Tuesday, 30 March 2010

I Love Miniatura.....

This weekend I attended Minatura which is a miniaturist's wonderland. My husband always comes with me when I go to Birmingham, it is his idea of showing an interest in my hobby. At six foot two and 15 stone I do live in constant dread of him crushing old ladies and whole tables of china. Like a lot of very sporty men he has absolutely no co-ordination when not on a sports field! Still we managed to survive the day and he even made the odd helpful suggestion. We arrived at 10am and left about 1.30pm as by then he was getting really twitchy about getting home to watch the Manchester United game on television. This meant I only had one real look around but I still visited lots of wonderful stands and met up with lots of talented artisans.

These lovely items were purchased from Mouse House Miniatures. The wellies and the dustbin have a cheeky little rat peeking out and are perfect for my current project. This stand had lots of lovely food pieces as well.

Late the night before the show Mags of http://mags-nificentminiatures.blogspot.com/ had put a picture of this super hen coop on her blog. I went to her stand first thing and was lucky enough to purchase this and many other interesting pieces. The gorgeous barn owl was made by Annie Willis of Fine Design and I was really spoilt for choice so I expect a second owl will be top of my list for Kensington in May.

I am also lucky enough to have quite a few items by Jenny and Mike Klem who make wonderful witchy and wizarding miniatures. It was great to meet them in person and see their fantastic display for their first Miniatura. They mostly sell on Ebay I think but do have a look at their website http://www.kastlekelm.webs.com/
I know a few bolggers were disappointed with the hall this year and I must admit it was a bit tatty and the catering arrangements were pretty poor, however, I really enjoyed myself and will do a further 'show and tell ' tomorrow.

Friday, 26 March 2010

From infatuation to love....

You know what it's like when you begin a new relationship, even if it was long ago. For the first few months you can think of nothing else, the rest of your life seems drab, your friends are boring and you cannot talk about anything but that all so important new interest in your life.
Then there comes a point when you need the relationship to begin to move in a different direction, you start to crave a little more variety and the time has come to think about commitment. You hope there will be a sign to help you come to a decision about where to go next.......
Half way through my second project I began to tire of being outbid on Ebay, DHE was just not doing it for me any more and I was starting to investigate fimo and unpainted furniture. Would such a commitment be worth all the trouble. Investing in a new relationship can so often bring disppointment.....
Then out of the blue I found an old dolls house magazine in the dentist's surgery and read of all these wonderful artisans who would be showing at Minatura at the NEC in two weeks time. http://www.miniatura.co.uk/shows.html
I went to my first exhibition in March 2009 and moved from infatuation to love!!! I was now completely hooked on miniatures, it was no longer a fleeting affair but a relationship for life. I wandered around like a child in a sweetie store with her first week's pocket money. The biggest discovery I made was that miniaturists are genuinely nice people who were passionate about their work and were happy to chat even if you were only looking. I had the time of my life.
With so much to choose from I settled on artisans who sold cats, another part of my life, building materials to try and a piece for the roof garden I was planning. The slates in the first picture are supplied by the lovely Peter Clark who produces hand painted cards which can be cut to size. I have used them as roof slates and bricks and have found them both economical and easy to apply. Peter also makes handpainted birds and garden items and I couldn't resist this lovely bird box.
The tabby cats were the first cats I bought from the talented David Ward, I have quite a collection now! I love them.
My collection of Siamese cats are by Sarah Hendry sarah.schiff@ukonline.co.uk . I can't remember if I just drooled the first time I saw her work and bought later but I knew I had to have her work in my collection.
I also learnt a lot during my first visit. Not to buy to buy on a whim or if things seem very cheap because mistakes can be costly as well as wasteful. Decide what are the main items you really need and visit those sellers or find those items first, before you get carried away! Take cash because not a lot of sellers take cards and the ATM outside charges you, one of my pet peeves!!
Take a break after a couple of hours, looking at so many tiny things can make you go cross-eyed after a while.
Tomorrow I will be heading back to Miniatura where I hope to buy a witch, some potion bottles and some textured paper for the outside of my newest project plus a couple of cats of course. Whatever I manage to buy I know I will come back having met some lovely people and full of inspiration.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

And so it begins....

So here I am with all the symptoms of a mid-life crisis waiting to happen and a dolls house to play with. I was aware of two places that sold miniatures and houses, DHE and Maple Street Miniatures in Royston, Hertfordshire http://maplestreet.co.uk/. I decided to have a colour theme, pink in deference to my 'pink' eight year old and mahogany as there were already a couple of pieces in the house that I could use.

As you can see I spent a lot of time with the DHE catalogue at the beginning and although it is not what I would buy now it is a very easy way to start off. Having begun to fill my house with furniture I then moved on to the next stage, accessorising and staging, which was a whole new world of discovery for me.
At the same time a friend suggested I look on Ebay for all things miniature as another avenue for buying minis. I was a little sceptical as I thought Ebay was for clothes and cars. I entered 'dolls house' in search and pulled up over 5000 entries! This lead to very happy evenings on my laptop discovering that you really can buy anything in miniature and a whole host of different specialist sellers and companies.
As you can see from these rooms I was still playing it very safe and bought a lot of items from Reutter http://www.reutterporcelain.com/aboutreutter.htm simply because I knew I would get what I saw in the picture. I did, however, start buying a few bits from individual sellers and was really impressed with the quality of their work, like the lovely little dress in the bedroom by Zena of http://www.zenaspetiteboutique.co.uk/

What I really learned searching Ebay was that one house was not going to be enough and I was already planning my next project, a bakery and cafe. With new found confidence I decided to look for a kit or unfinished project on Ebay where I hoped to be able to find a shop at a reasonable price.
Meanwhile the housework was grinding to a halt and the ironing was piling up, but for the first time in years I was having fun all for me, and my family were watching my achievements for a change! My children were slightly bemused to find their mother playing with dolls but were beginning to enjoy a more relaxed and a little wacky mum.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

The First Attempt....

It all began for me with The Manor House from the Dolls House Emporium. I desperately wanted my daughter to have the dolls house I would have loved to have had when I was a child. So I built, decorated and furnished in secret for her 8th birthday.

I absolutely loved getting it ready and played for hours. The day for handing the house over came and I waited for my daughter to enjoy it as much as I did. And I waited.......and waited.....and waited. My house simply could not compete with a hoard of Barbies and Disney princesses! Nor a mother who kept telling her how to play with this toy that wasn't mummy's at all!

Oh well, such is life.

And time went by and my three children grew up and suddenly I was 49 years old and I had time on my hands for the first time in 18 years.

My eldest son had left to travel during his gap year, my daughter had reached 16 and by now I had accepted she was never going to play with the house and my youngest was 14 and needing me less and less.

This sounds like bliss after the long haul of child rearing but the dreaded 50 was up and coming and I was dreading the empty nest syndrome.

And there was my lovely Manor House long ignored and a project I could get my teeth into.

Now I have six houses in various stages which I hope to share over the following months. Please bear with me if I fail to point out where all my pieces come from. I will do my best but please let me know if you spot something I have purchased from you and you wish it to be known.

Well I have now entered the Land of Blog. I hope you will enjoy looking at my houses as much as I have enjoyed and taken inspiration from the pages I have peeked at these last couple of months.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Sabiha's Giveaway

Why not join in? Look at this fantastic site http://sabsminiinteriors.blogspot.com/. The site contains really beautiful and stylish miniatures with lots of advice.