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 year ;-)

Have a happy, warm and cozy Christmas!


After the toilet was mostly finished, I started on the laundry area.  The laundry is situated in the back of the room, to the right of the toilet.

The laundry area needs a washing machine of course, so I started putting together all kinds of bits and pieces which I thought I could use for making a washing machine.   Most of them were too big or just too small.  I felt a bit like Goldilocks ;-)

I did make a little door which I was quite pleased with but in spray painting outside a sudden gust of wind blew in lots of tiny specs of dust which meant taking everything off again, re-sanding, re-priming, re-spraying. It came out OK in the end. ⠀

I need a lot more materials (textures really) than I have in my stash so that may take a while. In the mean time I made a trial piece out of card.

It’s a good thing I did do a trial piece because I ran into a lot of problems with paints and glues etc. ⠀

I do like the look of it but it has many issues. The chrome paint is a problem. Even after a two day drying time it came off with the slightest touch so I won’t be using that. I will turn the door on my lathe using brass or some other metal. Maybe even have it chromed. ⠀

I will need to do some serious art work on my computer to create the control panel. I did not make the soap drawer on this one but the next one will get a slide out one. ⠀

The hinge was a problem too. On these photos the hinge is replaced with some duct tape which will not do at all of course. So lots more to do on that one. ⠀

I’ve built a simple frame to support a worktop and butler sink. The butler sink is one from one of my first projects which I have now pulled apart. I spent the best part of Sunday creating a drain pipe for the sink only to find you can’t see it at all ;-) 

For the spaces underneath the sink and counter I wanted to make laundry baskets. Years ago I bought several spools of waxed linen thread for basket making, but after two days of searching for them I couldn’t find them. They’ll turn up somewhere, someday. 

In the mean time I was doing a few odd jobs in the garden (this was back in August when the weather was warm and sunny) and found a huge spool of sisal twine which I thought could be a fun replacement for the waxed linen. So, not hindered by any knowledge of basket weaving, I set to work, making it up as I went along really. I must say I did have several baskets made by other people which I used as a bit of a guide and looked at some photos online. ⠀

The results were actually quite nice so I continued with it. I made a small basket for under the sink and a big laundry basket. They both turned out slightly too big so I had to start again and improve on them a bit as, as you can see in the photos, the sides aren’t quite straight and I stupidly put on super glue which left an ugly white stain. ⠀

It was a nice job to work on sitting in the shade in the garden.  

The second try on my laundry baskets was better.  The sides are straight and they fit!  The large basket pivots around a brass wire on the bottom so you can tilt it forward and drop in some laundry.  A little video below: 

I then made a 3D collage of several old boxes of cleaning products and washing powder for the laundry area. I think it is a fun piece for the wall above the sink. ⠀

I also installed two wall lights, a combination of classic Ray Storey wall lights and two glass globes (Heidi Ott I believe). 

The only thing missing now was a tap for the sink.  I ordered several 3D printed items from Shapeways, one of them the traditional bridge faucet for the laundry area from Paper Doll Miniatures (Kristine Hanna). 

To spray paint these small items, I drilled holes in an old bit of wood and mounted the miniatures in them.  This way it is much easier to hold the pieces when spray painting them.  After a layer of plastic primer I chose a chrome finish for all of the pieces.  

All of the faucets turned out rather nice, although the chrome finish did dry a little more matte than the photo above shows.  

The last thing I added is a laundry pulley which is a clothes rack with a rope and pulley system to raise and lower the rack.  To make it a bit easier for myself I fixed the mounts to the ceiling before I permanently attached the ceiling to the room.  

I love this view through the window! 

Just a few small things I need to fix now.  I noticed the work top is not pushed against the wall fully and I forgot to clean off some of the plaster around the beam in the corner... That will be tricky to remove as it is so far back in the room and completely hardened by now...

And wash the windows as they have become dirty again when I filled the gaps between the walls and ceilings.  Also I am still searching for bottles of laundry detergent, preferably environmentally friendly  ;-)

To the right of the kitchen I have started making a room which houses the laundry area, a toilet and the pantry.  In an ideal world there would be a wall closing off the toilet and laundry area from the pantry, but then you wouldn't be able to see them anymore so I left an opening there.  

Half a year ago I tiled the floor but had done nothing else to the room so my first job was to make the windows.  As this is the basement the windows are fairly small and are situated right underneath the ceiling.  The bottom of the windows is the approximate street level.  They are positioned exactly below the two windows of the Blue Salon.  

In my previous post you saw a little bit of the toilet area.  As I was thinking about how to best position this little room, I pinched a door I had made for the garden room months ago.  It looked rather nice so, being a bit lazy, I used it as the toilet door.  I can always make a new door for the other room.  

In this room the mopboards (skirting boards) are aso made up of Delft blue tiles (well, they are really paper, but sssshhh!). As the toilet area would have been a newer addition to the house, I decided to have a different mopboard here.  I used tiny white real tiles which I bought from Stacey's Miniature Masonry along with the stone flooring. I think it looks better with the toilet too.  

The toilet and sink came from my friend Elly and are by Hearth and Home Miniatures I believe.  There were some bits missing so I made a few changes here and there, and sanded and repainted much of it too.  I made a cool little video with it flushing  (shown in my previous post).  For anybody thinking that was real...sorry to disappoint you but it is a sound effect I used in my video.  

I made the loo roll holder from bits of brass I found in a drawer.   

Well, this will be the last time the toilet and sink can be seen like this, as I am putting up the walls around it.  Now you will only be able to see glimpses of it through the open door.  

The toilet area was supposed to have free standing walls which I could slide out when I had to work on the lights or anything else inside there.  But I ran into a problem with the beams, plus I didn’t like how there would be a tiny gap between the walls where they butted up against the side and back walls.

That annoyed me a few days until I came up with a solution:  I cut a hole in the ceiling above the toilet so that the toilet ceiling can be lifted off to reach the LED’s. (The house consists of a series of room boxes). The rest of the ceiling will be permanently attached and the tiny gaps between the ceiling and walls will be plastered over.   

I  used the same LED’s as in the kitchen and used a semi-transparent piece of plastic to diffuse the light a bit.  The toilet can only be seen when the door is open. As it should be of course.  Some more work to do on this but I do love it so far. 

I really like the serenity of the white colours and simple lines, but it won't remain like this as it will be part of the laundry and pantry as well. At least I will still have the photos ;-)  

Many of you will know I have been posting on Instagram for a few years now.  Recently I have been posting more there than here on my blog.  You may have noticed that through the nice Instagram widget I had at the bottom of my blog.

Unfortunately the widget makers changed some things I wasn't happy with so I removed the widget from my blog.  Pity, as I really liked it.

I know not all of you are on Instagram so I thought I would show some of my Instagram post here now and then.  What do you think?  I will start with this video (sound on!) I made just for fun of the toilet area I was working on a few weeks ago.  This is located in the room next to the kitchen.

Update:  I noticed there is no image in the top bar of the post, so I will include a photo to make up for that.

In the comments of the previous post, several of you mentioned that you were not familiar with water pumps in kitchens, so I will tell you a little bit about them here. 

The 17th and 18th century Dutch were (and still are to a degree) somewhat obsessed with cleanliness and housewives and maids were forever scrubbing, mopping and washing.  Nowadays I would say 99,99% of households are connected to mains water of course, but before mains water was common, many houses had a water pump in the kitchen.

 Pieter Janssens Elinga, ca. 1670, HermitageSint-Petersburg
No kitchen pump but a maid cleaning...notice also the Delft blue tile mopboard.
Pump systems with a tank and valves have been around since 200BC  when Greek inventor and mathematician Ctesibius invents the water organ.  In the 16th and 17th century many more inventions and developments on the water pump followed in Europe and developments continued worldwide into the present day.  In the local archives I even found a 1588 patent for one by Otto Barentsz. from Amsterdam (?). 

1588 patent water pump ( photo source))
The water in the city canals was filthy with sewage and other waste and deemed unfit for drinking even in the 16th century.  Except for cleaning the stoop and street in front of the houses, canal water was not used.  The water needed for all that washing and scrubbing came from groundwater wells and from rainwater collection.

Even this cleaner water was not generally used for drinking.  Clean (drinking) water was expensive and shipped in from the countryside.  Most people drank a very weak beer.

Kitchen pump with one handle (without internal cistern?).  Museum van Loon, Amsterdam.  
The wells for groundwater were often located in the yards close to the kitchens.  Rainwater was collected in a system of tanks and stored in a tile lined brick reservoir, often dug into the basement areas or into the gardens.  Rainwater tanks could also be found in the attics of the houses.  The poorer households made use of public wells.

17th century kitchen in the Menkemaborg, a country house near Groningen, the Netherlands
The well water and rainwater tanks each had their own pump system, so on some kitchen pumps you could see two pump handles and two large taps, each for a different water system.  Other houses had the systems separated, one in a pump house attached to the kitchen and the other one in the kitchen itself.

Kitchen pump and tap (with internal cistern), Menkemaborg
By moving the pump handles up and down or sideways, water was pumped from the large holding tanks into a small cistern located inside the kitchen pump.  With the two handled pump, the cistern would be divided into two separate areas so the water did not mix.  The tiny brass spout to the left of the big tap (photo above) is the overflow for the cistern.  With the cistern filled up you just turn the tap(s) to run the water.

Wall fountain at the Menkemaborg.  
The tanks in the attics provided water pressure to the floors below and made running water from a tap possible without the need for a pump.   That's what the small taps on some kitchen sinks are for.  Running tap water was sometimes also provided to a wall fountain with wash basin in the hallway.  (see photo above).  

Wonderful (silver?) tap on the wall fountain at the Menkemaborg.
Although not much is known about the personal hygiene in the 17th and 18th century, I have seen fountains for washing hands in several large houses.  The one at the Menkemaborg could be a 19th century one, I don't know, but in the 17th century dolls' houses a number of miniature silver fountains for washing hands can be found.

That's all I know about the kitchen pumps and their water supplies.  Below some photos of kitchen pumps I made in the past for several roomboxes.

Kitchen pump (no cistern), 17th century style roombox No. 1 (by Josje)

Kitchen pump (no cistern), 17th century style roombox No. 2 (by Josje)

Kitchen pump in miniature kitchen (19th century), Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Copy of a kitchen based on the miniature kitchen at the Rijksmuseum (by Josje).  See blogpost here.

Kitchen pump (with cistern) from the kitchen mentioned above (by Josje).  See blogpost here.

Thank you for all the lovely comments on my previous post on the kitchen.  I had a problem posting my replies, they all seem to have disappeared into thin air...

I continued working on the kitchen.  As I mentioned in my previous post, removing the side wall exposed the unfinished side of the water pump.   I had wanted to tile it with a lovely flower scene I had painted a few years ago, but it just didn't fit nicely on there so I decided against that idea.

The best option was to just take the top off and put a new one on there around the tree sides.  As always with these types of changes, I ran into all kinds of little things which needed adjusting because of the changes.  But one thing at a time and eventually it all fitted back together again.

still didn't make a new handle for the pump.  As I mentioned six years ago as well ;-) this one is far too big.

Next on the list was finishing the wall on the right side of the room.  I wanted a simple white plastered wall and continue the skirting board of Delft blue tiles.  The tiles then serve as a true mopboard, protecting the walls from splashing water when mopping the floor.

Unfortunately I lost all of my tile files during a computer crash a few years back, so I had to start all over again.  It was a lot of work to find all the right tiles, get them the right size, colour etc. to print them and use them like I did on the other wall.

On to the ceiling.  I found photos of a Herengracht basement kitchen on a real estate website.  The photos clearly showed where the ceiling beams were and how they were part of the structure of the building.  The 18th century dolls house belonging to Sara Rothé shows the same position of the beams in the kitchen.  A cross beam supports the fireplaces on the floors above.

In my kitchen the beams supporting the walls are all plastered over, the rest of the beams are visible.

I made a wide chimney breast over the AGA cooker.  The chimney breast would have been much lower originally but I didn't want to cover up the tiles on the wall.  It was probably shortened during some renovation in the past ;-)  

In a drawer I found a battery operated strip of LED's.  I have never used LED's before but I thought they would look nice inside the large chimney breast.  So I cut off a length and soldered them to the wires of a transformer.  These run on 4,5 Volts.

With normal light bulbs it doesn't matter, but with LED's it is important to connect the plus and minus correctly.  If the lights don't work when the power is on, the wires may be the wrong way round and you'll have to change them over.

I really like the effect of the light coming from the chimney.  For the AGA flue pipe I made a simple round connector into the chimney.  Once the ceiling is permanently attached, the AGA will be kept in its place this way.

More lights were needed of course.  I had kept two applicator caps of hair colour bottles in my stash for years.  They have the perfect shape for pendant lights.  

Making the lights was fairly easy to do:  I cut off the screw tips, primed them, sprayed them a marble colour, cut plastic inserts for them, glued on metal caps, cut brass tubing and threaded wired bulbs through them, glued it all together and finally installed them.  Installing them was the most difficult part!

I must say I think they are a success, I really like them.  Such a pity they changed the bottle caps on the hair colour bottles! ;-) 

And finally, just for fun, another shot of the kitchen in progress.  A little further back.  A messy worker...who?  Nooooo, not I.... ;-)