....and in with the New!  



For practically all of 2017 I have been struggling with the choice of dining table for the Dining Room of the Herengracht Canal House.  The room has a rococo style with chinoiserie influences.  
The period correct tables and chairs I tried in there were too 'twee' for my taste, making the room look a bit ordinary and uninteresting.  

A circa 1800 oak cabinet, lovely but sadly broken beyond repair, gave me a supply of oak boards with a rather wonderful patina.  I wanted to use the wood for a dining room table, I quite liked the idea that the age of the wood would correspond with the style period of the table.  More or less anyway.  

Instead of a period correct table, I decided to make a modern table using thick rustic boards, keeping most of the patina and some imperfections of the wood.  I even used a bit of wood with nail holes (from the handmade square nails which were used in the construction of the cabinet).  

Construction of the table was very simple, cut boards glued and clamped together.  The table legs are a wonderful 3D printed table frame, based on the Tolix design by Pauchard.  I had to do a bit of routing to fit the frame to the table at the right height.



The modern chairs are also 3D printed.  I'm still in the process of finishing them, they need some more sanding and spraying.  There are two black chairs based on Tolix chairs, two black designer chairs based on the She said chair from designer Nitzan Cohen and four white chairs based on the moulded plastic FLY chair designed by Marco Acerbis.  


The MacBook Air and iPhone were made by me from prints from the internet.  I had some fun playing with mat and shiny surfaces and creating some depth by using layers but honestly, it's not looking hugely impressive up close.  



What I do absolutely love is the extension cord and the power plug.  The plastic parts are also 3D printed.  Yes I have been on a bit of a shopping spree ;-)   The cord and metal pins you have to add yourself, as well as finish the plastic by cutting, sanding and spray painting.   I also drilled holes so I could put the plug in. 



So, lots of 'New' besides the 'Old'.  It does make sense in this house, where another modern element, a sectional sofa, can be found in the Blue Salon as well.  

New for me but actually quite old is a silver miniature trofee Saint Nicholas surprised me with.  
The silver marks on it say it is sterling .925  Birmingham 1926, made by Crisford & Norris. 
The inscription says:  Miniature Calder Cup, won by A.D. Loch 1937.

I don't know much about the Calder Cup, other than that it is the professional ice hockey playoff trophy of the American Hockey League and it has been annually presented since the 1936–37 season. The Calder Cup was first presented in 1937,  the same year as the inscription on my cup.  

I tried to find out online who A.D. Loch was, and why he/she won this miniature cup.  I thought it might have been given to each of the players of the winning team, as a keepsake, but again I couldn't find anything about that online.  Maybe I should email the American Hockey League, maybe they know something about it.  

Maybe there was another reason for the inscription, a joke among friends, a trofee for the most loyal hockey fan, a trofee for a young player....who knows.  Any ideas from you are appreciated! 
But it will look  fab on my side table with a bottle of champagne in it.   






When I planned the bedroom I had intended to make a walk-in closet in the room to display my wonderful collection of shoes, handbags and couture fashion (OK, that last one still only exists in my mind, but it will happen one day).

But, the best laid plans and all that... In short, I had to scrap the walk-in closet.  I did come up with another plan to display at least some of the shoes and handbags.  In the two spaces between the windows I made display cabinets with glass shelves.  Each shelf is big enough to hold at least one handbag and a pair of shoes and with 5 shelves per cabinet, that's 10 handbags and 10 pairs of shoes.  It's a start.  ;-)

I haven't had a chance to take photos of the shoe cabinets in their full glory, but you can sneak a peek on the photos below.



The beautiful walnut burr and ivory vanity box with accessories was made by the wonderful Tony of Miniature Treasures.  The walnut is 18th century and the ivory comes from recycled piano keys.  



At the Arnhem show last October I bought another little treasure, this one from Ilona Kraassenberg of MiniMumLoon.  The talented Ilona made a fabulous 3D miniature version of the famous painting 'The Goldfinch' by Carel Fabritius (1654).  Ilona meant to have the 3D image in front of the frame and just put it inside the frame to make sure it was safe during the trip home, but I rather like the deep frame with the bird inside, so for now I'm keeping it like this.

Although I'm not sure of what Fabritius meant with his painting,  I think the image of a chained bird could well be a symbol of a married woman at that time.  So is it fitting to display this in the bedroom?  Hmm...

The painter Fabritius died in a huge gunpowder explosion shortly after he painted 'The Goldfinch'.  The explosion destroyed a large part of the centre of Delft and was so loud that it could be heard more than a hundred miles away.  My ancestors of that period lived in Delft and I find it an intriguing thought that they experienced that piece of history first hand.  I don't know whether they were hurt, or  whether their house was destroyed or anything else, but just the thought of this thin thread connecting me to this somehow fascinates me.  

For other explanations of the symbolism of The Goldfinch, please check out the website of museum the Mauritshuis in Delft.  The story of The Goldfinch is rather wonderfully shown on the website of the Mauritshuis (click here, sound on and scroll down).  







During the summer I finally made a chandelier for the Blue Salon.  The crystals and electrical supplies for the chandelier have been in my drawer for several years but I never had much inspiration.  Until a few months ago.  


I love this photo above which I took with a fish eye lens, which shows floor, walls and ceiling of the room all at once.   

The body of the chandelier is a glass vase.  I drilled a hole in the bottom to feed the wires through.  Quite a delicate procedure with a few tense moments!  It would be a lot easier to have a piece of glass specifically blown for something like this.  


I'm not sure what the large crystal is (or where it came from), but the small ones are clear Swarovski crystals interspersed with little glass seed beads.


My plan to make more chandeliers and wall sconces ground to a halt when I didn't find the seller of the chandelier supplies at the Arnhem fair this autumn.  Unfortunately, the fair in Arnhem was on the same days as the fair in Birmingham UK and the (Dutch) seller of these supplies chose to go to the UK fair.  I was rather disappointed.  Ordering these things online is not my thing, so no more chandeliers this year.  

So instead of making lights I have started to make a couple of light switches and sockets (outlets? which is the correct word?) to mount on the walls.  It is something I had wanted to do for years, but somehow I never get round to making these little things.  


These round ones are for my Singel canal house.  They will look good for most rooms except the Bedroom and the Dining room where I have used a lot of silver objects.  I will try and make similar light switches in a silver colour, or spray them with silver paint.  








With some of the Dutch summer weather colder than last Christmas, I spent several days indoors working on a new room for my Herengracht canal house.  All of the rooms are separate roomboxes which will eventually form the dolls house when they're all put together. 

The new room will be a bedroom situated at the front of the house, above the front door and the Blue Room.  The room has three sliding windows and after cutting the floor, ceiling and walls of the room,   I spent several days making these windows.  


And of course the sliding windows work.  Not a difficult element, but I just like it.  The original sash windows in canal houses would probably have a pulley system, but in miniature that would take up too much room inside the frame.  




When starting on the decor of a room I like to make the fireplace first.  For this room I decided to work in a Louis XVI style again.  That is to say I use elements of the Louis XVI style but other than that I just do as I please.

The decorative elements come from various sources: the corner flowers are from Sue Cook, the leaf detail from E. Elsner v. Gronow and the ram's heads come from an old little casket which belonged to my grandfather.  I marbled the fireplace in light grey colors and gilded the mirror with real gold leaf.  


For the floor I bought several lengths of oak veneer, about 1 mm thick.  I cut the veneer to size with my new table saw and wow! let me tell you how much easier and more precise this saw cuts compared to my old one.  Quite an investment but so worth it!


The pattern of the parquet floor is 'Point de Hongrie' (Hungarian point or Chevron).  For this pattern oak was often used.  I glue my flooring pieces onto a paper template which I have made to fit the room before I start laying the floor.  Even though the pattern looks simple enough, it took quite some time to finish it.   



And then I thought, a little sanding, sealing and finished.  Wrong!  The photo top right was how the floor looked when I thought it was finished, but the colour was just a bit too blond, too modern.

Unfortunately it was very difficult to get the sealer off or to get any kind of stain on.  And believe me, I have tried and tried and tried.  In the end I managed to get it slightly darker and warmer, although it is a bit too pink in places.  At this moment (a few weeks later) the colour is better, less pink.


The next step was to make the door frame and the wall panelling.  The white lower panelling is the same as the panelling I made for the Yellow and Blue Salon.  Above that I made big panels to hold the wallpaper I bought from At Home with Mrs. Hogarth

I thought it would great with the darker colour red around it so I carefully mixed paint colors until I had the perfect match.  The colour looked beautiful against the ivory paint, but once I put the wallpaper panels up, I hated it.  Far too loud and busy.  So, out came the ivory paint again.


Much better.  The bowl and vase set (Cocky Wildschut) and the candle holders (David Iriarte) were bought by me several years ago, specifically for this bedroom.  The colour scheme I had in mind for this room has not changed much so these pieces will go in the room.  


The top of the door frame is decorated with gilded swans (maybe they're not swans but some mythological animal, but to me they're swans).  The swans are a fitting symbol in the bedroom as swans are associated with fidelity, loyalty in marriage and monogamy.  The gilded swans are joined by this sweet swan family.  The swan family was made by Akke Ris.  



That's it for now.  I have started on curtains for the bed and windows, but again I am not entirely happy with the colors.  To be continued...
As I mentioned in my previous post, I was in Tune, Denmark last month where I took two classes.  The first class was with Bill Robertson.  His classes are fantastic but always a lot of work.  Most students work until late in the evening and I am no exception.  And it may come as no surprise then that my project from this class is not finished yet.  So, more on that at another time.

It was rather lovely therefore that my second class was a bit of an escape from the hard work, making shoes and a handbag.  A very relaxed class with Valeria Bonomi of Graffialuna.  


The first day we started working on the Chanel shoes and the handbag.  They are made of leather, fabric, paper and some metal elements.  I even had time to make a little wallet to match the handbag.


