Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Has Been A Busy Easter...

I hope you all enjoyed your Easter...it kind of seems a long time ago now. It has certainly been a busy time here and I've just realised that it has been quite a while since I put up a blog posting so I thought I'd better let you know that I am still here:)

My Easter weekend was spent knee deep in spiders webs, dust and disintegrating  black bin liners, up in two loft eaves, clearing away junk that we had acquired over many years. One word of advice  - NEVER USE CHEAP BLACK BIN LINERS to store loft junk in!  We discovered that we had unwittingly used several and they had simply disintegrated almost into powder...it was disgusting.  The heavy duty bin liners had been  fine though, so not all was a mess. My  two sons were brilliant and got into the tiny spaces that I couldn't manage and lifted the really heavy stuff. Thankfully spiders don't bother me and just as well as there were all shapes and sizes up there!  I could not believe how many "bits" of carpet we  had saved over the years "just in case we might need it" .  Of course we never did!
We did away with all the old cheap bin liners which were in varying stages of deterioration and put as much as we could into brand new plastic boxes with lids.
We decided to be brutal in what we got rid of and very quickly the skip was filled to the brim. Was fascinating what we came across though, completely forgotten toys from the boys childhood such as the early 1990s version of Tracy Island, Micro Machines, Action Force, Action Man, dozens of toy cars, soldiers, Airfix Kits, Subbuteo and so on... including the large scale fort I made in 1978 for my woodwork project whilst on my nursery nursing course. (It was those woodworking lessons where I discovered a real love of working with wood and tools).  Needless to say all these treasures were taken out of the bags and transferred into large plastic boxes with lids where possible, then put back in the loft. We only found a handful of my daughters toys, as most of hers are stored over in the eaves of the side extension. 

 However other things that we found included my 1970s Laura Ashley wedding dress - unfortunately discoloured now as it appears that a suede jacket within the same suitcase had gone a little strange and affected everything around it. Silly me...I think the suede jacket was only put in there as a temporary measure during one of our house moves over 30 years ago, but somehow got forgotten about!
My goodness...I had a 24" waist and weighed just 8 1/2 stone when I got married! I couldn't even get this past my hips now. My children could not believe I could have ever been this small!

Amongst the old baby clothes and old cot, was this beautiful shawl given to me on the birth of my daughter from my lovely old next door neighbour (sadly no longer with us).

We came across long forgotten love letters (both mine and hubby's) and the most gorgeous old school art books belonging to my mum from the 1930s. They are so beautiful that I am going to scan some of the images for family members and for myself, and print off on special watercolour art paper, as I don't think any of these would look quite the same on ordinary paper. I don't want to use the originals as I would be afraid that the colour might begin to fade. As these have been stored away for decades the colour has remained glorious.

I also came across some of my own art homework done as a teenager which my children had never seen and I hadn't actually set eyes on for decades! Sadly they had been rolled up so are quite crinkled. Not quite in the same league as my mum's colourful artwork, but nevertheless it shows a little of my family social history, as I had drawn the kitchen of our Cotswold stone cemetery lodge house (built in the 1930s). The drawing shows an old maid saver cabinet which I remember well, an electric clothes airer and an old Belling electric cooker from the 1950s. Our back door was a solid wooden door about 6" thick and I can remember the key was big and heavy - not something that you could easily carry around in one's pocket. The picture on the right was the view out of our lounge back window. That same view now would be very different as Farmer Long's field on the other side of that hedge is now part of the cemetery grounds plus at the top of the hill is a new school and houses. I suspect the view of the old church tower would no longer be visible from that window. These would have been drawn in the early 1970s.
This was a charcoal picture of the corner of our lounge in the early 1970s. Because the charcoal has faded greatly it is difficult to see the detail, but there is a metal Ladderex shelf to the left with a record player and LP's underneath. The black leather chair is so very 1960s! Standing to the left of the chair was one of two huge speakers with a black mesh, for the record player. The television on legs is so very 1970s, don't you think? Those beautiful lead windows set in stone pillars are now long gone I understand. I loved those windows, they always seemed so magical somehow, but understand they were a pain to keep clean. In the corner is a bureau/bookcase that my parents had when they first got married in the late 1940s.

There has been much reminiscing and laughter I can tell you these past few days prompted by all the wonderful things we had found in the loft...plus some tears too. 

