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Sunday, 23 February 2014

Thame Dolls House & Miniatures fair

For the first time in several years we've managed to attend a Dolls house and miniatures fair (the last time we went to one was Miniatura about 5 or 6 years ago).  I've not been able to give my half built Greenleaf Westville the attention it needs for completion as for many years I was studying while working, then we moved house and have had lots of decorating to do.  However now, with just a bit more full size house decorating still to do, I can at last justify turning my attention to miniature home building.

On Friday my younger daughter and I dusted and tidied the Westville.  Some of the furniture and the family were at home and my little girl loves to sneak into my room and rearrange the family and play with them (she is always careful).  I looked through all my furniture boxes to remind myself of what we have already for the house and had another think about the proposed/half built extension and whether to go ahead with it.  The jury is still out on that question, however I'm determined to make some inroads with the house in the coming months.

Yesterday we made the journey to the Thame Dollshouse and Miniatures Fair.  My husband enjoys miniatures so was willing to come (and drive) and my little girl was very keen (big girl stayed at home doing holiday homework). I had a strict fairly small budget as I mainly wanted to attend to get some inspiration and had a couple of particular stalls I wanted to visit.  My little girl had a small amount of birthday money and some pocket money to spend.  We agreed that we would look around the entire fair before buying anything and we stuck to this.  The organisers had very helpfully published the floor plan and list of stallholders in advance on their website, so I printed this out and had it with me when we arrived (they did have printed versions available and my girl used this so we had two floor plans).

I had a useful conversation with Celia of KT Miniatures. I showed her the earliest photo I have of my Triang dollshouse and asked her if she could identify the wooden piano - despite the darkness of the photo she was fairly convinced it was a Barton and that the china bath which I no longer have looked 1930s, the lead bath the dolls house now contains is apparently 1950s.  KT Miniatures had some vintage dolls houses for sale which we admired and some adorable jointed bisque German dolls of the 1930s.  I ended up buying one of them (she is only 2 5/16" (60 mm) tall.  I will make her some clothes and put her in my doll cabinet.  They didn't have a Barton piano unfortunately, however I shall keep looking.

My girl was enthralled by Sandra and Pamela's stall (Tower House Dolls - Diminutive Dolls & Toys) and decided that we would come back to them for her pocket money spend.  When we did my husband had a conversation with them about glue and the wheels on Pamela's tiny doll carriages while I took my time choosing which kit to buy.  In the end I bought a Wicker Toy pram kit and a mini baby for it which I will dress and my girl bought a tiny ballerina dressed in red which she has named 'Lily'.

I drooled over Little Trimmings wares but didn't buy anything - I've bought from them online and will do so in future, but it was lovely to see they stock some very fine ribbon, various kits and fabrics and miniature buckles.  I also loved the two stalls with miniature plants and flowers, I had bought a flower kit from one of them at Miniatura and as I haven't made it up yet, I couldn't justify buying another just yet.

We loved the wide choice of miniature books by Dateman Books - I'd seen their website online so was really pleased to see their tiny printed books properly.  They have 1/12th scale books and larger sizes for bigger dolls.  I bought 'Little Women' for the Sasha dolls.

The displays of miniature scenes by the local club was very interesting, some lovely work.  I didn't take photos of any of them even though I had the camera with me (in fact I didn't take any photos at the event at all as I wasn't sure if stallholders would like it and I didn't see others taking photos).  We bought 2 raffle tickets (but didn't win anything) and my girl played the Tombola and won some miniature ice creams.

We admired the Mini Mundus kits stocked by Jennifer's of Walsall, the Grand Piano is amazing and I'd love to make this one.  We saw wood flooring at a couple of stalls at the fair, however I was keen on the Houseworks flooring Jennifer's of Walsall stocked, though they'd run out of the colour I wanted (so another online purchase in due course).

I spent ages at Jane Harrop's stall, she had so many lovely kits to choose from and it was hard to decide.  In the end I bought two kits, her book of children's toys (35 different things to make) and some tacky glue.  However I think I'll be buying online from her as well once I've made up my current collection of kits.

The Barrel horse kit (the Little Wooden horse) and a go cart kit from Jane Harrop
Glue, book and kits bought from Jane Harrop
Ballerina doll, Wicker pram kit and baby doll from Tower House Dolls
'Lily' the red ballerina and the miniature baby from Tower House Dolls

Sasha doll scaled book from Dateman Books
I had to buy 'Little Women' for the Sasha dolls
My tiny bisque 1930s German jointed doll bought from KT Miniatures
Now I need to get working on the Westville house...

Friday, 21 February 2014

Birthday gifts

My younger girl had her birthday during February.  We gave her a collection of all sorts of smaller gifts rather than a 'big' present, all wrapped up in 2 cardboard boxes.  Each box contained something doll-related, but she also got several books, a DVD, some lego and nano blocks.  She was delighted with all her gifts and so were the dolls, as the doll related gifts were a handmade classic yoke dress (Liberty fabric with lace trimmed collar & cuffs) I had made on my new sewing machine for Laura, another rocking chair (found in a local charity shop) and a Habitat model bicycle from Homebase.
Laura in her new classic yoke dress
Laura's beret is a 'Hattie hat'
Lace cuffs
close up of the lace trimmed collar (hence the blurred face)
I had bought the bike several months ago after seeing one at Dawn's Sasha gathering in June 2013.  It was the last one in the shop, I'd reserved it online and went to collect it but found it was shop soiled (paintwork a bit scratched) so managed to get 10% off the price.  The bicycle also needed some adjustments as it the wheels were not turning evenly and pedals were catching (another symptom of 'shop soiled/not set up properly when made) however my husband was up to the job of fixing it and did a fine job.  Our daughter's face when she took the bicycle out of the box was a picture of delight.  I pointed out the scratches and said I had an idea for a doll story for that, so watch this space.
Discovering the bike and rocking chair in the birthday box
Winding the bike pedals
Nicolas James and Laura with the new bicycle
The new bicycle and rocking chair (which doesn't rock)
Hopefully with improving weather and spring on the way the dolls, bicycle and scooter will venture outside again soon.