Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Some Pit-a-Pat Items That Don't Come Along Very Often...

As an antique and vintage dolls house collector with a special passion for the 1930s/40s era, I just love the c1930s Pit-a-Pat dolls house furniture. These particular pieces are becoming increasingly difficult to find so it is not often that I have any to sell on KT Miniatures' website these days. However yesterday I was delighted to be able to put up for sale three separate listings under the Pit-a-Pat heading. 

The first was a Pit-a-Pat gas cooker. Now not everyone is a fan of these Pit-a-Pat items, and I do understand. Isn't there a saying that goes something like..."one person's junk is another person's treasure"? Personally I find that there is something so enchanting about the Pit-a-Pat style but am not sure if I could actually explain why, other than in my eyes they simply ooze nostalgia. So maybe it just reminds me of my own childhood, as I grew up in a c1930s lodge house and went to an infant school that was housed in a c1930s building. Much of  the furniture in my childhood home originated from the1930s and 1940s.

Now ok, it may be missing the top plate rack and the paintwork may be described as rather worn, but at least the main structure is there and it still retains its very special Pit-a-Pat charm.
The door still has its original bead knob and opens, although the original Pit-a-Pat lettering is missing off the door. I can't quite decide if a previous owner has deliberately scratched it off, or if the white panel of the door has been painted at some point in the distant past? The original metal tacks are still present that represent the control knobs. 

 The door opens to reveal the original two wooden shelves. 

  The two round mesh disks that represent the gas rings are still intact which is rather nice, as these are so often missing. I quite like the criss cross scored lines on the cooker hob top that the manufacturer has added for extra detail. As mentioned above, the rack is missing and should sit on top of the plinth at the top of the cooker back. 
Around the back of the cooker you can see the original black and red Pit-a-Pat paper square label still fully intact, which is nice to see. Did you know that a Pit-a-Pat item is more valuable with the label than without? I am not surprised that this little gem sold within an hour of going up for sale. 
 Another piece that was put up for sale yesterday, is this sought after white painted wooden Pit-a-Pat kitchen sink with drainer. 

Again, like the cooker, it is missing something ie. the original taps, but a previous owner has cleverly added two bent nails to represent the taps. 

The wooden sink has been created to stand on a wooden frame.

It is particularly delightful to see the separate grooved wooden draining board present. It slots onto either side of the sink edge. Again like so many of the Pit-a-Pat pieces, any separate loose components were easily lost in young hands. The metal taps appear to be another commonly seen casualty, as they tended to drop out over time and then become lost forever. 
Of course, you do not have to have the draining board but it would be a shame not to. However having this option does make this piece very versatile. 
And like the cooker the original red and black Pit-a-Pat paper label is still present. 
And finally, this Pit-a-Pat rexine upholstered three piece suite was also put up for sale yesterday.
 This is probably one of the most instantly recognisable of all of the Pit-a-Pat pieces and so very 1930s in style! Rexine is a type of mock leather material that was used in the 1930s.

Underneath the sofa is the original oval red and black Pit-a-Pat label, which I understand is believed to have been the earliest of the paper labels, dating from approx c1932-1934.The square label as seen on the cooker and sink above, is believed to have succeeded  the oval label. These chairs all have the original bead feet. 

At the time of writing this blog, the cooker had been sold but the sink and chairs still available. All can be seen on KT Miniatures' Pit-a-Pat page: CLICK HERE

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

What A Beautiful Wedding....These Past Few Weeks Have Been Full On!

With just three months to plan a village hall wedding reception for my son and his partner, life has been rather full on just lately with Xmas in between, but we finally managed to pull it off  last Saturday..and what a magical day it was! Thank goodness the snow stayed away, but blimey it was freezing. The actual wedding took place in the morning at Oxford Registry Office, utterly lovely and emotional with just family and two very close friends...and then the reception/party took place at a local village hall for just under 150 people later in the day! The bride looked radiant and beautiful, her brother sang and played the guitar as her father walked her up the aisle...was a very special moment indeed.  

The  vintage brooch and fabric flower bouquet was a sensational success....phew! The dress was made by the bride's friend - it was gorgeous.

Our brief given three months ago from my daughter-in-law to be and my son had been "a twinkly, sparkly, woodland kind of effect on a minimal budget and an informal big party for family and loads of their friends"...they definitely did not want a stuffy, expensive and formal do.  So that is what we gave them and we used as much creativity as we could muster between us all!

 In the centre of each of the 24 tables a pile of vintage books were placed and standing on top of each pile we had an old style Mason jar, a purple ridged glass jar plus a tiny mercury glass tea light jar - all bought for a snip in bargain shops or in sales - we never paid full price for anything! The  jars were filled with a combination of white and blue battery lights  on a string, and tiny submersible battery lights bought from Ebay and Amazon  (cheaper when bought in bulk). To aid the seating plan, every two sets of tables were named after a famous musician, complete with an image of the artist stuck to a wooden spoon stood in a glass...I was on the Jimmi Hendrix table:)
The lights in jars gave a stunning magical effect when the hall lights were dimmed. Running along the table centre  from each side of the books  were fairy lights (bought from Poundland in November before the Xmas rush) wrapped in eucalyptus leaves. 

Very pretty indeed.

My ginger cat Freddie was very impressed with my cans too!

For the two massive  main hall window sills, we used large empty Morrisons grapefruit tins, decorated with cheap braid and tiny wooden butterflies from "The Works" sale...16p each! Special thanks must go to my friend who very kindly munched her way through the tinned grapefruit when I couldn't face eating anymore!!! 

I then sprayed large beech twigs with white paint on my patio...
but unfortunately even though I had covered my patio with bin liners before spraying....I still managed to create a rather splendid white border around the outside!!!! The one photo of evidence of this can be seen above, taken on my mobile, completely out of focus because I was in complete shock after I removed the bin liner - I  thought I had been so careful. It did eventually come off after much scrubbing with water and a broom though

 Then the twigs were fixed into the cans filled with gravel and  more battery fairy lights were draped around the twigs. Large Mason jars filled with battery lights, coupled with draped ivy completed the look and really did look pretty, especially as the lights reflected in the windows against the backdrop of the black wintery night sky.
The hall walls are covered in bright blue accoustic boards all the way around the room and we were not allowed to pin anything to them...they were so dominant and quite hideous actually (why on earth have them bright blue?)....so much head scratching was spent over what to do about them. But then my lovely sister-in-law had the ingenious idea of perching loads of the tiny battery tea lights along the top. The effect was truly magical, as they created wonderful shadows above. 

In the food hall we used slightly different decorations.

 More empty cans of grapefruit decorated in the same way as the others, but filled instead with pretty pussy willow twigs and decorated with fairy lights. Large floor standing tins bought half price from a local florist (they were old and bashed) were filled with willow twigs from a friend's garden and more pussy willow with fairy lights. Additional cheap Mason jars with blue and white lids were filled with more lights, and tiny crinkled coloured tea candle holders were filled with battery tea lights to decorate the food tables. We dried fennel from our gardens, sprayed them gold and placed them in green wine bottles filled with coloured fairy lights. Special thanks must go to the friend that supplied many of the empty bottles:) The overall effect was very pretty indeed. For additional lighting we purchased cheap uplighter standard lamps from IKEA (just under £6 each) and they were perfect to help give a real informal atmosphere when the main lights were dimmed.
Each guest brought a pre-arranged dish of their choosing for the food....I was seriously worried about this concept but blimey, everyone excelled themselves and what an amazing feast we had!! And as my son's bride is a music therapist and singer, all the music was supplied by her talented friends (and she sang a special song she had written herself especially for my son - how romantic).  There was even a wonderful ceilidh band...great fun!!!

Sadly I don't have any photos on hand just yet of the entrance hall completed, but we had a massive branch covered in fairy lights, and decorated in vintage style clip on butterflies and birds borrowed from a friend. 
I did take some pics of the components last week as we were experimenting with the lights...seen above.

 With everyone pitching in to help and contributing to the food, a real warm and cosy communial atmosphere was created, with much fun, music and laughter. So job done well methinks :)

This is why I have been distracted these past few weeks from KT Miniatures and I am now utterly exhausted. So much hard work went into that one day and it just seemed to all be over in a blink of an eye. But now life has to get back to some sort of normality, therefore by the end of this week I hope to have begun listing vintage items to the website and with Thame Dolls House Fair just a month away, I will need to knuckle down to some miniature creating. 

Friday, 6 January 2017

Vintage Brooch & Fabric Bouquet Finally Finished!

With my son's wedding almost imminent, I am delighted to say that the bridal vintage brooch and fabric bouquet has now been completed! I was honoured to have been asked to make this, and my daughter-in-law to be put an awful lot of trust in my creative skills. Am chuffed to bits with the result and so too is the bride! Even another of my offspring, when he saw it finished,  remarked "it's fantastic", so praise indeed as my kids rarely comment on any of my creations, whether they are of the miniature kind or real life size!

I did make a smaller bridal brooch & fabric flower posy jointly with my sister in law a few years ago for my niece, and which I featured on here.  But this time I was making this all on my own.  The bride-to-be gave me a brief that she wanted it colourful and slightly wild looking...I think I laughed when she first said this to me, and told her that I would do my best. 

I do love a creative challenge though! 
This bouquet was made up of various fabric flowers, most of which I created from different coloured synthetic fabric.  Three fabric roses were purchased from Hobbycraft, and three crocheted flowers along with a small bunch of foam flowers, were purchased off Ebay, all super quality. 

My handmade flowers were created by cutting out various petal shapes of differing sizes and then singeing the edges over a naked candle flame. Once the edges were sealed, each one was then carefully held over the flame again to create the curl of the petal.  Not for the faint hearted I admit, although I only actually set fire to two petals in total...yes truly!  I made sure that I did all the singeing on my kitchen draining board so water was close by! To be honest, once you get used to this technique, it becomes a lot easier but you do have to be careful.
Some of the brooches were old family pieces from my mother-in-law, the brides mother and also her granny, which made this rather special. 
All the other brooches were purchased from charity shops or were gifts from other members of the family who had also been collecting old brooches for me. 

 Gradually as the flowers were made, I began to wire a brooch to the central part of each flower, plus on smaller flowers I used glass beads for the centres, all from a 1920s glass bead necklace. The glass beads give an extra sparkle as the light catches them.
The long wire stems were gradually wrapped around each other as the bouquet grew, to create a handle. It took a few weeks on and off, to get to this stage. It is trial and error in the placing of each flower, and if anyone attempts this, I would strongly recommend to spend a lot of time in placing the flowers before you wire the stems together. If you get it wrong, it will take you some time to unwire that particular flower from the handle...yep had to do that more than once!

I purchased some fabulous fabric eucalyptus leaves and rose hip twigs from a wonderful gift shop just outside  Chipping Campden on my travels (sadly the name of the shop escapes me). They were a little more pricey than the usual fabric foliage but paying that little bit extra was worth it, as they were so realistic than the cheaper versions.
Once all the flowers were  finally in place, the wire stems were trimmed and bound in fabric tape. Then the layers of foliage were added and bound to the handle. Firstly the eucolyptus, and then the rose hip twigs - minus the berries which I decided to snip off.
The contrast in the green colouring between the two different kinds of foliage gave the bouquet added depth...and the bride-to-be got that little bit of  the "wild look" that she wanted.  
Finally the handle was bound in a remant of silk from the bride's wedding dress and I tied a long length of vintage lace to hang down.

The finished bouquet is actually a little heavier than a real floral bouquet, so the bride won't be throwing this over her shoulder...but how fabulous that she can keep this forever and it will become a family heirloom.

This has been such fun to make!

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Happy New Year Everyone And Let's Hope That 2017 Is A Good One! KT Miniatures Is Back Open For Business.

Happy New Year to you all, I hope that you have had a wonderful festive time. 

 Am delighted to say that as from today I'm back at my desk after the festive break, as KT Miniatures enters its 21st year of trading....yes truly!  Don't know about you, but I was glad to see the back of 2016 - it was an extremely sad and challenging year for me and my family, but life is now most definitely moving on. 

Our very first Christmas without Mr KT has been a little tough but we all still managed to have a lot of laughs. With the impending marriage of one of my sons looming rapidly on the horizon and the birth of my very first grandchild in a few months time, there is much to look forward to on the personal front. And of course, I am buzzing with ideas and full of excitement in anticipation of all the gorgeous miniature goodies that will pass through the doors of KT Miniatures this year.
During these past couple of weeks I have had time to reflect and you may be pleased to know that KT Miniatures is not going anywhere for the foreseeable future.  I hope to be here for quite some time yet, although along with my miniaturist colleagues, we are in agreement that we can feel a definite shift in our industry, which is a little scary. Whether it is the fallout from the Brexit vote or what...who knows, time will tell.
I came across this illustration amongst my vintage ephemera as I was undertaking some sorting out a few days ago. It is titled "THE JOYS OF PARENTHOOD - BUSY MORN" and  was presented with THE SUNDAY COMPANION 1923. I thought I would share it with you... isn't it fabulous!

 I have just dipped into my inbox this morning and can see rather a lot of communication sitting there...so I am thanking everyone in advance for their patience, and I will endeavour to reply as quickly as possible.

I read somewhere just recently that life is like a bus journey. People get on and off your bus throughout your "journey"....some stay only for one or two stops, some stay a bit longer and some will stay until the very end with you... and this imagery kind of touched a chord with me. Unfortunately my bus must be one of the old vintage ones with a dodgy engine but there is always a lot of laughter on my bus no matter how bumpy the journey gets:)

So without further ado, please feel free to jump on my "bus" and lets see where it takes us in 2017.