into a box shape using tweezers.  Each tower has a roof piece that slots in, and the entire tower slots into an individual base. After you have bent the tower into a box shape, you insert the roof piece by putting its tabs into the slots in the tower walls, then glue the final corner of the box, then glue the tower structure into its base. 

I found that the corner towers went together well.  However, the wall units gave me trouble as each roof piece was ever so slightly protruding once you inserted its tabs in the slots, preventing the wall unit from closing tightly into a rectangle, which in turn prevent the tacky glue from gripping well.  You make up four corner towers and four walls, and then position them in a castle shape.  Because of the bases, they don't close up tightly together, but it still looks like a castle.

The final step is to punch out the incredibly tiny knights and horses, each with its own base, and position them on the castle.  This is when I needed the magnifying visor as these things are incredibly tiny. The instructions claim there are 14 figures but I only found 4 people and 4 horses.  There were a couple more indeterminate punchouts in the corner of each sheet, DS thought perhaps they were meant to be a mother and child.  I couldn't work out what they were nor how to use them, so didn't.

Here is the finished castle in my boy's room. It was very fiddly to do, but I am pleased with the final effect and it is very appropriate for my castle-themed bedroom.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Pimp my Fairfield

I found some time this week to stick in some of my recent purchases, to add more detail to the Fairfield rooms.

I had purchased a 1:24 scale dressed bar cabinet at the Arnhem dollshouse show in Holland, hoping it would fit into the Fairfield.  I've put it next to the sofas and I think I like it there.

This is a view looking through the window.

I also added a few of the faux books I made several weeks ago, to the coffee table.

In the master bedroom, I added the china floral arrangement to the nightstand, and the Delft blue china opening trinket box to the dressing table - both purchased in Arnhem.

In the little girl's room, I added some of these strange little 'dolls' which I bought at the Kempton Show quite cheaply.  They also had them adorning the ends of cocktail sticks - I assume they are some kind of party favour made in China or somewhere.  These were glued into a balsa cabinet, but I was able to pry several of them out to use as toys.

In this shot, I've added the tiny angel I bought some time ago, and two of the new dolls to the wall shelf, the tiny piggy bank I bought in Arnhem to the top of the bookcase, a doll on the shelf of the bedhead, a dressing table set I bought from Judith of In Some Small Way to the dresser, and another doll on the butterfly bench.

In the kitchen, I added the pink china teapot and four cups and saucers from Arnhem to the open shelf in the kitchen cabinet.

It's amazing how long it took to do all of the above.  I've still got to assemble the toy castle that I bought in Arnhem, which will go in the boy's room.

My dust cover seems to be working well - it's keeping the dust off the Fairfield but was easy to remove to access the rooms, and I can see through it to admire the interiors.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Catching Up

I've been doing a fair bit of dollshouse related activity, just not specifically on the Fairfield.  I went to the Kempton Park dollshouse fair where I got some small dolls for the girl's bedroom that I have still to put in onto her shelf.  Then I went on a Mulvany & Rogers Masterclass, and then I went to the Arnhem dollhouse fair where I did get some things for the Fairfield.  You can read about the latter two on my main blog here.

Now I just need a quiet day when I can stick things into the house.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

A dust cover - hopefully a good thing

Since it came downstairs, my Fairfield has been impersonating a mummy, all wrapped up in bandages of cloth to keep the dust off.  I decided it was time to do something more attractive and less concealing.  So I bought 3 metres of vinyl tablecloth from the local bargain store.  This is 1m wide and cost £3.50 a metre. It's fairly flexible and really stinks of plastic which I hope is going to wear off.

I cut the 3m piece in half as I needed to make two dustcovers:  one for the Fairfield, and one for my Ratty's House that I made in a Rik Pierce workshop.

My working method was not very scientific.  I draped the piece of plastic over the Fairfield, tucked flaps under the base, and pinched together the excess at four corners.  I cut off the excess leaving about a one-inch seam allowance, and temporarily held the seam together with paperclips while I was working on the fitting.

Then I sewed the seam on a normal sewing machine using a long stitch length, leaving the seam allowances on the outside.  I didn't think they were going to look any better on the inside because it is all transparent, and it might have made the cover fit less well.  I tried to stitch the seams so they came down to 'ground' level, leaving a loose flap of plastic to tuck under the base.

However, I was concerned that making the cover too airtight might lead to problems, such as a microclimate inside that might encourage mould.  So I decided to stitch in 'air vents' by adding patches of needlepoint canvas.  I added two vents to each cover.

The end result is certainly a big improvement on the mummy-wrapping bandages.  I can see the house now and it won't be difficult to take the cover off.  Putting the cover back on is slightly fiddly as I have to tuck the bottom flaps under, but it doesn't take long.

I'm going to visit the Arnhem Poppenhuisstad dollshouse fair in The Netherlands next month, so I will look out for 1:24 accessories there.