Tuesday, 17 October 2017

My New Message Board At Last!

Since I moved into my new studio room a few months ago, I had been planning on making a big message board to fit along an empty wall. But since then I just never seem to have had the time to get the project off the ground, although I have been collecting bits and bobs in readiness. My original plan had been to use a large vintage picture frame and antique wallpaper scraps for the backing, but then changed my mind and decided to make a material message board instead.  Last Sunday I finally got cracking with it and surprisingly it didn't take that long really. 


 After clearing out my loft last Easter I came across a pair of old Laura Ashley curtains that I had made many years ago and which I had loved dearly. One was badly stained but the other one was just big enough to stretch over a large canvas previously bought half price in a sale.
A piece of wadding was stapled over the canvas first.
Then the curtain material was stretched over the top and fixed into place with my staple gun around the back edges.
The folded corners were a bit of a fiddle but managed to get them quite neat in the end.
My rather lovely retired ex-workshop colleague friend Robin,  had loaned me a big bag of vintage braid from her loft and had told me to help myself to whatever I wanted from there. There were some wonderful pieces including some patterned braid from the 1920s/30s.
I used lots of random bits of various colours which kind of  coordinated with the material,  and literally made it up as I went along, allowing 7" in between each row.  As I am planning on displaying a bit of all sorts on here in a slightly unconventional way, I decided that I didn't want the braid to be placed too precisely.
The ends of the braid were stapled around the back and well hidden out of sight. Above is a picture of the braid almost finished.
Next was the real fun bit, of securing various vintage and new buttons with thick brown thread, wherever the braid crossed. 
 On the back of the canvas the brown thread was tied securely.


I also had a couple of silk flowers left over from  daughter-in-law's vintage brooch bouquet back in January, so too a couple of vintage brooches, and secured them to the braid crossovers.
Also left over from the bridal bouquet were some old earrings from my mother in law, and they were very easy to fix. All I had to do was push them through the braid and canvas, apply some Tacky Glue, and fix the earring back on the reverse of the canvas. 


Over the past few weeks I have been gathering buttons from various sources. This late c1800s button was bought at a car boot sale.

I used several of these c1920s/30s buttons that came with a Victorian sewing box bought at an antique and vintage fair. 


And finally two metal picture fixtures were secured to the back and then threaded with string, which enabled me at last to hang it on the chosen wall. Although it is for daily use to hold important bits of paper, price lists, business cards, etc., as it is also on permanent display in my studio, I wanted it to be a little unconventional too. 



So I have dug out old picture cards, postcards, tiny vintage cotton reels, vintage packs of buttons, antique miniature dolls, a vintage Rinso tape measure and a piece of vintage lace, and slipped them all onto the board.

It is even perfect for holding a Gottschalk chair which I have put aside and am hoping to use as a template for a possible inclusion in next year's workshop (the chair is proving a bit tricky though and at this moment of time, might have to resort to a Plan B...but that is another story for another day). 

Am rather chuffed with the result of this message board. 

Honestly, this was so easy and cheap to make - almost anyone could make one of these too.  I had considered using a large cork pin board for the backing but am glad that I used a canvas instead now, as it made fixing the buttons, brooches, etc. so easy. 
Celia

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Yay...Another Grandson!

If some of you had been wondering where I went last week as you had been trying to get hold of me to no avail...well, it was because I was busy up north cuddling Grandson No. 2 who made an early appearance. 
Little Jack is just absolutely beautiful and I am thrilled to bits. 

Grandson No. 1 is now four months old and Grandma here is looking after him every Tuesday from now on.  So at the moment as you can imagine, I don't get much work done on Tuesdays! 

After waiting years for my grown up children to have offspring of their own, I had decided that it was never going to happen....and then suddenly along come two grandchildren within 4 months of each other. Am loving every single minute spent with them, and still can't quite believe it!  Isn't it amazing how after 20+ years, all those nappy changing skills, rocking techniques and even those little nursery songs, suddenly come flooding back very quickly :) 

But now after all the excitement, reality has kicked in once more with a vengeance and have been spending hours over my accounts and tax return...which I have been putting off doing for weeks (I absolutely hate doing them).  Unfortunately, the added complication of  all that entails when a spouse passes away was enough to send me into melt down, as I got so confused as to what was taxable and what was not taxable, which bit goes into which box on the tax form, etc. However, after spending just 20 minutes with a lovely accountant, who explained it all in simple English, enabled me to dash back home and complete the online self assessment tax form in less than 10 minutes. The pleasure of pressing that SUBMIT button was immense, I can tell you. 

So now I can concentrate on listing some rather exquisite and in some cases quite rare antique miniature treasures to KT Miniatures website over the next couple of days or so. 
Celia

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Jenny Kallin Exhibition - Exquisite Dolls House Inspired Art


Just to let you know that a small exhibition of Jenny Kallin's wonderful drawings is currently on at the moment and continues until November. It is taking place in a rather splendid cafe in Walthamstow (London), details of which can be found on this poster below.

Jenny, having obtained an art degree quite some time ago, has always loved art. And although she has been a library conservator up until last year,  she has always kept up drawing along the way.

Jenny told me that being a huge dolls house fan, she uses her own dolls house collection for inspiration. 



Some of her lovely work can be seen above and below. 

She usually draws in ink after a quick pencil sketch, and also uses coloured pencils. She tries to avoid making the drawings look twee and cute, but  instead aims for a more dream-like and not too photographic style. Her pictures are centred around a cosy home atmosphere and the wonderful miniature furniture that was crafted to copy real life sized furniture from the day. 

You can get hold of Jenny by email on:


If you are around the Walthamstow area in London for the next few weeks, then why not go take a peek at Jenny's work. She can take commissions but it would probably have to be unframed if it has to be sent through the post. 

Celia


Saturday, 30 September 2017

Possible New KT Miniatures Workshop Next Spring...Anyone Interested?



After Robin Britton and I closed the doors on our joint Nostalgia In Miniature Workshops venture in July of last year due to her retirement, I did promise to let you know when or indeed if I was to start the workshops once more. Well folks, I have news at long last. Yep, I am planning a new workshop for next spring.

 As One Door Closes, Another One Opens - Hence New Beginnings....
 Just Some Of Our Old Nostalgia In Miniature Workshop Projects From Previous Years
 All future workshops will come under the banner of KT Miniatures, as Nostalgia In Miniature Workshops no longer exists as such and the original website has been discontinued. However, if you want to see photos of all the old workshop projects, they can now be viewed in KT Miniatures Archives:



Similarly the old workshop blog can still be viewed via the following link, but it is now closed and nothing new will be added to it miniatureworkshops.blogspot.co.uk  


I plan on using the same ethos and basis as before ie. all are welcome, beginners and experienced miniaturists alike. Plus we will use ordinary everyday materials, as well as alternative techniques to create beautiful miniatures. It feels a little daunting and rather odd at the thought of doing all this on my own without Robin, but am very much looking forward to the challenge.  Although actually she has kindly offered to assist on the day of any workshop and undertake duties such as hand out paint, glue and materials, and even engage in some friendly banter:). Ha ha...we can't keep her away!   

New Project In The Planning...





I do have a rather super project in mind of a freestanding 1/12th scale antique German style kitchen. It will have two sides, a back and a base plus separate pieces of furniture. In fact the basic kitchen frame is not too dissimilar to those which can be seen in these two wonderful old postcard images above. 

This particular project should be quite versatile and adaptable, and you will have plenty of scope to use your own imagination and creativity with it as you please. The real antique miniature German kitchens and accompanying furniture costs hundreds of pounds these days, and are becoming as rare as hens teeth to get hold of! So I am hoping that this particular project may appeal to both antique and vintage dolls house collectors, as well as miniaturists alike.

Are You Interested?

In the first instance I need to assess if there will be enough interest in this project to proceed. If there is, I will then try to confirm a booking with our previous workshop venue - Bicester Garden Centre (right next to junction 9 of the M40). And if that is unavailable then I will seek an alternative Thame venue.  I am considering a Saturday in the spring of 2018 (although please see note below)*. Therefore if anyone reading this would like to confirm an interest in attending my workshop next spring without any obligation at this stage, then please do get in touch with me asap. (email: info@ktminiatures.com) and I will add you to the "Possibly Might Like To Come To KT Miniatures 2018 Workshop List".  Meanwhile I will crack on with the prototype.  Due to logistical reasons I will have to limit numbers to no more than ten people at any one session.

Am Considering Running The Workshop Over Two Days.
*At last year's workshops, a few people asked if it was possible to run future workshops over two days ie. a whole weekend, as our projects have often been quite complex and it was sometimes felt more time was needed to complete. I am very open to this suggestion and am going to explore this possibility with the Bicester venue. However, I am aware for numerous reasons that some people will only be able to attend for one day...so am currently considering if there is a way I can do both options and keep everyone happy. Of course, as always with all our previous workshops, all attendees will be given a comprehensive folder of instructions plus a complete kit, so you can continue to complete your project at home. 


Meanwhile I will show photos of the prototype as it evolves over the next few weeks. I am currently working on different variations of an old German style kitchen range - one of which can be partly seen above. Am planning on having variations in colour and design, so that it can be adapted to the attendee's taste and needs. 

If anyone would like to be added to my KT Miniatures monthly "Workshop Newsletter" (is separate from KT Miniatures normal monthly newsletter) then please feel free to email me.

 Celia

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

KT Miniatures NEW Archives Is Now Live....

It is a very long time coming but I am delighted to announce that I have finally got around to creating a proper Archives section for KT Miniatures various antique and vintage dolls house items, some special collections and also handmade scenes...amongst many other miniature related items too. 
You will find the Archives link at the far end of the main navigation bar at the top of my website. Just click on the link and it will take you through to a main holding page. Simply scroll down and click on each relevant link that interests you. As you can see above, there are sections of sold antique and vintage dolls houses. I will continue to add items of interest as and when I can, as I do have more photos and details tucked away in old files but all this is extremely time consuming, so it will still take some time yet before it is complete.


You will also see special collections that have been sold over the years, such as "The Builders Collection". Long standing followers of KT Miniatures may remember these old items that were found in the loft of a house that was being renovated by a builder. He was going to throw the whole lot away in the skip thinking that they were rubbish but then discovered some pieces with "Pit-a-Pat labels on and rang me for advice! Needless to say I told them that they were quite valuable indeed and most definitely not to chuck them in the skip! The rest is history.
And can anyone remember the story of the lady who rang me out of the blue because she had found some miniature plants tucked away in a teacup at the bottom of a box of china that she had won at auction. It was the china she was buying so was not expecting to find these tiny rare Beatrice Hindley treasures in her auction goodies. But after a little research she discovered that they were valuable and thankfully gave me a ring. I nearly fell off the chair when she told me she had four that she wanted to sell..ha ha... that really was a magical and rather memorable phone call!

Amongst the Archives I have included several of my articles written over the years on various antique and vintage miniature items, including one about this intriguing 1920s/30s dolls house. Or was it a dolls house - it had been suggested that it could have been a trainee architects model?



Also included is a concise gallery of KT Miniatures creations. There are a variety of commissoned projects on there and projects created for various magazines too. The scene above was a commissioned piece of a wartime hospital ward at Xmas - was another favourite of mine.  Plus there are joint projects with Robin Britton (my now retired workshop colleague) and miniature scenes I made simply to sell via KT Miniatures, all within this section. 


You will  find one or two projects on there that are also in video form as well as a pictorial gallery form - including one of my most favourite projects of all time - Robin's and my joint magazine project - The WW1 Dugout, Trench & Poppyfield. Later sold to raise funds for The British Legion.


Plus On A Cold & Frosty Morning...The Morning After The Night Before. This again was auctioned off later to raise funds for Breast Cancer Campaign. 

And finally right at the end of the Archives, I have included a pictorial gallery of all the workshop projects Robin and I created over several years, under the banner of  Nostalgia In Miniature Workshops. Above you can see the very last project we undertook - An Early 1900s German Style Shop. 

To view  KT Miniatures Archives, please click on the following link:


Well I have spent many hours and had great fun going through all my old files to create KT Miniatures Archives. Has brought back so many happy memories. I hope that the information and photos will be of interest and a useful resource for antique and vintage dolls house collectors, and miniaturists alike.

 Celia

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Vintage Hobbies Toy Farm No.249 Special & Assorted Lead Animals, etc.



 
This set of three rather lovely vintage wooden farm buildings built from a Hobbies Model Farm Kit No.249, and array of assorted vintage lead animals, etc. went up for sale on KT Miniatures yesterday. I know this is nothing to do with dolls houses but to those of you out there who like anything miniature, then this little farm set may appeal to you. It is  bursting with nostalgia!
 The three farm buildings have been delightfully homemade from a Hobbies kit which,  as far as I know,  first appeared in the c1954 Hobbies Annual as a  three page feature of instructions, plus full cutting plans.

I believe that this kit and plans were available for a number of years, right into the mid/late 1960s. 
The farmhouse is exquisite. It consists of one main wooden house with two additional removable outhouses each end, plus a hinged lift up roof panel at the back.The roof paper is the instantly recognisable red version of the Hobbies roof tiling paper which was so often used on our old dolls houses. However, interestingly the walls are papered in what is described in the handbook as "concrete block paper". There are windows front and back, so too a front and back door, both hinged and opening.
The windows are glazed with what is described in the handbook as transparent material. 
All the windows have hand painted glazing bars and yellow painted curtains. 

The farmhouse interior is an empty shell. 
The combined dairy, piggery and cowshed is also exquisite. 
The dairy room has a hinged opening door.
The piggery has a half opening door and low wall. 
The area inbetween is the cowshed.
The stable block is particularly exquisite too.
 It has all four half stable doors, all hinged and fully opening.


 In the plans it shows instructions for a large barn too and fenced base, but sadly they are long gone.


There are 31 lead figures, animals, etc. that are accompanying this little farm set. Obviously someone has collected these over a long period of time as they appear to range from the 1930s right through to the 1950s. The manufacturers include Taylor & Barrett, FGT & Sons, Britains and John Hill & Co. Antique and vintage dolls house collectors will recognise those names I'm sure. I personally am a massive fan of all things 1930s so I do have a number of Taylor and Barrett items amongst my own dolls house collection.

Meanwhile, I have had great fun setting up the farm with all the lead animals, etc. for the photographs. It has brought so many memories back as being a young child from the 1960s, although we did not have lead animals, we did have plastic animals and I spent hours of fun playing with my brother's plastic animals...(and cowboys & indians come to think of it).
 




At the time of writing this blog, the above is for sale and can be found on the following page: