Monday, March 27, 2017

Showing my colours

 I'm still working through the aftermath of Saturday's miniature show: but this year I'm doing things differently.
Flatlay of vintage dolls' house miniatures in yellow colours.
Instead of what feels like my usual habit of racing home afterwards, dumping the contents of my car onto the middle of the lounge floor, and then spending Saturday evening and most of Sunday hunched over my computer working on doing stock reconciliation, order documentation, photo downloading, correcting and blogging (plus, until this year, loading the photos into the space I'd reserved in The tiny Times's May working document), I stopped.
Flatlay of vintage dolls' house miniatures in orange colours.
 Took a deep breath. Stretched, and poured a glass of wine.
Flatlay of vintage dolls' house miniatures in gold, silver, white, black and brown colours.
Then spent Saturday evening opening the bags of goodies I bought at the show and creating flatlays. Partly for you, but mainly for me: so I could get to know my new treasures*, and put them away properly ready for use.
Flatlay of vintage dolls' house miniatures in blue and green colours.
It was quite lovely.
Hand holding an vintage dolls' house miniature plastic radio in front of vintage orange and white paper.
While you're waiting to see the photos I took of the exhibits that caught my eye, you might like to listen to the piece that ABC 666 aired about the club yesterday...

(*Although a few are for miniature gifts. Of course!)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Viva la miniature show!

This afternoon it was all systems go setting up the displays and stalls for tomorrow's ACTME Miniature Fair and Dollhouse Show. And catching up with mini friends from near and far.
Man putting up a fabric banner for the ACT Miniature & Dollhouse Show on a stage in a community hall. Boxes and bags and unpacked miniatures lie on the stage and table in front of it.
Plus the best bit: getting a sneak peek at what's going to be for sale on the stalls
Vintage dolls' house front door and window with green gingham curtain.
and what's included in the displays...
One-twelfth scale miniature french cafe scene with diners outdoors under umbrellas.
The theme for this year's show is 'Viva la France' and I was taken by the cafe scene above, which uses a french-cafe-themed plate as a background to an outdoor cafe scene set up on a tea tray. (I was informed that the waiter is Manuel from Fawlty Towers.Which I find a little confusing. Did he moved to France?)

I put this flat lay together in honour of the show's theme:
One-twelfth scale modern miniature fluffy rugs, knitted pouffes and accessories in the colours red, white and blue.
(Unable to get to the show tomorrow and keen on getting your mitts on some of my clearance stock? Contact me (see left-hand column) and I'm sure we can work something out...)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Sale time

Four one-twelfth scale miniature knitted pouffes on top of four miniature rugs
I'm in the midst of preparing for this weekend's ACTME Miniature Fair and Dollhouse Show: my only show for this year.

And I'm feeling a clearance sale coming on. How's this for starters?

Perspex tables

Side: were $7.50 Coffee: were $10 Now $5
Hall: were $15 Dining: were $20 Now $10

Hand-knitted ‘faux-kati’ rugs

Small: were $15  Medium: were $20  Large: were $30 All sizes now $10

Hand-knitted pouffes

were $10 Now $5

Stag heads

were $7.50 Now $5

Frames, storage boxes, notice boards

were $2 Now 50 cents

Beads, cushions, plant pots, tiles    


were $1 Now 50 cents

I'll also have some seconds, including these damaged stag heads for $1 each (no one will notice once you hang a hat on it!):
One-twelfth scale dolls house stag head wall pieces, with various broken bits

ACT Miniature Enthusiasts 2017 Miniature Fair and Dollhouse Show

Saturday 25 March 2017
10.00 am to 4.00 pm
Weston Creek Community Centre, Parkinson Street, Weston ACT (next to Cooleman Court)

Adults $6, Children aged 5-12 $3, Children under 5 free.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Monday's making (mostly made up)

I finished the cushions (sort of, they still need to be stitched up after stuffing).
Six unstuffed  dolls' house miniature cushions, in shades of blue and white, on an outstretched hand.
I completed the squabs for the benches (well, not quite. I only finished one set and they're taped together at the back where you can't see). 
Modern miniature padded bench in blue and white, with toning cushions, displayed on a full-sized sewing machine.
And the Bluebird Cafe is done.
One-twelfth scale modern miniature cafe scene, in blue and white with a bird theme.
Detail of a a menu and jug of daisies on a table in a one-twelfth scale modern miniature cafe scene.
 (You know, unless you zoom out and notice all the bits that most definitely aren't done.
View of a one-twelfth scale cafe scene, with one corner perfectly arranged, and the rest of the room a mess of  various components and full-sized tools.
Or, indeed, wait long enough and watch the 'done' bits slowly undo and the whole thing trash itself).
View of a one-twelfth scale modern miniature cafe scene, in blue and white with a bird theme. A display shelf has fallen off the wall, with the contents having knocked over several other components of the scene, and edned up on the floor.
Maybe today I'll actually really finish it?

Monday, March 13, 2017

Sunday: in the studio

You may be pleased to know that I have dug out various surfaces around the house, and not just by piling the bits into a plastic tub and setting it aside out of the way...

Indeed, I've actually made some progress. Those blue chairs, for instance: now much shorter
Plastic dolls' house miniature chair on a workbench next to a saw and pieces from the end of the chair legs.
(and without stickers)
Four plastic dolls' house chairs, placed on a drying rack with a selection of full-sized dishes.
I continued to fight with possible decorating options, none of which felt quite right,
Four versions of a modern miniature scene comprising two blue chairs, a dining table and an industrial-style light fitting. The wall and floor treatments vary between the pictures.
until I gave up in disgust and headed off for a break to read the latest issue of Uppercase. And check out Instagram.

Where this hit my feed (you can see it here, if you're not an Instagrammer)*, and I realised I had been overthinking the whole thing (as usual). And so, back in the studio, this mock-up made much more sense with the whole story of the build, which really was about a cheap and cheerful make over.
A modern miniature scene comprising two blue chairs and a white dining table with an industrial-style light fitting hanging above. In the foreground is a breeze-block wall and a plant. The back wall is covered with white anaglypta paper and on the floor is a sheet of mis-matched tiles in shades of blue, teal and white.
Which lead to deciding that I needed to add squabs to the existing benches,
Pieces of fabric, card and padding on a table with a pair of scissors and a seam ripper (which is sitting on a one-twelfth scale black bench seat).
with some cushions for added comfort... 
Six dolls' house miniature cushion tops, sewn on to a piece of backing fabric. One cushion is cut out, and the scissors are next to it.
(*Emily Hartley-Skudder, a recent discovery for me, is a fellow Kiwi who creates scenes in miniature and then makes oil paintings of them. Visit her website to see more of her work, read an article about her, or watch a video about her work (or her time living and working in New York).)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Saturday: strange couplings

The latest Alex Asch exhibition opened at Beaver Galleries on Thursday night. I decided not to go to the opening (apart from all the people that would be there, I was concerned that I might have a glass or two of bubbles then accidentally buy something...).

Instead I popped in this morning: first for breakfast at The Palette Cafe, them for a mooch around the exhibition (where, in true Canberra style, I bumped into my tutor from my CIT design course!)

Good thing I don't have tons of money (or, indeed, space), as I lusted after almost everything in the exhibition.
View of an art gallery exhibition of Alex Asch assemblage art pieces.
Detail of an assemblage art piece by Alex Asch, showing a cathedral model inside a circular port hole.
View of an art gallery exhibition with two Alex Asch assemblage art pieces in black and white, in the shape of buildings.
Alex Asch assemblage art piece in black, red and grey, in the shape of buildings.
View of an art gallery exhibition with a wall full of Alex Asch assemblage art pieces in black and red, based on various musical instruments.
Detail of an assemblage art piece by Alex Asch, made up of various pieces of distressed corrugated iron.
Detail of an assemblage art piece by Alex Asch, made up of various pieces of distressed board, pipe and metal.
Detail of an assemblage art piece by Alex Asch, made up of various pieces of distressed corrugated iron and board, and part of a road sign.
 But most particularly this piece, 
Assemblage art piece by Alex Asch, with two black boxes and a staircase.
with its miniature gallery containing a Rosalie Gascoigne homage inside (the concept of one of my favourite Canberra artists referencing another of my favourite Canberra artists, in miniature, delights me greatly).
Detail of an assemblage art piece by Alex Asch, showing a miniature art gallery space with a painted model viewing a piece in homage of artist Rosalie Gascoigne.
And this piece, which takes up much less room and would fit in with my decor perfectly...
Assemblage art piece by Alex Asch, with various distressed boards making up a 2D view of old warehouse buildings.
 But, with my wallet tucked safely in my bag, I finally left and came home to create my own bit of distressing, at a much more affordable price:
Two painted wire items on a sheet of baking paper in a box, with a row of various spray cans lined up behind in browns, greys and metal colours.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Finish it off Friday: the four-day weekend edition

Take one four-day weekend.

