Club project - shop box

Club project - shop box

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Mini Book Reviews

Emily from the Architecture of TinyDistinction blog has posted some reviews of her own collection of dollshouse related books. When I was commenting on her post, I realised that I only use a few books about miniatures and I use books about RL furniture and architecture much more to get a realistic result.

Please have a look at her blog as her reviews include such wonderful books as Magnificent Miniatures by Mulvany & Rogers.

As we're sort of snowed in, expecting a lot more snow for tomorrow, this seemed a really good way to spend a Saturday afternoon. So here are a few of my books with a review-of sorts.

Build a Doll's House by Michal Morse – 1992    ISBN 071346695 2

This is the book I found at 'de Slegte', a second hand book shop in the Hague. I thought it was a second hand book, but as I started the build in March 1992 that seems unlikely now. It details a scratch build of a four room house, a six room house and a roombox with a facade for a shop. There are four different versions of the four room house. All drawings and layout plans are included and windows/doors/chimneys etc are sketched in great detail. All sizes are both in inches and cm. Except for the lighting, the order in which to build is intuitive and although you can work ahead on, for instance making the windows, doors or architraves (yes, everything is scratch built!), it is quite easy to get back on track. The only criticism I have of the book is that the lighting should be discussed before you put the walls and floors together. Also the only method discussed is a tape system inside the house, which then has wires on the back of the house.

Four stars

Making Miniature Furniture by John Davenport - 1988   ISBN 071348310 5

This book is all about how John made his furniture. It is full of information on (now quite basic) tools, how to modify them, which are essential (no sign of a table saw, which I now think is absolutely essential) and lots and lots of drawings. About two thirds of the book is about tools, wood and wood working skills, such as different types of dovetail joints, mortice and tenon joint. About one third is left for projects, such as a basic cabinet with a door and drawer, a collectors cabinet, a chest of drawers, which includes instructions for veneering/inlay and a davenport desk. In short anything you would need to make fine furniture if you were so inclined!

5 stars

Furniture in Holland's Golden Age by Reinier Baarsen / Rijksmuseum Amsterdam – 2007
ISBN 978 90 8689 014 9

This is part of a collection of lavishly illustrated publications by the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. There are quite a few more including books on painters Vermeer, Jan Steen, Rembrandt's etchings, 17th century cabinets, and lots of other things the museum has a collection of.
The photos are great and there are lots of close-ups. Ideal for figuring out how to miniaturise something. It also includes the history of the furniture and it's makers and buyers.

Useful as a reference for individual pieces.

Four stars

Period Style by Judith and Martin Miller - paperback 1993 - ISBN 1 85732 301 7
Period Details by Judith and Martin Miller - paperback 1993 - ISBN 1 85732 043 3

The Style book ranges from Medieval, through to Georgian, Colonial and American Empire to Victorian, Edwardian, Art Nouveau and Art Deco. About 90% of the books consists of stunning photographs. The Style books concentrates on how to create a period interior can be made within a modern home. The Details book also includes exteriors, everthing from fire surrounds, doors and door frames, leaded light windows to light fittings, to flooring and wallpapers.

A true reference book.

Five stars

There are two other books I must mention even though they are only available in Dutch:

Het Nederlands interieur in Beeld van 1600 – 1900 by C. Willemijn Fock, Titus M. Eliëns, Eloy F. Koldeweij and Jet Pijzel-Dommisse – 2001 ISBN 90 400 9588 4

Het Hollandse pronkpoppenhuis by Jet Pijzel-Dommisse – 2001 ISBN 90 400 9481 0

The first book has absolutely everything there is to tell about interiors in the Netherlands from 1600 -1900, often based on paintings and drawings both from museums and private collections, but also books and diaries and previous publications. It was created by an academic collaboration between the University of Leiden (Kunsthistorisch Instituut) and the Rijksdienst voor de Monumentenzorg.

In Het Hollandse Pronkpoppenhuis book by Jet Pijzel-Dommisse every individual item in four of the Dutch 17th century dollshouses, has been photographed and described. It must have taken years to produce books like these.

If you can read Dutch and can lift the books (they weigh a ton) they are a must in the period miniaturists library!

Five stars for both

Other useful books:

Great little things to make on a small lathe by David Regester – 1995 ISBN 071347613 3

This little book is only for a beginner trying to master turning without taking classes in my view. It isn't really about miniatures, but does discuss the different types of lathes (back then) and the basic skills you need to get going in a few pages. I suppose practice makes perfect, not reading the book...

Two stars

Making period Doll's House Furniture by Derek and Sheila Rowbottom - 1992 ISBN0946819 36

This book is still useful for the drawings and variety of furniture. Some of it is quite crude and not the best of woods have been used. It helped me to make sure that the furniture I made was of the right size, but I haven't used it since the first 2 years 1992-1994 trying to find my feet. As I progressed in furniture making, it just wasn't precise enough for me.

Two stars

Well, that's not really all of them, but I suppose I'll find out if you agree or not...
Maybe you have some other books you would like to review for all of us?


Thursday, 10 January 2013

Some pottery

These pots were fired just before Christmas with another two, but those didn't make the grade. Badly glazed and that sort of thing.  These I like, even though they aren't perfect - not quite round, a bit lumpy (the one with the flower on it) and I'd hoped that the black glaze would run down a bit more. Still, not bad. The black pot is just about 1 inch high.

I spent the evening painting tiles (and chatting a lot) and when I finally thought about taking a picture, I had already glazed them and there wasn't anything to show but white tiles, so it will have to wait until they are fired in a few weeks. I've experimented with another colour. I think it is called mazarine and looks pink before firing. It will turn blue when fired, but a lighter one than cobalt, which I used for the other Delft tiles. As the bisque fired tiles are very absorbent I found the mazarine very difficult to control. The end result will have to be a lot better than the cobalt to consider using it again! I'll paint some more tiles next week as I only got 15 or so done. Too much chatting going on?

Also, every 10th of the month we upload a photo of the latest embroidery project to the Petitpointers website. It's lovely to see all these projects progressing, some really fast others at a more moderate pace, like mine!  I'm almost half way, which means I've done around 21500 cross stitches so far and have about 23000 to go.
It's on 32 count fabric and it's taken 119.5 hours so far!

Sorry about the quality of this picture, it from my phone in low light. My house isn't that big, but big enough to lose the second battery and the charger for the camera. It's not where I would normally plug it in.  Note to self: if you plug something in somewhere random, it helps to remember where that is. Or it could be that I have borrowers or gremlins, as there are a few other things hiding from me!
Happy mini-time!


Tuesday, 8 January 2013


It's been a few weeks since my last post, just before Christmas to be precise.  I tried last week but whatever I did I couldn't upload any photos. First of all, a very happy new year to everyone!

One of my resolutions is to finish UFOs - Un Finished Objects, of which I have quite a few.  The first one is this pot of hydrangeas. I made the flowers a few years ago, but all the leaves were loose in a box, the usual fate of a UFO. The wooden vase is from a gentleman who came to our village summer fair a few years ago and among his wares were a few very nice miniatures.

Apart from trying to find more of my UFOs, I now have all the stuff to make the lamps for in the shop box. This is my first attempt at a lamp shade. It's made from brass wire, soldered and painted white. The idea is to  put a creamy silk fabric on it. Just not sure if it needs another one or two vertical supports...  All five lamps for the shop box will be 3V LEDs with a switch each connected to a battery pack with 2 AAA batteries.

The wall sconces at the back I've had for years and as I didn't like the plastic balls used as lamp shades I decided to take them apart. The one on the left I've antiqued with a 'green gold' paste to get rid of the very brassy look. I like it so the other one will go the same way. They have 12V lights for the dollshouse and I'm planning on a shade in the shape of a shell. I've no idea yet how to make that though. I'll try with paper.  On other blogs it all looks so easy! Maybe they just leave out all the time it takes to experiment?

Tonight is the first pottery class of the new year and who knows I might have something to post about tomorrow!

PS I'm still getting lots of errors even when just typing in this post, hope that's not a sign of blogger having more problems...