Hello friends! 

It has been a while since I posted here, but after a few months with accidents and Covid19,  I finally have some news to share with you. 

During my inactive past months I enjoyed watching YouTube videos.  As I often get asked how I make my miniatures, houses and roomboxes, and to explain techniques I use,  I decided to breathe some life into my existing YouTube channel and make more videos for it. The new name of the channel is:

Click the photo to go to my YouTube channel

 

A few of the tutorials which featured on my old website will make a come-back in video format as wel as new tutorials on techniques, tools, building and making miniatures.  And  I will be exploring collections and designs, tips and ideas relevant to miniatures.  My mind is filled with ideas!

My equipment is nothing fancy and editing is loads of work, so this is not a fast process, but several tutorials and a tour of my first canal house are in the making. 


The first tutorial I ever did on YouTube was in 2008,  'Printing fabric on an inkjet printer' (part one and two).  These were followed three years later by  'Gilding miniatures with gold leaf'(part one and two).
Part three of 'Gilding miniatures with gold leaf' has now been published:


Click the photo to view the video



I hope you'll enjoy the video's.  Please join me on YouTube at:


  Make Miniatures with Josje.















 


I have been neglecting my blog this year.  The Corona virus of course has had a major impact on how we live are lives this year, and is still continuing to do so.  On the miniature front that meant no fairs and no workshops or other classes.  Hopefully next year!

Not much has been done to either of my canal houses, but I have been working on another roombox.  
This roombox consists of two rooms, a large main room and a smaller antechamber, connected by double doors.  The antechamber also has a non-opening smaller door on the back wall.  Both rooms have large fireplaces.  

The rooms are inspired by one of my favourite dolls' houses of the Rijksmuseum, an 18th century canal house.  Unfortunately this dolls' house is not is not on display at the museum.  Below is a collage of the two rooms from the canal house used as inspiration. The reception room and antechamber have a different lay-out to my roombox with the fireplaces on the back walls and windows and doors on both side walls. 

Reception room and antechamber in Het Grachtenpand, Rijksmuseum.  
Photos taken from the book:  "Het Hollandse pronkpoppenhuis" by Jet Pijzel-Dommisse.


Not entirely finished yet, but below is a photo of the double roombox I made.  As you can see the fireplaces are very similar, as are the double doors and the arrangement of the rooms.  



The floors are a Hungarian point oak parquet (also called chevron parquet).  Although it looks like a more simple design than for instance a Versailles parquet, laying it is much harder than it looks.  It is essential to keep the angles and lines straight or else it will look awful.  

Laying the oak parquet flooring. 


We had a long and hot summer this year and I have used some of those hot days to my advantage, working outside in my garden and getting paint to dry in record time!



Marbling the fireplaces in the garden.  



Final paint touch-ups dry in record time in the garden. 

The walls are covered with a golden yellow silk. Because of the lockdown at the time, it was quite difficult to find the right colour silk. I have ended up with a few meters of silk with the wrong colour unfortunately,  making it quite an expensive wall covering!  

Glue could in time stain the silk, so the silk is not glued to the background but stretched onto cotton covered wooden walls.   It was really difficult to get the silk stretched onto the walls and something I would not like to repeat any time soon!   

It is very interesting to see how the colour of the silk changes under the influence of light.  The colour can range from a soft mustard yellow to a deep and warm golden yellow.  



The fireplace in the main reception room.  
To provide space for candle sticks the mirror is placed against the wall.
I like the effect with the mirrors on both ends, giving several reflections of the double doors.




The fireplace in the antechamber also has a mirror.
At night using LED lights and a daylight bulb the silk has a much softer colour.
In this photo I had to black out my hands and camera reflected in the mirror, normally you can see the doors and opposite mirror reflected here too.  



The chimney breast in the antechamber has curved and rounded sides.
This photo also shows how different the silk walls look in different light:  
on a sunny day the silk is a deep golden yellow colour. 



There is a false door on the back wall of the antechamber.
The overdoor area is left empty for displaying blue and white porcelain pieces.



The curved shape of the door is repeated on the fireplace and on the double doors.


I love these double doors.
They're a lot of work to make but they look so good!



The large reception room.
The front half of the ceiling will be glass.  This will bring more light into the room and makes it easier to view the room and its contents.  Now all it needs is some furniture.


Unfortunately while preparing some wood for making the furniture I had an accident with my surface planer and cut off the tip of my thumb.  Yes, I had heard all of the horror stories that go with this machine, and yes, I was taught how to correctly and safely use it by a master carpenter.  Still, a split second and...

Back in October, in the emergency room, waiting for the surgeon.


I was never in much pain and the wound has healed now, leaving this thumb a little bit shorter than the other.  I can do most things again but it will be some time before I can do any fine work as I hardly have any feeling in the tip yet and I can't bend my thumb much.  It is not until you can't use your thumb that you realise how much you use it!  
It is giving me some time to do other things though, like blogging 😉
In December my long awaited kitchen item arrived from Poland:  a wonderful side by side refrigerator handmade by Dorota Mateusiak of MiniFanaberia. 


So cool!  Just like its full sized counterparts, the interior has an ice maker (complete with ice cubes), 'glass' shelves and pull out drawers, and working led lights.  A detail I absolutely love (well I love it all but these little extra's are just so special...) is the rubber seal around the inside of the doors!


As you can see I need to make lots of food items to fill it up.  I have made a few drinks cartons which were published in a Dutch dolls' house magazine many years ago and I have started saving packaging I use myself to eventually reduce in size. 

There are so many other wonderful details on this fridge.  Watch the unpacking video below (speeded up 40 times or more with corresponding sound).


The refrigerator is the piece I needed before I could continue work on the kitchen as I needed to see it in situ to determine the best layout on that side of the kitchen.  I decided the best place for it would be towards the front of the room, so it would be easy to see inside the fridge.

Below a rare insight into my messy work process.  I play around with many items of different sizes and colours to get a feel for what I like and whether it will work in the space.  The photo shows the combination of blue silk I chose as the backdrop for the kitchen dresser I had yet to make, wooden dresser, white porcelain and copper.  


I decided the kitchen and the fridge could handle a really large dresser on that wall, so I designed a dresser which in real life would be 3,05 meters wide and 3,24 meters high (for those of you who are metrically challenged 😉, that's around 10 feet by 10ft 7.5")


I looked at several full sized pieces to determine the construction method.  I routed many grooves and slots to fit all of the pieces together.  Always a bit of a puzzle, but fun to figure out and not too complicated.  With a slight adjustment on one or two of the drawers, everything fitted together perfectly.  


The top part is a very simple frame with routed grooves to support the shelves.  
By the way, all of the wood is pear.  I cut the wooden boards I needed for the construction of this dresser from a large piece of pear wood I bought several years ago. I cut the wood to size with my band saw and then run it through the thickness sander to get it exactly to the right thickness and nicely finished.  

This process is a lot of work and very dusty but I am very glad I can do this myself so I am not dependant on getting the wood delivered to me. I do have a dust extractor but it broke down mid work so I took it outside to continue. The photo below shows just a bit of the enormous mess it creates. There is an outdoor table somewhere underneath all of that wood dust... 


With the dresser in the making, it was time to start unpacking the copper and white china  I had collected in over 15 years.  It's a big collection, more than I remembered!  I usually buy one or two copper pieces and some white china at each fair I visit.  With two or three fairs a year, that amounts to quite a few pieces!


One of my favourite pieces is the Samovar which came from Elly's collection.  It did not look great when I got it, but when I polished it, it changed from an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan.  
After many hours of research I am afraid that I was unable to find out who made it or how old it is.

A samovar is a Russian water heater. Hot coal (or wood,pine cones etc.) is put in the central chimney and heats the water around it, thus providing hot water on tap for brewing a cup or pot of tea. The top ring can be turned over to hold a small teapot which will then be kept warm as well.  


It looks gorgeous on my dresser!  As do many of my other pieces I must say.  Apart from the samovar I have copper pieces by Philippe Bordelet, Country Treasures UK,  J. Getzan and Smallscale (Marie-Louise Markhorst).  The white china pieces are by Elisabeth Causeret,  Zus & Zo Marike Schenning, Nikki Nakki Nu, Avon, Puppenwelt Wengen and Stokesay Ware.  



With the fridge added and more copper hung next to the AGA, the kitchen is nearing completion.  And I must say I love the overall picture! 
At this stage I had to take everything out again to permanently attach the ceiling to the walls.  Then put everything back in. Quite a big job  I can tell you!  





I saw I have to polish the door of the fridge too ;-)  When I have time I'd like to make a few plants and herbs for the kitchen and, as I said, food for the fridge.  All these fun little details.  But I have to admit I am more of a builder than a maker of accessories. 

To be continued...(in a few years probably).   




Thank you all for the New Year wishes!
Let's begin 2020 with a continued tour of the pantry/laundry/toilet area.  

The pantry is situated next to the kitchen, in front of the toilet and laundry area.  Ideally there would be a wall and door separating these areas, but as that would mean the areas in the back would be very difficult to see and access, I opted for an open space.  
 I have hung several baskets from hooks on the beam in front of the window.  Over the years I have collected many baskets, but the two hanging from the chains came from Elly's collection.  These two are possibly made by either Esmé Hofman (Netherlands) or Waldemar Backert (Germany) using traditional basket weaving materials and techniques. 


In the alcove between the two short walls I placed a kitchen work table.  The table fits perfectly.  
The lights are the same as in the laundry area, minus the glass globe shades.  I may still put those on there in the future or change them for other lights, as I am not too happy with them.


The work table is by Jane Newman.  The table was covered with tacky wax stains, but I managed to get most of them out with 'wasbenzine'.  I have never found a good translation for wasbenzine.  It is a cleaning liquid (removes grease etc.),  paint thinner and also a sticker remover.  Maybe naphtha? 


It is a simple table but I do love it.  One of the three drawers holds a collection of J.Getzan knives.  I'm sure in time I will find or make lots of items to fill these drawers with.  


One of my most recent purchases which I bought at small local fair is this sack of potatoes.  As a Dutch person of course there had to be potatoes in the pantry!  I could have made them myself, I know, I know, but I just dislike working with any kind of clay.  


I'll be on the lookout for more vegetables to put in the pantry.  Onions, garlic, maybe some leeks and kale... This area is by now means complete, but it will fill up in time.  


On the other wall, opposite the large kitchen work table, I built four spacious pantry shelves.
 I wanted to paint them a blue colour which I mixed myself, but once painted it just looked wrong. Then I spray painted them white which was too stark. The third time was the winner! It is the same colour as the toilet door. 


The little blue spice cabinet is not great quality, but painted blue and aged a bit I now like it. I also like how the 9 drawers correspond with the 9 window panes above the door. 


I finally got to play with my many kitchen pantry items I have collected over the years. A temporary display for now.  There is plenty of room to collect and make more food supplies and pantry items.  
I am going to try and to make some of the items I have in my own pantry.  There already is some Dutch tea, coffee, sugar, cookies and crisp bread on the shelves.  


Top shelf:  Cologne stoneware made by Elisabeth Causeret (France).  In fact, most of the stoneware is made by her.  The painted storage tins (third shelf from top) are made by Cees Eijking (Netherlands).  These storage tins were mostly used in shops to hold tea, coffee and such dry goods.  I have a couple in my full sized pantry as well. 


On the floor is a small and stackable wine rack I made for the pantry. The wood stain is a bit darker than I intended, but it looks OK.  Some of the wonderful wine bottles, like the ones on the shelf with the corks, are by Hanneke ter Berg Verheem of Studio Minimini.

So, as I said, I will be adding items in the future when I find or make them, but the construction work is finished in this space.  Back to working on the kitchen!







This year I thought it would be nice to decorate the dining room of Singel 224.  Instead of putting up a Christmas tree, I made a fireplace garland out of natural materials.  The green branches in the tulip vase represent the Christmas tree.




I knitted the blue, white and silver Christmas stockings and baubles to match the porcelain and silver in the room.   Although it was not the first time I knitted in miniature, it was the first time I actually finished a knitting project!  




The angel stocking could have been a bit longer and the wings are a bit tight so I should really knit it again but I didn't have the time to do that this year.  Maybe next year...(yeah, right!)




My friend Gaby made and gave me two gorgeous bird ornaments. They are so beautifully made!  The birds are meant to go into my Christmas tree but today they have landed on my garland.




I filled my very fine silver rococo basket (made by Jens Torp) with greenery, seed pods resembling pine cones, and slices of dried orange to make a sumptuous  Christmas basket.  Does anyone know which plant these seeds come from?  I have searched online but couldn't find it.  




This elegant basket was also made by Jens Torp, as was the silver candlestick.  The silver coloured Christmas baubles were hand made and painted by Elisabeth Elsner von Gronow.  These baubles are meant to go on my Christmas tree as well...next year ;-)



Have a happy, warm and cozy Christmas!