Add no plans.

Mix with a splash of forecast rain,

Slowly beat in a messy work table*,
Aerial view of a work table covered with various one-twelfth scale modern miniatures.
 a messy work bench,
A work bench covered with various one-twelfth scale modern miniatures, accessories and tools.
and sprinkle with good intentions left in limbo
A one-twelfth scale miniature room box, full of various miniatures, tools and components.
and (I hope) you have the perfect recipe for success...

(*Yes, those are covers for my 2017 calendars. Still awaiting delivery of matchboxes from the other side of the world...)

Monday, March 06, 2017

Feeling cagey

Wire Daiso bird-cage ornament, next to its label.
Another $2.80 find from Daiso. I picked up two as I thought the bases would make great miniature side tables.

I didn't even consider the tops. Until early Saturday morning,when my inspiration helped me picture them as awesome (over-sized) miniature light shades...
Wire Daiso bird-cage ornament, opened, next to a pair of piers.
 And, suddenly, what I thought was a great bargain is an even greater bargain.
Modern dolls house miniature wire side table, with metal bird cage on top, next to a modern dolls house miniature wire cage-shaped light shade, and a pair of pliers.
(Plus I feel the need to visit Daiso again very soon...)

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Getting crafty

After getting up at sparrow's fart* this morning, I spent an enjoyable hour rummaging through stash and pulling out and arranging all the bird-related bits I could find:
Flat lay of various bird-themed pictures and dolls house miniature accessories
(I do rather enjoy this part of the process, even though it sometimes makes me feel quite overwhelmed with the options I have!)

Then it was time for breakfast, and a trip to the hairdressers. As I left after my appointment, the car seemed to take on a mind of its own. And I'm sure you know what the next stop was...
The inside of a scrapbooking paper factory outlet, with rows of paper on display.
Yes. Kaisercraft. *sigh
Shop assistant at Kaisercraft packing items into a shopping bag.
(I felt slightly better when I realised that my last visit was almost three months ago (if I use slightly creating counting...)

Once I returned home with my plunder it was time to start building yet another scene in an old favourite room box.

I decided that the story is that the owner of Buzz Bar Cafe took on a business partner who was, shall we say, a tad dodgy: and the once-successful business folded, leaving at least a million dollars owing to staff, staff superannuation accounts and the tax office (I may or may not have been influenced by discovering last week, when I had a hankering for a twice-baked souffle, that Autolyse had closed a couple of months ago for just that reason...).

Therefore the parameters of the new build were that the space remained basically the same (although I had thoughts of removing one of the back 'rooms' in the renovation, especially once I remembered that there were two versions of the Buzz Bar: the much larger original, and the (smaller) What's in the toybox? exhibition version. Which is the one I'm working with).

Luckily, I had versions of most of the fittings in white, so could happily agree that the new owners gave things a lick of paint to save set-up costs.
Modern dolls' house miniature cafe interior, empty apart from several shop fittings, tables and chairs.
And I had some dining chairs that I'd picked up as part of a children's boxed set for $2 at a previous Canberra mini show that (although supposedly over-scale) I thought might work quite well in one-twelfth (if the legs were cut down a tad, the stickers removed and, possibly, a spot of repainting happened...) Did I mention that they were blue, and the backs had an interesting Mackintosh tea rooms/birdcage vibe happening?
Two blue plastic modern miniature dolls house chairs, at a white table against a black wall and wooden floor.
At which stage I started my first round of playing with the options I had...