With two grandchildren on the way, plus my grown up daughter having moved back home, I am embarking on much decorating to several bedrooms ...I love decorating and probably just as well:).  Hence the need for lots more space to store additional stuff up in the loft. Also, as it is about nine months ago since Mr KT passed away, I felt it was definitely time to dismantle his two computers from his desk, pack his bits and pieces away and finally dump his old chair which was falling apart. After he died I remember someone saying to me that I will know when it is time to let go of his things.  And it is true. Most of the items had gradually gone in one way or another over these past months but I just couldn't let go of his chair and contents of his desk....it was just as he had left it all those months ago and gave me some weird sense of comfort. But finally about a month ago I suddenly felt it was time that it was sorted out. I could suddenly begin to envisage that room very differently. As I now have a dodgy right knee and no longer have Mr KT to help me carry big dolls houses or heavy stock up two flights of stairs to my loft workroom, things are having to change. 

Surprisingly am suddenly feeling very enthused at the thought of having a downstairs workroom...and all kinds of plans are now afoot.

On my travels last weekend, whilst buying this old pine chest of drawers to contain my daughter's clothes (it is still sitting here in the middle of the room, next to my computer desk),  I came across the most beautiful dresser from the 1920s from the same dealer and perfect for my new workroom....or "Studio" as an old friend suggested calling it the other day. I still need to measure and ponder a little more, but if I manage to get it I will show you it on here.

Meanwhile, now that the Easter holiday break is over and all visiting  relatives have now departed,  it is time to knuckle back down to KT Miniatures. Listing of more old treasures will begin this week and I do have one or two old dolls houses to put up for sale too. 

Thursday, 6 April 2017

How About A Spot Of Miniature Gardening?

With spring now well and truly upon us here in the UK, many of us are busy with our real life size gardens. However today I have been very busy listing quite a varied selection of miniature Britains Lead Garden and other manufactured garden items to KT Miniatures website, for you to feast your eyes on.
I do have an enormous box of Britains Floral Garden items too but they will have to wait for another day as I have run out of listing time for the moment. Maybe your old dolls house has a back yard or space in front or at the side to have a few plants or garden items? Or maybe you could start up a miniature garden on its own? Even if you are not interested in purchasing any of these, I hope you will still enjoy looking at them. I had the plastic Britains Floral Garden as a child during the 1960s, which followed on from the c1950s Britains Lead Garden items, and I still have every single item packed away in Cadburys Chocolate boxes and Moreland Matches matchboxes! I was very organised as a child and looked after my toys, as in those days we didn't have much. I used to design all kinds of garden layouts with my lovely childhood dolls house.

Amongst some of the unusual pieces now up for sale is a round mirror pond with two c1950s J Hill & Co lead swans and freestanding reeds.
 And then there is this  magnifiicent metal lawnmower...
...and deckchair.

Curiously both the lawnmower and deckchair came together and the green paint used on both items is identical so I am assuming that they have been created by the same manufacturer. However, there is no maker's mark. But in THE GREAT BOOK OF HOLLOW-CAST FIGURES there is a piece about a distributing company based in London called B&S (but not affiliated to Barrett & Son in any shape or form who also was known by the initials B&S)  who in 1950 issued a gardening set which included this lawnmower and some other items....YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED TO READ AN OLD KT MINIATURES JOURNAL POSTING

But further to my original posting, it looks like they were not made by B&S, but simply distributed by them. So at the moment the maker remains unknown. However, someone has suggested that the company DCMT made these items...but I still cannot substantiate this. Anyhow, regardless of who made them, I think they are pretty magnificent.

Meanwhile,  the c1930s-1950s Britains Lead Garden Page has been greatly updated with many new additions as from today, plus I still have more to list.  Included is a wonderfully aged old cold frame with seed box, round pots, cats, walls, flowers, flower beds, pergola and much more...even a garden gate with hedges!

Sunday, 19 March 2017

How Strange Life Can Be Sometimes...Does Anyone Else Have This Problem?

Amongst my family and friends, our smoke alarm tales have been legendry.

Let me explain....I had three smoke alarms, one on each floor and all attached electrically as well as with battery backup (over 20 years ago at the time of our loft extension, it was compulsory for them to be electric). So if one went off, all the others would automatically go off too. 

For years we have had trouble with our smoke alarms going off in the middle of the night (never during the day) and apparently for no reason at all.  Mr KT and I would go through a ritual of changing batteries and vacuuming them (yep - in the middle of the night) in a vain attempt to stop them and most of the time it never did stop them. The last resort was to take batteries out and turn the electricity off at the mains, just until the morning so that we could get some sleep! As you can imagine, the noise of all three going off was deafening!

 Even then on one occasion a few years ago, they still went off for a while with all batteries taken out and the electricity turned off!! So how can that be? At that point we got an electrician in to check them out and he was baffled....couldn't explain it other than the smoke alarms could be faulty..or that we may have a spook:) 

So we had them all replaced with new ones but the same thing kept happening all over again, just once in a while. By then, we kind of learned to live with it....we didn't have a choice but I hated the damn things!

If you Google this topic, there does appear to be one or two other people with this problem. It has been suggested there could be a draught of wind, insects and extreme cold as a cause. Well, of course that is possible. But on an ordinary night, with no wind, not particularly cold in a centrally heated house, with no visible signs of insects....and no smoke, the cause is a real conundrum. And for the past couple of years, my alarms had gone quiet anyway.

But then, yep you've guessed it, one Saturday night just recently the alarms started again...all of them,  at 2.00 in the morning. Luckily one of my sons was randomly staying here that night, so at least I didn't have to tackle them on my own:) However, after changing the batteries and much swearing, we decided to leave them going and eventually after some considerable time, the damn things did go quiet.

Anyhow....in the morning, I decided that I could no longer put up with this, and I dreaded having to deal with them on my own.  So a very sympathetic (but I must say a little sceptic) builder friend came around and offered to dismantle the smoke alarms and put three new ordinary battery operated smoke alarms in so would not be attached to the electricity. As he took each alarm down, he did all that was necessary to the now redundant electrical wire ends, and all old alarms were put in a plastic bag by the back door, minus their batteries, ready for me to take to the local tip. The builder friend was just showing me how to change the battery in the three new alarms which were by then in situ....when not one but two of the old alarms started going off in the plastic bag!!! Well I am glad they did whilst my builder friend was there, as no-one would  have believed me. He was stunned, shocked and lost for words, and agreed with me that it just wasn't possible.  As they continued he offered to get a mallet to them to shut them up....ha ha, and as soon as he said that, they stopped. I kid you not!

All seemed well for a few weeks and I was very happy with my new non electric, just battery operated smoke alarms. 

But then, yep you've guessed it....late the other evening, the alarm on the main landing went off. I rushed around the house checking for smoke, absolutely petrified. And then it stopped. And then it started again. By this point, my sense of humour had completely left me and I was just contemplating removing the battery, plus as a last resort taking it down and shoving it in a bucket of water....when it stopped. 

I dunno...perhaps it is a mischievous spook after all:)

Anyone else have this problem?

Friday, 3 March 2017

Stunning Rare Art Deco Dolls House Bedroom Furniture..

 If you are a recipient of my KT Miniatures emailed newsletter or a keen watcher of new stock that is added to my website via the LATEST UPDATE sliding picture box (situated at the foot of KT Miniatures Home Page)...then you will have seen these rare Art Deco beauties go up for sale yesterday. Consequently they were snapped up pretty quick and in reality could have been sold umpteen times over. The lucky buyer who emailed her order in first before everyone else, was from overseas where it was in fact the middle of the night where she was but nevertheless had decided to get up and check if I had listed any more unsold Thame Fair stock! Now that is dedication for you:) !!!!!!

When I first saw these I assumed that they were of German origin, but as yet I have not been able to identify them. Certainly their construction is very similar to some of the more commonly known old German makers. If anyone out there recognises these and can put a name to a maker, I really would love to hear from you. 

Art Deco Dressing Table
This dressing table came in with a matching bedside cupboard and gorgeous chair. They were part of a collection which had been much cherished and passed down the same family, having originally belonged to the previous owner's mother in the 1920s. 
It is of wooden construction in a cream painted finish, with a mirror and one centrally opening drawer. The two cupboards either side of the drawer are non opening so just for effect only. The  dark coloured painted pattern is very much in Art Deco style and gives added charm. 
The beautifully shaped mirror swivels. 
The construction is very similar to many of the German pieces, and the back of the mirror is still covered in the original brown paper, for protection and neatness.

Art Deco Bedside Cupboard
The bedside cupboard has matching decoration to the dressing table and an opening door.

As with the dressing table, the construction and shape of this piece is very similar to various German makers of that era. 

Art Deco Bedroom Chair

Now I have a real thing for old dolls house chairs, I love 'em  - and this one does not disappoint.
It is exquisite! What I find particularly intriguing  is the way the seat pad has been made. It appears to be some sort of open weave material such as hessian, that has been inserted in to the seat rather than simply stuck on to the seat, assumingly a chunk of wood had been cut out for this insertion? Which shows that a lot of care has gone into the construction of this and a sign of real quality.
 So these little treasures are now winging their way on an extremely long journey across to the other side of the world, ready to start a new chapter in their long life!

