Sunday, 29 April 2012

The Art Deco Doll

A 'nodding' doll in Art Deco style
I've been away in Napier for a few days and wanted to share with you my fabulous find from that city!
Napier was flattened by a huge earthquake in 1931 and when it was rebuilt, the buildings were designed in Art Deco style, the avant-garde architectural and design movement of the 1930s. Now it is considered to be the foremost Art Deco city in the world.
  To protect, promote and enhance that heritage, the Art Deco Trust was established. And it was in their shop that I found this very appealing doll. 
  A local artist makes these tiny china girls and hand paints them. They are styled after party favours given as gifts in the 1930s. And the quirky thing about the dolls is that their heads are secured by elastic so that they 'nod'! Each one is different. This little doll really is a unique souvenir of my time in the city. 
  At 3 inches tall she's too big to be in 1:12 scale. But I don't mind. I think she's gorgeous, and I'm not even a 'doll' person!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Edwardian Dolls House: the Governess' Room Again

1:12 scale Edwardian bedroom furniture
I'm going through my Edwardian dolls house room by room, rearranging the furniture in some cases, revamping bits and pieces and doing the dusting! Why is dusting a dolls house part of the fun, but doing it in your real house is a chore and a bore?!
  It was easier to see the furniture and accessories in the governess' room when I took them out to clean so I snapped a photo to show you before putting everything back. 
  It was then I realised that I had made all the things in that room apart from the china. The furniture I built from kitsets of real New Zealand native timber from the rimu tree. They are in the styles of bedroom furniture popular in Edwardian times.
  The wicker chair was my first attempt at making woven furniture. I used natural colour waxed linen thread and then stained it brown afterwards. I love stitching so made the cushions and bedclothes, the hat, parasol and bags. The trunk is made of matboard covered with a very thin leather-like vinyl, with real leather straps. Inside is a wedding dress and a chocolate box of love letters. I'm a romantic at heart!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Retro Caravan: Setting the Scene

Retro Caravan in 1:12 Scale
Relaxation on a summer holiday - lying in a deck chair, reading a good magazine while sipping a cool drink and snacking on a bunch of grapes, transistor radio playing softly in the background. Bliss!
  The retro caravan project is nearly finished - make the door, put on the roof, touch up the paint and the grass and then I'll relax!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Retro Caravan: The Interior Finished

1:12 scale retro caravan
Inside the miniature retro caravan
What fun I've had this week, finishing off the caravan interior, putting all the little accessories in place. I still have to make a door but other than that, it's a matter of getting a perspex cover fitted for the cut-away side and putting the roof on.
  There's bread and jam, pie and fruit for lunch. A sunhat and swimsuit and beach towels hanging up. A National Geographic magazine, books and a Rupert comic to read. My grandfather used to buy those comics for me when I was a kid. Monopoly, Chinese Checkers and Checkers are the board games for rainy days. Mum's knitting is on the divan, Dad's shaving mug and razor are safely stowed on top of the wardrobe, and the gin bottles are stored up high too! 
  The kettle's on the gas burner and the dish mop is in the basin. There's even a hot water bottle for cold nights!
  Caravan holidays at the beach were such fun!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

How to Make Your Dolls' House Special

Beryl Armstrong's dolls' house book
If you're looking to personalise your dolls house or if you have a kitset house you want to make look a bit different, then this book How to Make Your Dolls' House Special by Beryl Armstrong is full of good ideas.
   I used this book a lot when I was building my dolls houses. It is full of detailed instructions with close- up photographs to illustrate them. All aspects of construction are covered, both in the exterior and interior, so if you are building a dolls house from scratch this book will be very helpful.
  The author assures us in the introduction that 'anyone can do it'! She explains that using things such as wooden tongue depressors, cardboard and bits and pieces you have around the house can be transformed when applied to a dolls house and painted.
  Several topics are covered in depth with their own chapters: making fireplaces, wallpapering, doors, floor coverings such as planks, tiles and clay, and staircases.
   For the next exterior there are chapters on making windows, bricks, weatherboard and timber framing, making roofs from slate and thatch, building chimneys, and adding balconies and window boxes. There is even a chapter on making gardens.
   'How to Make Your Dolls' House Special' is a book you will return to time and time again to look at the techniques illustrated and get ideas for your own miniature projects.