Friday, 24 October 2014

Identity Of Some Wonderful Unusual Miniature Garden Items!

 Recently some unusual vintage metal garden pieces came in and were finally put up for sale on Monday, after I'd spent some time in trying to identify them. 

After much delving through all the literature I have here, finally I came across a photo of an identical pond with fish fountain, bird table and sun dial in THE GREAT BOOK OF HOLLOW-CAST FIGURES BY NORMAN JOPLIN. The author stated that he believed them to have been made by a London company who traded as B&S but very little is known about them....other than in 1950 they brought out a series of metal miniature garden items (this pond being one of them) and that they are absolutely nothing to do with the Barrett and Sons Company who often marked their products B&S.
This lovely pond measures 3 1/8" long x just under 2 1/4" deep x approx. 2" to top of fish. It has MADE IN ENGLAND embossed underneath. Although it was made in 1950, it has a distinct air of the 1920s/30s/40s to me! Perhaps that is why I like it so much. I was so tempted to keep it but had nowhere to put it, so go it must!
The fish fountain slots snugly onto the central point of the pond.  The beige paint is a little worn in places but that doesn't matter - it all adds to the character I think! Needless to say this was snapped up very quickly as soon as it went up for sale.
This bird table stands at a height of 3 1/2" high.
This beige painted metal sundial is suffering greatly from metal fatigue both on the base and top particularly. It measures 2 1/2" from base to top of dial.
So the very heavy metal pond with fish fountain, bird house and sundial had been identified. 

Am assuming that the spade and garden roller are also made from the same company even though they did not appear in Norman Joplin's book. The garden roller has MADE IN ENGLAND embossed onto the handle and both these items have the same "feel" to me as the pond, bird table and sundial. sooner had these gone up for sale on Monday afternoon and a KT Miniatures Newsletter gone out, then a wonderful person emailed to say that she too had a pond just the same and knew what B&S stood for......"BYRITE & SELMORE". So there we are... it is very satisfying when a puzzle is solved! I must admit I don't know anything about Byrite & Selmore but needless to say, if anyone else out there can add anything to this, please do let us know - we would love to hear from you. 

This is not believed to be a B&S mower, as it is quite different from the one shown in Norman Joplin's photograph. It is obviously missing a grass box off the front but is exquisite. I don't know the maker but I have seen mowers like this once or twice before. As you push it along, all the rollers and cutter rotate! Does anyone know the manufacturer?

At the time of putting up this posting, just the lawnmower and sundial are still available to purchase. These can be found on the following KT Miniatures' page:

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Some Vintage Musical Bunting!

Ok...I know this is not miniature related in any shape or form, but I thought I would show you what I've been up to, as I've surprised even myself with the result!

The other day my middle son's beautiful girlfriend (she is a music therapist) asked me tentatively if I would make them some vintage musical bunting for a "moving in present", as at long last they are setting up home together. How could I refuse? Even though the only bunting  I 'd ever made up until now has been in 1/12th scale, I still felt quietly confident that this task should be relatively easy in comparison. 

So....first up, I scoured our local car boot sale for old sheet music but to no avail, normally there are loads of old music/piano sheets around but not that particular day....typical! As time was of the essence, I then scoured Ebay and very quickly managed to obtain a whole bundle of random vintage music sheets of varying sizes really cheaply. They appeared to be from all kinds of old song books, ranging from hymns to folk songs. I chose pages from the folk song I thought they would be more apt and the lyrics more fun.
Next, I sliced up about 20 pages of music to make them all the same size using my guillotine. Then at the bottom edge of each sheet, marked the central point.
After that, it was just a simple task of matching up top corners to the bottom central point and slicing up with the guillotine, to make triangular shapes.
Hmm...I ended up with loads of interestingly shaped offcuts, and because it seemed such a shame to simply throw them away, they have all now gone in a carrier bag and stowed away until I can figure out what to do with them.
 I folded each top edge over by 1" and trimmed the excess off the top side edges with scissors.
Next, along each very top edge, I carefully stuck a long strip of thin double sided tape.
After wondering whether to use string, cord or material tape, I finally decided on using some old black and white thick cotton twine that had been stashed away in a drawer (I knew it would come in useful one day). Then as each taped edge was folded over, the twine was sandwiched inside along the fold.  A gap of 1/2" was left in between each triangle, all along the twine. This was the trickiest bit of the whole project due to the fact that double sided tape was being used, as it meant that the fold and fixing in the twine had to be right first time.  Unfortunately I discovered that if I stuck the folded bit slightly crooked, there was no chance of rectifying as the paper simple tore in trying to undo it all. Out of 20 triangles, I mucked up 4 so not too bad. I still ended up with a very long piece of vintage musical bunting....yay!
Am chuffed to bits with the result! Hope this has inspired you this could be adapted using all kinds of old vintage my head is buzzing with all sorts of ideas!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Some Rather Lovely Vintage Tri-ang Dolls House Items...

