Two days ago I was writing a new blog post when I started wondering how long I had been blogging for.  My first blog was a Dutch weblog which was part of my website.  When my website and blog grew, and more of my readers were non-Dutch, I changed my blog to a dual language one, and finally, just my English blog here on blogger.

I had to search for my first weblog, I could't even remember what is was called! But as it is still online, it didn't take me long to find it.  From there of course it was easy to find my very first blog post.  The date?  February 13, 2006.

Which means... today is my 10 year blogging anniversary!
It was fun to read some of my old blogs again, they are such a great documentation of my miniature explorations.  Thank you for your support and all of your wonderful comments all this time!
I made a very small photo selection from some of my posts of the last ten years:

28 December 2006:   Building the back wall of the bedroom.  Toile de Jouy wallpaper.

In the collection of the Rijksmuseum is this ' flessenkelder', a beautiful chest with porcelain bottles and silver mounts.  The Japanese porcelain bottles contained highly desired and precious fragrant oils.   The chest dates to 1680-1700 and was used as a diplomatic gift by the VOC (Dutch East India Company) to give to Asian monarchs.



Several years ago I sent photos of the chest to Jens Torp, thinking it would look fabulous in miniature.  Jens liked the idea and joined forces with Geoffrey Wonnacott (wooden chest) and Terry Curran (porcelain bottles) to make the miniature version.  


On my last trip to the Rijksmuseum I brought my miniature 'flessenkelder' with me so I could see the pieces side by side.  I must say it was quite special!

I have thought of adding another name to the three who have worked on this chest, my own!  I would really like to ad the velvet lining to the lid, as the original has.  Would I dare to do that?  Yes, I think I would.  But only if I can find a suitable fabric.

More photos of the chest in my post here.


  °~°~°~°~°~°~°~°~°~°~°~°~°~°~°~°~°~°~°~°~°~°~°~°~°~°~°~°~°

When I started building my first dollshouse thirteen years ago, I used any material I had available which I thought would be suitable for the job at hand.   I used things like fruit crates, bits of wrapping and packaging material such as card stock and plastics, and the foam which was used to protect grapes from bruising.

I also printed some of my own fabrics and wallpapers.  It was at that time when I started to think about the materials I was using and what would happen to them over time.  Most of us know that materials can deteriorate through the influence of environmental factors .  Light, moisture, dust, bugs,  chemicals, or a combination of these, all can contribute to a slow decline of the state of the dollhouse.   (Lets not forget rodents...just look at what those little critters did to my kitchen gloves! ;-) )

'Ontbijtje'  (Breakfast') by Willem Claesz Heda (1594-1680)

But sometimes it is the materials used by the artist which cause the problems.  I was reminded of that when I saw this painting (above) by Willem Claesz Heda at the Rijksmuseum a few weeks ago.   The scene of a breakfast of fish and poultry shows the painter was a master at depicting different textures and surfaces.   

It may not seem immediately obvious, but the painting is missing some colour.   The Chinese porcelain bowl and jugs should be blue and white.  A good quality blue pigment was very expensive at the time and as the painter did not have the funds for good quality pigment, he used a cheaper and lesser quality pigment for this work.  Over time the poor quality blue colour faded badly.  

Photoshopped blue added 'Ontbijtje by Willem Claesz Heda.  
Just for fun I did a bit of quick photoshopping and painted in the missing blue of the porcelain.  It probably isn't the right blue colour and the blue in the rest of the painting has faded away as well so the balance isn't quite right, but it still gives an idea of what the painting should look like.  

The moral of this story obviously is to use the best quality materials you can find or afford.  Of course I don't presume my dollshouse will still be around in 350 years , but I would like it to last for quite some time yet.  Especially the paper and printed miniatures I have made for my dollhouse have started to show signs of fading and wear.  

So, although I am no expert at this,  I do now try to use materials which will probably last longer or have less of a chance of reacting badly to light, moisture, oxygen, chemicals etc., like acid free papers, archival varnishes, paints with good quality pigments, not using glue on fabrics etc. 

'Ontbijtje' by Willem Clasz Heda (detail with blue added).
In my dining room I would like to use a version of this scene, either on a side board or on the dining table.  I think it would look fantastic!  I do still have some more collecting to do though.  And possibly make one or two pieces myself.  Who knows.  


I leave you with this short clip of Jens Torp at work in his workshop, from the KDF documentary 1:12 about the charming world of dollhouse makers and the festival.  Watch the full 20 minute documentary (and more!) on the KDF website here: