I made this little Christmas film five years ago.  

Some of you have seen it already as I have posted this before, in 2009.   But you can never have too much Christmas cheer, so I'm posting it again ;-)

I don't think I have ever shown you a photo of the upstairs landing.  Maybe that's because it isn't finished yet ;-)   The photo shows you the right side of the landing, with the door at the front opening into the bedroom and another door in the back, opening into...well, nowhere.   In fact, it doesn't open at all as it is a false door.

A few years ago, on an impulse,  I added a box to the back of the bedroom and the landing.  I just cut out part of the back wall and stuck on an old wine box, giving me space for a small ensuite bathroom leading off the bedroom.

With additional space on the landing and after I decided to remove the stairs going up to the attic, I liked the idea of adding false doors (there are two more false doors on the left).   One of the doors in the back leads to the imaginary stairs to the attic (more on that in a next post).

I have put some of my 'pretties'  on the landing,  a few of my miniatures which do not have a permanent  home yet but which look quite pretty grouped together.  
The chair (by Masters Miniatures)  was my first ever Internet purchase, around eight or nine years ago.  The porcelain plate was painted by me.

Chinese figure blue and white porcelain vase (by Henny Staring?) with a Parrot Tulip.  The beautiful marquetry chest of drawers was made by Chris Malcolmson.

' Flowers in a Vase'  after Ambrosius Bosschaert (1573-1621)  by Leslie Smith  
(3 x 4.2 cm without frame, 6 x 7.2 cm with frame)

                             ....dogs, books and blog readers ;-)

Hello my dear readers!  Good to see you're all still here after my long absence.  I have not been able to do much miniature work these past weeks but I would like to show you the results of two classes I took this year.  

I took another porcelain painting class with Cocky Wildschut.  This time I decided to paint this little dog on six tiles. As an example I used an image of a tile tableau which dates from around 1800.

Often these types of tile tableaux were found in pairs, a dog and a cat (I may still paint a cat in a next class).  The dog and cat represented the good and the bad and with a these on the kitchen walls it would be an every day reminder of the choices we have and make in life.  

The dog represented the good, loyalty, watchfulness and honesty.  The cat represented the bad, the incarnation of the devil (witches),  carelessness  and loose sexual morals.  

The other class I took was by Tine Krijnen.  She taught us the art of miniature bookbinding and (gold) tooling the leather spines and covers.   This was so much fun!  Tine made a beautiful box with tools for us to keep, so we can continue producing lovely books at home...

...well, after a little more practice of course.   The photo below shows my finished book.  The gold is very difficult to photograph and does look a bit better in reality although it is not perfect.   The leather I used on my book did not show the tooling as well as my practice-piece did.

As you can see here, my piece of practice leather shows the tooling so much better!   With all the wonderful tools we got from Tine I can think of so many lovely projects to make.  Oh, the possibilities are endless...now to find the time!

Remember the wax carving I worked on for Jens Torp's class half a year ago?  Well here is a quick update...   After it was cast in silver I worked on it for four more days and now it is nearly finished!

And yes it is a mirror.  I took the mirror 'glass' out temporarily so the wood you see now is the rosewood backing.  I still have to make the stand for it and little silver hinges.  

I will do a full post on the process of making mirror when I have it completely finished.  I will reveal one thing though....it was not easy!  It is far from perfect, but I am quite pleased with it.

This morning I found the December issue of Miniature Collector in my mailbox.  When I opened it my eye immediately fell on a small picture of a little kitchen, my kitchen!  Well, the one I made that is.   It is featured in the Miniature Collector Gallery.

If you are a  regular reader of my blog you may remember I made a 17th century kitchen roombox about two years ago (see here and here).  I made the roombox for Mr. Emiel Aardewerk, an antiques dealer who specializes in Dutch silver and miniature silver.

Earlier this year a beautiful book was published by A.Aardewerk Antiquair Juwelier, an introduction to antique Dutch silver miniatures:  "Tall and Small, Antique Dutch Silver Miniatures".  More than five hundred and fifty miniatures of the highest quality are presented in this reference work, together with twenty-seven full-sized silver objects on which some of them were modelled.

The miniature kitchen I made is featured prominently in the book, displaying the finest antique silver miniatures from the Aardewerk collection.  Below are a few pictures I took from some of the pages in the book.

   'My' miniature kitchen.

 Stunning 18th century silver miniature kettles next to a full sized version.

 A beautifully laid table and information on dining etiquette.

Every home needs a hearth and these are for miniature home, in silver of course!

Specifics about the book:
Title : Tall and Small, Antique Dutch Silver Miniatures
Author: A. Aardewerk Antiquair Juwelier
ISBN :    978-90-818671-0-8
Pages : 288 pages, hardback
303 x 242 mm, 576 colour illustrations
Price : Euro 40.00/USD 49.50 (+ shipping)
Language: English 
Publisher: A. Aardewerk Publishers
Available through www.aardewerk.com or www.amazon.com

....keeps me away from what I should be doing!   

This past week I have been busy figuring out the workings of our new computer.   It is quite a change but I must say I really like it so far.   Installing, uploading and downloading, everything is just so easy!

The thing I was dreading most was having to go without my old photo editing program.  I could ' read and write'  with it as we say in Dutch.   After two days of playing with the editing options for our new computer, I found a free app which is very similar to my old editing program, hurray!

Of course I managed to lose my photos several times before I figured out how to save them correctly and in a way so they can be uploaded to blogger.   Below are a few photos I worked on this week and managed to save correctly ;-)

While the glue is drying on the wall panels I repaired, it is time for a tea break!

The beautiful tortoiseshell tea caddy was made by Keith Bougourd of Small-Time.

In my old files I found a wonderful  photo of an Aubusson carpet which looked like it would be perfect for the blue room.  I have been playing with it in my editing program to get a better definition and colour, and I tried to come up with a way to print an A3 size on my own printer.  

The trial print I did on fabric turned out pretty good, even though it is only an A4 size and not the A3 I want eventually.  The small size did look rather nice in my other dolls house though!

While I was changing things around I also put the armchair I had made for my Christmas House into this room.  I quite like it here so I think I will let it stay.

While I was getting to know my new computer,  I discovered that my main website:   http://josje.bouwt.com/
looks totally different on a Mac than in Windows.   I never knew that!  I have tried to update all pages so that Mac users can also see a presentable website.   I hope you like it!

                                                         ...We all go a little mad sometimes.

Before you all think I have gone a bit psycho,  don't worry,  I don't hate my dolls house. I still like it but I made a little teensy tiny mistake while building the shell of this room. I copied the location of the windows from the yellow reception room which is in the middle of the building.

Inside the blue room the location of the windows is fine, but as this room is at the front of the building, the windows have to be in an exact position to ensure symmetry on the front gable. One of the windows was a centimetre too far to the middle and so I had to take out the window.

Looks pretty don't you think?  Alas, everything had to come off.  As I didn't have any of the painted wallpaper left (it is wallpaper by Susan Bembridge  which I painted darker with a colour I mixed myself), I had to rescue the paper which was on the walls. 

I tried several methods to get the wallpaper panels off the wall, but I had been very thorough when sticking it on and I couldn't get it off.  That's when I thought of my carving knife.  Wonderfully sharp, it worked a treat!

I then used my fretsaw to cut the window loose from the wall.  Nothing too difficult, just a matter of cutting straight around the window.

Oh no, what have I done?!   It looks awful, but it had to be done.

After cutting another strip out of the wall,  I could put the window back in, in the right position this time.  I must have checked the drawings and measured it ten times to be sure I was correct this time.  I certainly don't want to be having to change all of the windows again in a few years time when I am ready to finish the outside of the gable!

I filled in the gap on one side with what I cut off on the other.  A perfect fit, thankfully.  But what a mess! The strips of wallpaper I removed are not wide enough to cover the new space between the windows.  I'll have to come up with a solution for that soon.
I also removed the centre part of the panelling and made an insert for that but I'm not sure I like it.  I will probably end up making a new bit of panelling.

Oh dear, how will it end? I am sorry to leave you in such suspense ;-)

                                  ...definitely not!

Hello again! 
After an absence of more than a month in which I had a lovely vacation and didn't do much miniature work,  regular life started again this week.   On Thursday I thought I would make a little tutorial on how I do the gilding on my miniatures as this was something I had promised to explain to one of our fellow bloggers. 
I thought making a video would be the best option, so it would be as if you were taking a class and you could all see what I do .  Quick and easy.  Or so I thought.   Oh the filming was easy enough, but then the process of trying the get the video from the camera onto my computer....

It took me 2 and a half days (yes, really!)  and all of my wit and ingenuity to get it downloaded onto my computer, edited and then uploaded onto YouTube.  It was driving me up the walls!  And yes, I read the camcorder's instruction manual, installed their software and googled every imaginable option.  It just didn't do what it said it should do.   Grrr,  so annoying!  Next time I will just use my digital camera's video function.  It may be of lesser quality but I have it downloaded (in the right format!) in a few minutes. 

Gilding miniatures with gold leaf (part one)

In this video I show and talk about some of the miniatures I have gilded and about the materials I use for gilding dolls house miniatures. 

Gilding miniatures with gold leaf (part two)

In this video I show you how I do the actual gilding of my miniatures.  The process is really very simple but the results are great!

The videos are much longer than I anticipated, so if you have a spare half hour, get yourself some tea or coffee, sit back and watch.  I hope it is of some use to you!  Obviously... ;-)))

                         .....and crowned by a laurel wreath.

This past week I have been making a fireplace for the front reception room (or salon) of my Canal House.  I wanted it to look similar to the one in the Yellow Salon, but not quite the same.

Below are some (well, a lot actually) work in progress photos, but first one of the finished fireplace. 

I start with a general idea of what I want it to look like and then just search for the right materials. The square ornaments on the corners are by Sue Cook, which I have had in my stash for many years and finally got to use.   

As I wanted this fireplace to be a little bit different from the one in the other room, I decided to marble it in grey tones.   I cut acrylic mirror sheet to size and aged it using the same technique I used last time. 

I thought the grey colour was 'cool' enough to act as a balance for some gilding.  I used 23 carat gold leaf on the mirror frame moulding.

Some more marbling...the tablet on the chimneypiece needed a stronger colour than white.
My first Canal House's distorted reflection in the mirror. 

 ...And more gilding.  I added a large gilded laurel wreath to the marble tablet on the chimneypiece.

And then I also gilded the sconces.  The style of the sconces is not quite right,  they are a bit too Rococo.  But they'll have to do for now (and they are very pretty), so I changed them a little bit, cutting of some of the scrolls, adding some bows and gilding it all.  

 Working on the room.  I finally finished the two windows for this room.  They are a lot of work and I must admit I find it a bit boring.  John of Merriman Park suggested making some sort of jig to make the windows as there will be something like 40 windows in total for this house.   Unfortunately the windows change in size on all floors, so I'd have to make several jigs as well.  Does anyone have a good idea on how to do this?

The marbling on the fire surround took me a whole day to get it right!  Too light, too dark, too blue, too beige, too grey, too blotchy,  too plain...etc.  The photo below was taken with flash, so it isn't quite the same colour as in reality but it is close.  I like it. 

                              sweet  adj \ˈswēt\   

                             -delicately pleasing to the eye 
                             -very good or appealing
                                   -skillful, proficient
                                   -awesome, cool, amazing, sick, rad, etc.  

I am sure this has happened to you:  while searching the Internet for some information, you come across all sorts of interesting links and you get sidetracked from the original search.  Yesterday was one of those days for me.  I found the wonderful flickr photostream of Tim Sidford  ('sweetington').  While I had planned to work on a fire surround,  I could not help myself and spent the best part of the afternoon and evening browsing through his photos.

 With permission, here is a preview of some of Tim's work:

Photo by Tim Sidford

A Gothic Whimsy, scale 1: 18

Photo by Tim Sidford

Red carpet glamour, Lobby, Sweetington Hotel scale 1: 18


Tim creates these beautiful miniature rooms using decorative paint techniques and basic materials like card, wood and playmobil furniture.  Hold on... playmobil?  Those little bright plastic children's toys?   Yes, that playmobil! Hard to believe, isn't it?

The rooms have many different architectural styles, from Art Deco to Georgian to Regency Chinoiserie.   An  explanation for this great diversity of styles (many of them in one building!) can be found at  'No.1, Sweetington Square. A History'     
There are different 'sets' in sweetington's photostream.  One I really liked because I can follow the working process, is 'Work in progress...'    I hope you'll enjoy Tim's work as much as I have!

                                                 .....get out of the kitchen!

Well that's just what I did today,  I am enjoying the summer (which has finally arrived) in the shade of  my garden.   I'm doing a little bit of work on the fireplace for the reception room of my second canal house.  I will show it to you when it is finished, it is almost done!

In the mean time I will show you what I have been working on the first half of this year:  a 17th century miniature kitchen.  For those of you who are thinking they are experiencing a déjà vu, you are right in thinking you have seen this before.  Well almost anyway.  This kitchen is based on the one I made two years ago, with just a few adjustments. 

 The beautiful tilt top table was made for me by Colin Bird.  I put in the accessories (silver by Jens Torp)  and the chairs (by John Hodgson) just for the photo. 

                                                  ....or the corset and the tool box.

Hello again!  I know it has been a long time, but you know the old excuse, 'I have been busy... '   In my previous post I showed you some photos from the show in Rheda, today I want to show you a few things I bought at the show.   

 About five minutes before the show closed I came to the table of Uschi Schiffner's 'Petit Corsages'.  Uschi makes beautiful miniature clothes and corsets.  Some of her fifties corsets actually open and close with little hooks!  I could not resist this little blue one, so pretty! 

The corset has great detail, I love the little clips on the suspenders.  With its blue and pink colours it looks perfect in the attic bedroom.   All I need now is a beautiful dress,   I already  bought a gorgeous sparkly necklace to go with it! 

 The necklace is by 'Miniatur Juwelier' Ursula Stürmer.  The gems are Aurore Boreale crystals, topaz and indicolite on gold.  The necklace is very difficult to photograph, it is much prettier in reality.

 The corset and necklace in a bit more detail. 

 I also bought something completely opposite to the corset and necklace, a wonderful metal folding tool box.  Isn't it great?  It was made by Edmund Drescher.

 Edmund had a fantastic collection of metal tools, boxes, tables etc., all working of course!  I love the workings of this tool box. 

And the beginning of my tool collection...I need a lot more!  Next time I go to Rheda I know where some of my money will be spent! ;-)