Over the past couple of days, I have been listing various vintage 1960s Tri-ang furniture and accessories to KT Miniatures website, and which are now for sale.
 I have included multiple listings of certain item such as televisions and tables, bookcases, radiograms, name but a few.
There are also some more rare examples of Tri-ang items up for sale, such as this Garden Hammock comes in pieces and is self assembly...
Even has the original box. 
 Then there is this Spot-On garden roller with original is soooo heavy!
 I have also just listed this delightful pale pink baby bath and stand with original box.
There is a complete Spot-On bathroom set too.
This late Jennys Home plastic kitchen table has an alternative table top.....what a fantastic idea! You have a choice of a red or blue table top and what's more, this has never been taken out of the original packet!
This is a particular favourite of Eavestaff piano, complete with lift up lid and top. There is even the stool and the lid of that opens too, so you can store your miniature music inside!
If you want a "brand new" vintage piano and stool that has never been played with, we have one of those too......a Tri-ang Jennys Home piano and stool still in the original packaging.
I am hoping to list some more vintage Tri-ang over the next day or so...some of which can be seen in the photo above.

So if you have a vintage dolls house and are looking for some Tri-ang 1/16th scale furniture to fill it..why not go take a peek to see what's on offer...there is a large variety to choose from.
Click on the following link to view:

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Fascinating Glimpse Of A 1930s House In An Old Black & White Movie!

Whilst researching for specific information on 1930s houses on the internet, I came across this fascinating 1930s black and white film  of the Highbury Homes Estate, Cosham in Portsmouth. 

The film begins by showing us a wide variety of fireplaces, that  residents on the Highbury Estate would have been able to choose favourites are the wooden surrounds with built in over mantle mirrors. Then the film takes us on a tour around the house showing us labour saving appliances in the kitchen....just take a look at that sink and mangle, plus the gas cooker with the decorative frieze above the tiles and that maid saver with all the pull out "tea, coffee, sugar drawers", etc....absolutely fabulous! Then we are allowed a peek at the " modern indoor bathroom"....quite a luxury back then, with bath, sink and toilet. 

If you are interested in 1930s decor, or maybe needing authentic detailed information on interior decor for a miniature 1930s project (like me), you may find this very useful indeed. The film itself is a bit shaky and also a bit dark in places, but if you persevere it is well worth it.

Towards the end of the film we are shown a selection of streets  from the Highbury Estate which includes Chatsworth Avenue, Highbury Grove and Edgerly Gardens. Those same streets with these houses are still standing even now.  

If after viewing the film and you have quite a few minutes to spare, try typing in any of the above streets in Portsmouth (UK) on Google Maps and then tour around them in Street View - it is truly fascinating to compare what those streets looked like back then to what they look like now! 

After trawling through Street View of the estate, l was left wondering how many of the houses on that estate  still have any of the internal original features remaining, ....haha, actually it is unlikely that none of them still have the gas cooker, mangle or indeed even the maid saver!

In fact, I was so intrigued by all this that I hit on the idea of searching local estate agent websites via Google Search and sure enough, I found a random selection of houses from all three of those roads up for sale at the moment, complete with online internal images of each house. The results of this search were fascinating and surprising....although I found one of the houses that probably had the original bathroom suite, I don't think there were any of the original fireplaces left in any of the houses that I could see. Surely they could not ALL have been ripped out...they were beautiful!

My times have changed!

Monday, 29 September 2014

Fabulous Saturday, 1930s Porch & The Week Ahead!

Many thanks to all the lovely ladies who came to our "Down The Little Old Herb Garden Path Workshop" on Saturday. Everyone worked so hard. Passers by in the restaurant (including staff) who could see us all through the glass wall were fascinated and much so that one or two even ventured in to enquire on what we were all doing....haha!


On Wednesday, my workshop colleague Robin and I will be trekking into London to visit the Museum Of Childhood for research purposes, regarding our next workshop project. For those of you who are antique and vintage enthusiasts, you may enjoy the paint techniques that are to be used on our next workshop project. More info will follow shortly both on our Nostalgia In Miniature Workshop Website - CLICK HERE or here on KT Miniatures Journal too.

So watch this the saying goes!!

1930s Porch

We were thrilled to receive a copy of the latest Dolls House & Miniature Scene "Projects 2015" annual magazine which has now been published and released for general sale. It features our 1930s Porch as a "how to make" feature, which is set in autumn and based on actual real life sized plans from an old porch. The project is incredibly versatile and certain elements could be used in a variety of ways.

For example,  the front door is based on a real life sized 1920s/30s door, including an imitation "sunrise" window panel.  The letter box is simply made from tin foil, cereal packet, glue and paint...yes, honestly! For a quirky touch, we fixed an old miniature newspaper in the letter box! This could be used in not only a modern reproduction dolls house but a vintage dolls house too, maybe?
The aged wooden side panels, including one with an old window, could be adapted and used as part structure of an old shed or outhouse perhaps? The stone wall and tiled roof could be used in an array of other projects.
The porch structure with built in benches could even be adapted and used as a garden shelter?
If you are tempted by all this, do go see the Dolls House & Miniatures Scene website for more details on how to get hold of a copy: CLICK HERE

I am planning to catch up on some serious listing of various interesting antique and vintage items to the website during this week....including some more c1960s Tri-ang pieces from Marion Osborne's collection. So watch out for the sliding strap-line of "at a glance updates" seen on the right hand side of KT Miniatures website "Home" page: