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. 

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. 

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.