Last Thursday I went to Amsterdam to visit two canal house museums.  Oddly enough, I had never been to either museum.  It was a glorious sunny day,  perfect for strolling though the city.  



 Standing on the Keizersgracht, looking at the famous Westertoren (the tower of the Wester Church).



We started at the Museum Geelvinck, which is said to be a private city palace located on the Herengracht in Amsterdam.  The house did not seem very palatial to me, although the rooms are very nice.  Doesn't this Blue Room remind you of the Blue Salon in my Canal House?  



The garden of the house is beautiful.  It is based on 18th century garden designs.  The brown brick building in the background is the coach house.  



The second canal house we visited was Museum van Loon, located on the Keizersgracht in Amsterdam.  The photo above shows the rear facade.  I loved this house.  It was built in 1672 and the first owner was the Dutch painter Ferdinand Bol, a student of Rembrandt.  



This house also has a gorgeous garden based on 18th century design.  The building with the blue pediment in the background is the coach house to the main house.



The coach house is visible from the main house and, to ensure a pleasant view from the house, it was therefore beautifully executed in a classical style.  



When we entered the garden from the kitchen area,  this huge bird house attracted my attention.  The 'Birchhouse for Van Loon'  was made in 2006 by Irene Fortuyn.  It is a 1/24th scale (my guess) reproduction of the van Loon Canal House in birch wood.  




Although the ' Birchhouse'  is not furnished, it has rather lovely detailed interiors which are based on the real house.   I thought it was such a fun structure.   Judging by the slight damage to the house, it looked like it actually had been outside for a while.



The staircase in the van Loon house is beautiful!  Very delicately decorated in Rococo style, it looked like it would charm and impress any visitor.  



The complex design of the stair railing is just gorgeous!  
I loved the splash of colour provided by the wonderful Rococo wall clock and bracket.



I would love a similar clock in the staircase of my Canal House, but I don't think I have ever seen anything like this in miniature.



About three years ago I found a beautiful photo of a 17th century chest holding porcelain bottles with precious oils in the archives of the Rijksmuseum.   I thought it could be a beautiful miniature object so I emailed the picture to Jens Torp.  


Fast forward a few years...and here is the miniature version in my house.  The piece is a collaboration between three miniature artists.  The box was made by Geoffrey Wonnacott, the porcelain bottles were made by Terry Curran and the silver is by Jens Torp.   Not a bad threesome, right?  ;-)


Isn't it beautiful?  The original chest had velvet on the inside of the lid.  I may still put some in my small version as well, if I can find a fabric which is suitable.  


In the days of the Dutch United East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or VOC), these type of chests were used as gifts to sweeten deals and maintain good relations with Asian rulers.  


The porcelain bottles were ordered in Japan and the wooden chests were added by carpenters in Batavia (Jakarta, Indonesia).  The contents of the bottles was what it was all about: rare and very expensive fragrant oils.


The box combines three things I love:  wood, porcelain and silver.  Another treasure in my collection!


Most of the miniatures from my Canal House have been packed away during my workroom renovation.  A few days ago I started cleaning the house and putting my miniatures back in there.  It is fun to see and handle all of the things I have collected over the years.  A few miniatures are firm favourites of mine.  Like the yellow rubber kitchen gloves.  

I bought the gloves about ten years ago when I first began working on my Canal House.  I always loved those gloves.  Yellow rubber, hollow gloves, just like the real ones.  I did not pack them away with my other miniatures as they are stuck down with wax and they can't break anyway, now can they?   


Have you ever read 'The tale of two bad mice' by Beatrix Potter?   It is one of the earliest books I can remember reading and I always loved it.  Those mice are so cute.  Naughty, but cute.  Unfortunately I think Hunca Munca and Tom Thumb's descendants have found their way into my Canal House.  

Look what they did to my gloves!  They ate my gloves!  After eating one whole finger it must have not been that tasty after all as they then moved on to more promising things.  A box of chocolates (which was filled with sand) and a piece of crisp bread with aniseed sprinkles made from polymer clay.  The aniseed sprinkles are appropriately called 'muisjes' in Dutch, which translates as 'little mice'.  


I doubt that I'll be able to find another pair of these gloves again.  I have never seen them anywhere else.  I'm glad I had stored the rest of my food items in a closed plastic container so the mice didn't touch those.  Poor little things, they must have been pretty hungry to even start eating fake food!



For the past few days I have been in the process of putting all my miniatures back into the house.  I have a few new additions to my kitchen which you have not seen yet.  I put in a small fridge and a butcher's block which I made many years ago for another small project.  The project no longer exists, but I kept the fridge and the butcher's block.  


I think the plans for the fridge came from a magazine.  It even has a light in there but I still need to plug it in.  I should make some eggs for the egg rack.  The pretty auriculas were made by Gill Rawling of Petite Fleur.  I bought those at the Kensington Fair last May.                    


Kim Selwood made the kitchen chairs for me.  I love these.  They are the 'Clisset' ladderback chairs  designed by Ernest Gimson.  Although they are Arts & Crafts chairs, they closely resemble the typical kitchen chairs which could be found in Dutch kitchens for centuries and therefore fit in very well here.  


In trying to keep the dust -and mice!- out of my Canal House, I have now fitted a large sheet of acrylic glass across the front.  If any mice do manage to get in now, I hope they will follow in their great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great- grandmother's footsteps:  I have left a dust-pan and broom by the back door.  

Hello everyone!  Just like so many other bloggers lately, I have been guilty of being very quiet the last few months.  We have had an exceptionally beautiful summer and as this doesn't happen too often in Holland,  I and many others have been spending a lot of time outside.  

Of course on the hottest weekend of the year I was inside laying a new floor in my work room...My work room is really the garage, but what a waste of space to hand over such a big room to a car, right?  It is much better as my work room/studio.  

Work in progress.  Now the walls look like they need plastering.  I won't be doing that though, yet ;-)

Laying the new floor meant that everything had to be either taken out of the room or moved from one side to the other.  An enormous amount of work!  After the floor was laid I had to wait several weeks for my new cabinets to arrive and be fitted.  

But it is all finished now and I am in the process of putting everything back and weeding out the necessary from the superfluous.   Another huge task.  But an enjoyable one.  I am very happy with my newly decorated room and I know how lucky I am to have such a great space!

A silk embroidery doodle.  Getting a feel for fibers and stitching.  

The only miniature work I managed to do over the summer (apart from taking the 'bone chest' class I wrote about in my last post), was to finally try out some miniature embroidery.   I did a bit of freehand doodling, trying out some silk floss and stitches.  I enjoyed doing it and think I will be doing some more of this.  A bit neater, of course. 

The 'bone chest' I made in Bill Robertson's class two months ago had some work left to do at home.  My search for some tools and materials I needed took me days (yes really!) behind the computer screen.    On  Facebook my friends Hellie Durans and Elga Koster helped me out in my search, and I was so grateful for their input!  It would have taken me much longer to find everything I needed.
Now don't get me wrong, I am not a huge fan of Facebook, but in this case it was perfect.

Miniature Material & Resource Exchange   (click to go to the page)

My friend Hellie (of Durans Dutch Designs) has recently started a Facebook group:  Miniature Material & Resource Exchange.  The sole purpose of this group is to help miniaturists find anything miniature related (tools, materials etc.)  they just can NOT find.  Another miniaturist might know where to find it or have something left in their stash themselves.  

I think it is a great idea.  As a group we know so much more!  Any miniaturist can join the group, hobbyist or professional, doll maker or builder...as long as you're a miniaturist, you're welcome!  Of course we hope many people will join, because again, as a group we know so much more!