Sunday, 26 February 2017

The Annual Post Thame Fair Listing Has Begun, Starting With A Few Handmade Items...

Well now that my annual post fair stocktake is over, listing of unsold Thame Fair stock can now begin. Yesterday a few of those  newly created handmade items went up for sale on KT Miniatures website, and although there were not quite so many as usual, it had felt so brilliant to be creating again, as it's been a while since I was at my workbench! But before I start, I will show you a close up photo of one of the tiny handmade vignettes that was sold the other day. It did create quite some interest at the Thame Fair.

And here it is... Nurse Dolly And Her Friends. Many of the items fixed into this tiny scene were vintage and damaged in some way, so it was challenging but great fun to create. I used a tiny drawer from an old smoking cabinet that I'd had knocking around my workroom for many years, so wanted to do something unique with it. The vintage Japanese Googly eyed doll was completely naked so I created a simple nurse uniform based on the one my aunt had made me back in the early 1960s - except I used old felt instead of cotton material.What do you do with an old celluloid doll with a split head....well wrap a miniature bandage around it of course! :) And what do you do with a late Victorian, early 1900s toy lead drummer soldier missing one arm....well you could stand him in the corner and let Nurse Dolly look after him! This little scene was snapped up by an enthusiastic buyer early on at Thame Fair, but I do have some other tiny framed 3D vignettes for sale.

With the birth of my very first grandchild just a few weeks away now (exciting times ahead - yay), I have been pondering on nursery vignettes and pictures for several weeks. Anyway, one thing led to another and I hit on the idea of  making nursery 3D pictures for grown ups....tapping into our own childhood nostalgia. The following two pictures are most definitely not suitable for children and should be kept well out of their reach,  as not only is the glass hazardous to them but there are tiny items that could come adrift and therefore become hugely hazardous in young hands. 

Playtime In The Nursery
 This is a gold painted shallow box frame, backed with an image from the page of a vintage children's book, edged with antique lace and the foreground filled with some of my own handmade items.
Some of those KT Miniatures handmade items include a fixed arrangement of antique toy bricks, a 1930s colouring book, dog on wheels and some of my old books.  The toy sailor has been artisan made but  I have had it for so long tucked away in a box, that I have now forgotten who made it (apologies to the artisan)!

Let's Play School

I have long adored this vintage image of a little girl at her easel, "teaching" her toys. This takes me right back to my childhood, when being the only girl with five older brothers, I spent hours playing on my own when they were off doing football, rugby, cricket, etc. and yep...one of my favourite games was playing  "schools" with my toys. I had an old battered toy blackboard perched on a small wooden easel (it had been well used by the older brothers by the time I got it and was decidedly wonky) and I would perch my few toys on books, boxes and anything I could lay my hands on, as I basically turned into a very bossy teacher! Ah, those were such wonderful days....
Anyhow, in this scene are more of my handmade books, toy elephant on wheels, decorative box, plus a commercially made teddy and an artisan knitted dolly (again, I have had this doll for so long I cannot remember where I got her either, so yet another apology to the unknown artisan). 

Both of these are now up for sale and can be found on the following page:

A Vintage German Style  Kitchen Shelf 
I created a smaller and slightly different version of this last year for Thame Fair. However, this time I have created a more chunky look that was based on my actual antique German dresser. There is something about the old printed tiles and images that decorate the old tiny furniture (and old dolls houses) that I adore, and makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I suppose again, it is that old childhood nostalgic feeling. This has been based on the upper half of my old dolls house dresser and have added real life size tacks to hang utensils, etc. from, just like on the actual dresser.

 The reproduced tiles and frieze is very much in the Delft style. This would look fantastic hanging on the wall of an old dolls house kitchen. It can be found on the following page:

Replica Of 1910 German Dolls House Fireplace

 This, you have seen before. Last year I decided to create a replica of an antique German dolls house fireplace that I have had for years. I had been hoping to find one exactly like it so that I could have another for my old dolls house, but over the years one just hasn't ever turned up. So in the end I'd decided to make one. In fact the couple of spares sold out almost immediately last year, so I decided to create a couple more.

Hence, here we are. The tiled cut out was a scanned reproduced image from the tiny German fireplace, so too the hearth. It has been a given dark finish with acrylics and am chuffed to bits with them. 

This can be found on the following page:

Over the next few days I will begin listing some of the antique and vintage unsold stock from the fair, so if you are interested, do keep a watch of the LATEST UPDATE sliding box at the foot of KT Miniatures Home Page.