Friday, 17 May 2013

Accessories for a Tudor Dolls House Kitchen

A well-equipped Tudor dolls house kitchen
I tended to think that kitchens in Tudor times were pretty basically equipped. But after reading some inventories of the houses of real people of that time I changed my mind. Tudor cooks had lots of utensils to help them make their pottages and coffin pies!
  Many of the items found in a Tudor kitchen were made of wood, clay, pewter  or iron. These can be made in 1:12 scale using wood, or polymer modelling clay or air-drying clay that can then be painted to look like metal or pottery. Patterns for making them can be found in magazines and books devoted to miniatures. You can also buy kitchen accessories from specialist suppliers of dolls house miniatures.
   Here are some ideas for accessories for your Tudor dolls house kitchen:

  • buckets made of leather, or wooden staves hooped with iron
  • cooking pots and pans made of pottery and metal
  • iron fire dogs, roasting spits, griddles and cauldrons. Cauldrons were hung up over the kitchen fire on a hook attached to an arm that could be swung out and back
  • forget about forks, the cutlery used was knives, shaped like daggers, and spoons. Much of the food was eaten with the fingers.
  • plates, cups and tankards were made of pewter for the wealthy. The poor had cups made of wood or horn. For plates they used 'trenchers' - thick slices of stale bread. In later Tudor times, these were replaced with square wooden platters.
  • a wooden salt box hung on the wall
  • pottery jugs and platters
  • a mortar and pestle
  • flagons and barrels for beer and wine ( often kept in another room)
  • long-handled perforated spoons and paddles for stirring the meal in the cauldron
And I put one cheeky little accessory in my Tudor dolls house kitchen that you may or may not like to copy - a little grey mouse!

Friday, 10 May 2013

How to Landscape a Miniature Scene

Examples of  landscaping materials for miniature scenes
I really enjoy landscaping my miniature projects. Adding some greenery and flowers can enhance a dolls house. Creating a scene around it will add another layer to the miniature 'story'.
  Many landscaping supplies can be bought from model railway stores or you can make your own.
  Here are the instructions to make a garden around a dolls house:

  • Cut a baseboard larger than the building. This will be the garden. Mark on it where the building will go. Leave the space clear.
  • Paint the rest of the board green, not forgetting to paint around the sides. if you want a little path to the front door, paint this in now with brown paint, or use a strip of paving paper like the ones in the photograph.
  • Spread tacky glue over the green surface and sprinkle on a fine green railway scatter as grass. If you want to make your own 'grass', collect fine sawdust and dye it various shades of green.
  • You can make flowers using flocking or Flower Soft which comes in various colours. Use a toothpick to dot tacky glue onto places you want flowers to be, then dip another toothpick into the flocking and dab it onto the glue spots.
  • Other flowers and leaves can be made from paper using punches or you can buy flower-making kit sets to put together.
  • To make a climbing vine, run stranded green embroidery thread through tacky glue, then 'grass', then wind it round the building supports. When dry, add flowers as explained above.
  • You can buy ready-made trees and bushes or make them yourself. I collect little pieces of lichen from a tree in our garden, dry them, then use them as miniature bushes.
  • To make trees, take lengths of florist wire, hold in a bundle and wrap brown florist tape partway up the bundle for a trunk. Spread out the un-taped ends of wire for branches. Dip into tacky glue and then into railway scatter for the foliage.
Landscaping a miniature scene adds to the appeal

Have fun making a garden!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Miniatures in Munich

A Bavarian miniature made of tin
I had a fascinating afternoon yesterday, on the hunt for minis. I was especially wanting to find some German ones, typical of Bavaria. I wasn't disappointed.
  I'm in Munich and at Maxburgstrasse 4, in the centre of the city, I discovered a veritable treasure trove of dolls house furniture, miniature accessories and things I hadn't seen before.
 The shop is called Munchen Puppenstuben and this family-run business has been going for over 30 years.

As well as having a good look at everything you could ever need for dolls houses, I was particularly drawn to  their out-of-the-ordinary minis.
 The Bavarian scenes and figurines are all hand made of tin and hand painted, still by the family that first made them many years ago. Some of the minis are themed to the four seasons such as iceskating for winter and different wreaths of flowers for different times of the year; or to local events such as the horses pulling the wagons of barrels of beer for the Oktoberfest; or to Christmas and Easter as well as scenes from everyday life.
  Each is so detailed and coloured so beautifully that you expect the little figures to come to life!

Hand made and painted miniatures for Easter in Germany

If you are in Munich and want to spend time looking at, talking about and buying minis, the Munchen Puppenstuben is the place to go! You can also check out their website here.
  I bought my souvenir of Munich there - a traditional miniature maypole. See what I mean by all the detail! It's only 2 3/4 inches tall!