The handbag closes with a metal clasp.  Of course there is a little pocket for a lipstick, mirror or credit card inside the bag.  
I changed my bag and shoes a little bit from Valeria's example and left off the big Chanel labels.  I'm not a fan of showing brand names on everything.  I don't mind them inside the bag or on the sole of the shoe which will only show when you open the bag or take off the shoe ;-)    Oddly enough I did like the golden logo on the little wallet.  


On the second day we started making a pair of Converse All Star sneakers.  A totally different shoe of course, apart from the colour scheme I chose.  These shoes are made with linen and paper.  With the great patterns Valeria provided us, the shoes were easy to make.  As I said, a very relaxing class. 


 I had made shoes and bags before, a long time ago when I made my KLM roombox, but it is fun to find out how these were made.  So, the plan is to make more shoes.  But as with many of my plans for making miniatures,  it may be a long time before my plans become reality! 


PS: In the photos the left shoe is seen on the right and vice versa.  The label is placed correctly on the inside ankle ;-)  

Another PS:  I was at my desk writing this post and I noticed the reflection in the mirror.  I had to go back, take a photo and post it.  Such a nice view!


...joins the circus.

Recently I was in Denmark to take part in the Miniature in Tune summer school.  It was a lot of fun and I will show you what I made in one of my next posts.  During the evening sale at the  school I found two lovely miniatures based on well known pieces of Scandinavian design.


The first thing I saw was this child's chair.  The chair is based on the Tripp Trapp chair, which grows with the child, from newborn to adult.  The original (full sized) chair was designed by Peter Opsvik from Norway.  The miniature version was made by Kurt Jensen from Denmark.

The real chair recently received the award 'Best Norwegian Design of the last 100 years'  from Aftenposten and the Norwegian Design and Architecture Center.  



The little wooden monkey hanging from the back of the chair is based on a 1951 design by Kay Bojesen of Denmark.  The miniature cheeky monkey was again made by Kurt Jensen from Denmark.


   

At one of the beautiful stores in Odense I was given a catalogue with designs by Kay Bojesen (that's him in the photo on the left).  I was struck by how familiar most of the designs are and that the designs are much earlier than I had expected.  The baby rattle is from 1932! 
(All photos are from the catalogue)



The chair and monkey join the circus in the child's bedroom in my Canal House.  They fit right in!  The wonderful circus play set was made by the lovely people of Reina Mab Miniatures from Argentina.  

They gave me a little gift of two tiny dolls (just visible in the photo below left) dressed in the local dress of the native people of part of Argentina (and Bolivia, Peru and Chile), the Aymaras.   


The circus is a delightful addition to the ferris wheel (also made by Reina Mab) which I have had for a while now.  This bedroom is becoming a place where kids will spend hours playing with all the wonderful toys.  And if not the kids, I will!

Summer is here... My previous post started in a similar way, only a whole season ago.  I spent a lot of time in the garden these past months and it is high time to get back to miniatures.  I did make time to visit the Kensington Dollshouse Festival in London last month.  As usual it was a wonderful fair where I managed to find some treasures to add to my collection.  


One lucky find was this chandelier, made by Weronica Löhr of Crazy4minis.  It's always difficult I think to find the right lights for a room.  Well, lights which fit my budget anyway, so I was very pleased to find this chandelier.


The lines, shape, style and colour of the chandelier are echoed in the decoration of the fireplace and the wallpaper.  Perfect for the Yellow Salon.


Whenever I'm at the fair in London, I buy some of Gill Rawling's (Petite Fleur) metal plants.  This time I bought a pot of pelargoniums (commonly referred to as 'geraniums') for the Yellow Salon.  I like the contrast of informal garden flowers and pot to the somewhat formal style of the room.  


The table (Alison Davies) and the silver candelabra (Jens Torp) are purchases from previous fairs in Holland.  I still need candles for the candelabra and I want to make a marbled top for the table. 
  Now that I have the chandelier in place I can finish the ceiling. 

And so there are many more little jobs to do.  Perfect jobs for rainy summer days, although to be honest, I hope there won't be too many of those.



It's spring!  We've been having gorgeous spring weather here in Holland so I've been spending a lot of time in my garden the last few weeks.  The daffodils are flowering, the apple trees are about to bloom and several vegetable seedlings are starting to grow.  

In my miniature garden the seasons don't seem to matter.  Flowering daffodils at the same time as apples ready to harvest,  fresh radishes and flowering magnolia, no problem! In the miniature garden everything is possible.


At the DHN fair in Arnhem (yes, it's back in Arnhem again!) a few weeks ago, I found this wire mesh crate (a kit from Art of Mini).  These crates are used by bulb growers to store flower bulbs, but are also used for sprouting potatoes, drying or storing flowers and fruit, etc.  Or in this case, harvesting miniature radishes.  


Ilona Kraassenberg (MiniMumLoon) made this amazing dried sunflower.  
Ilona makes wonderful flowers and plants, mostly very pretty and looking very fresh ;-) But this one drew my attention immediately and I knew it would look great in the Hall of my first Canal House.   


In the Hall I have a bit of an autumnal theme developing, so the dried sunflower is perfect here.  As with many miniatures, it is even better when you can see it up close.  The back and underside of the flower are so good!  Below is a better photo taken in daylight conditions.  Perfect.  Love it!