Sunday 23 August 2015

Emerging from the chrysalis

It feels very strange to be clicking 'new post' on this blog after such a long hiatus. If you follow my main blog, you know that moving house took us a heck of a lot longer than I ever expected. Meanwhile my dollshouses, including the Fairfield, went into self-storage, then into professional removers' storage while we were renting, then came up on a big truck a few months after we bought our new house, and since then they have been filling up our utility room and kicking around in the basement.

I've been trying to create a room in the cellar for the dollshouses since January, but at first I was trying to buy secondhand kitchen cabinets on eBay with no luck at all.  I gave up on that in July when I spotted a 40% off sale at a big DIY store. I was able to buy the cabinets I wanted, and flatpacked so that we could bring them home in the car without having to hire a van. I used the money I saved towards buying worktops, and the fitter who installed our real kitchen came and installed the cabinets last weekend.  Since then I've been painting the rest of the room, and today I finally started unwrapping dollshouses.

The Fairfield just happened to be the first one I picked up.  I've put it on a little table surrounded by a sheet, so that if any tiny bits have come loose in transit, they will hopefully be caught by the sheet.

Oooo, what's in the box??

Could it be... a Fairfield dollshouse?

Cardboard removed and the giant 'bumper' of bubblewrap revealed, that kept it centred in its box.  Underneath that the house is clingfilmed, to hold in all the tissue paper.

Unwrapping the clingfilm to reveal the tissue-stuffed rooms.

Gently pulling out wads of tissue paper reveals the master bedroom, looking pretty good.  In this house most things were stuck down so they've stayed put.

Each piece of tissue paper is fully unfolded and inspected on both sides to make sure nothing small is clinging to it.

Garden looking ok, bit of 'lawn' has crept into the conservatory though.

Luxury bathroom revealed, and study. The chairs in each room had fallen over but have now been righted.

Boy's bedroom, just had to tidy up the floor a bit.

Girl's bedroom (sorry out of focus) had suffered a lot more with most of the furniture in the forefront overturned.

Bit of an earthquake in the dining room!

I'd forgotten my pictorial wallpaper - love it!

Placed safe on the new display area, with its dust cover over it.  Will need a bit more tidying up plus I know I've got some more 1/24th kits and accessories around to eventually make up for it.

One down (unpacked) and many more to go!

Friday 20 December 2013

Look familiar?

I was just browsing through a Pinterest board of Victorian houses when I came across this picture of a Victorian mansion which is almost the same configuration as the Fairfield.  It's been extended to the side, but otherwise has the same corner tower.

How cool would it be to live in a house like that for real?  But speaking as someone currently househunting for a real new home, it does rather shriek 'money pit, money pit, money pit' !

Tuesday 13 August 2013

The mother of all gothick

I have to blog about the amazing house we visited a few weekends ago: Strawberry Hill in Twickenham.

Created by Horace Walpole in the 18th century, the house is one the finest examples of Georgian Gothic revival architecture.  It's recently undergone a major restoration and the internal rooms are gradually being opened to the public as they are restored.  There isn't much furniture as it was all sold off, but the architectural details are just wonderful.  

The whole thing reminded me so strongly of the Gothick Gatehouse dollshouse that used to be available, which featured the same trefoil windows and Sue Cook gothic details.  I wonder if this house was their inspiration?

You could make an amazing dollshouse out of some of these features.

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Gone away for a while

The Fairfield is now all packed up and in a box, as we are packing our house up to get it ready to put on the market.  Over the Easter weekend, the dollshouses will move into self-storage where they may be staying for 6-12 months until we find a new home.  Our real life living room looks much bigger now  :)

Here's an excerpt from my main blog which explains how I packed my houses:

"I'm packing the dollshouse stuff the same way I did last time we moved.  I tend to stick things into my houses anyway, either permanently, or temporarily using tacky wax, so there aren't many loose things.  Life is too short to take everything out and wrap it individually.  So what I do is wad up tissue paper and carefully place it into each room, filling the nooks and crannies until the entire room is held lightly in place with tissue paper.  If there is something heavier that lacks support, for example a doll, then I will wrap it individually and place it back into the room. For big rooms, once I've covered everything with tissue paper, I might fill in interior voids with crumpled newspaper or bubble wrap.  Once all the voids are filled, I either seal the opening with cling film in the case of a room box or 1:48 house, or in the case of a bigger house, wrap it in bubble wrap then lightly hold that on by wrapping parcel tape around the bubble wrap.  So that nothing can shift or fall out as it is a sealed environment.  Eventually, when I unpack, I will unpack on a low table placed in the centre of a bedsheet on the carpet, and I will carefully open out each piece of packing material to check that nothing small is embedded in it.  Last time very few things came loose, and I was able to spot them in the packing material.  Worst case scenario, they fall onto the bedsheet where they can easily be spotted."

In the case of the Fairfield, once it was all clingfilmed up, I wrapped it in bubble wrap.  I then placed it into a large box resting on some more bubble wrap.  I then gently 'wedged' the house with small throw cushions placed between solid walls of the house and the sides of the box, so it can't slide around.  I draped a TV quilt over the top of it to complete the protection and bracing, and closed up the box.

So this blog will be on hiatus for a year or so until we get into our new home - where hopefully I will have both a dollshouse display area and a place to work on my mini!

Sunday 27 January 2013

Shopping at the City of London dollshouse festival

Today I went up to the new City of London dollshouse festival and did very well - you can read more about the visit and see other things I bought on my main blog (linked in margin).

For the Fairfield, I bought these exquisite stuffed animals from Pat Kay Toys and Dolls.  The bear is fully jointed and will go in the girl's bedroom.  The tiger is not jointed but is so cute.  He will go in the boy's bedroom.

From another stand I bought three beautifully made 1:12 boxes, and also this gorgeous little painted carousel which actually pivots.  I am going to try it in the girl's bedroom and see if it looks like playscale size.

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!