Should I stick with the blue of the chairs ('Bluebird cafe'?), decide that the owner replaced the floors with tiles and channelled a mix of Terence Conran, local (ex) cafe 79 & Fine (slightly ironic since the original Buzz Bar referenced another local cafe, Lonsdale Street Roasters), and the Greek islands? (This actually expands on a previous scene I made).
Modern dolls house miniature cafe scene, with blue and white tiled floor, white and grey wallpaper, white and beech tables, blue chairs and plants in the foreground.
I tried a less busy feature wall and suddenly I was craving cheap fish and chips... Maybe not.
Modern dolls house miniature cafe scene, with blue and white tiled floor, white on white wallpaper, white and beech tables, blue chairs and plants in the foreground.
Or I could go in the opposite direction, decide that the refurb was done on a shoestring (and many op-shop and trash-and-treasure visits), and stick with what I'm comfortable with?
Modern dolls house miniature cafe scene, with black and white walls, wooden floor, white and beech tables, black chairs and a gallery wall of bird-related art.
I'm thinking not, as it feels way too much like the last iteration of the Buzz Bar Cafe space.

Except I'm worried that since I now have a photo of a scene which includes a glittery guitara flying ducka slightly cross-eyed owl and two fried eggs, I may completely lose interest in the whole thing.

(*Note suitably bird-like reference...)

A glittery guitar, a flying duck, a slightly cross-eyed owl and two fried eggs...

Inspiration. It's a devious creature. Hibernating for great lengths of time then popping up when you least expect it (usually, I find, at around 3.30 am: when you thought you were fast asleep).

And so it was this morning, when it tugged on my pillow and whispered gently 'So, how about we make a scene which contains aforementioned glittery guitar, flying duck, slightly cross-eyed owl and two fried eggs?'

The whisper became a roar as it got more and more excited, jumping up and down on my head and spewing out a stream of ideas...

I: 'Could it be a version of the flat in A street cat named Bob? Except you'd have to paint the guitar and that seems a shame...'

Me: 'Shut up.'

I: 'Ohhh! Duck and owl! Don't you have some other new stuff with a bird theme? Can we do a themed gallery wall in, oh, I don't know a CAFE? Like the Hatter's Tea House you went to last month?'

Me: (Muffled, from under the pillow) 'Oh duck off'.

I: 'Here, I'll help you with names... "Song Bird." "Bluebird." "Black bird." "Birdsong." "Birdcage." "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep."'

Me: (Grumpily sitting up to check the time) 'I'm NOT calling a cafe "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep". Everyone will call it "Chirpy Chirpy Cheap Cheap".

I: (In a small voice, tinged with pleasure at getting some reaction). 'Not even "Chirpy Chirpy Cheap Eats"?

Me: (Glares)

I: (Looks hopeful and points at the clock, which now reads 5 am)

I: (Conjures up an image of a recent birdcage purchase from Daiso could be turned into interesting cage-shaped light fittings, and of the other cages I have in stash that could add to the theme)

Me: (Sighs). 'Perhaps we could see about going with a stripy theme to mimic bird cage bars? And I guess it is about time to give Buzz Bar Cafe a makeover...'

I: (Claps and leaps off the bed to fetch my slippers)

I: (In a small, hopeful voice) 'Does that mean we get to go to Kaisercraft today?'

Me: 'No, no and NO!'

Friday, March 03, 2017

Finding my focus

Here I was beating myself up because I hadn't done much in the way of minis last month (you know, despite the usual summer heat sapping my energy, a couple of weeks fighting something off (which, as I wander through my archives, seems also to be a late-summer tradition) and then, finally, succumbing to several days in bed to finally see it off. Oh, and that small fact that this is supposed to be my hobby, not an obligation...)

And then this evening I downloaded my Instagram photos and discovered that there had, indeed, been a stream of miniatures through my life over the past couple of weeks.

First up was the arrival of what I have now dubbed The Boomerang Box:

Small box tied with string, on top of a padded mailing envelope.
Which contained (amongst other treats) a custom rubber stamp (which I knew about), and a miniature Shopping Sherpa tote (which I didn't!).
Small box on top of a padded mailing envelope, open to show a dolls house miniature tote bag and a rubber stamp.
In true Pepper-always-the-eye-for-detail style, itcontained a miniature wallet to pay for the miniature shopping that was going to be put inside...
Miniature tote bag and one-twelfth scale wallet.
Later the same week, J&M and I went to a Friday-night event at Gorman Arts Centre and stumbled across an intriguing-looking exhibit by Tom Buckland at CCAS:
A woman peering into one of several small holes in an art gallery wall, while another woman looks on.
Titled Constellation, each peephole contained a tiny scene.
A woman peering into one of several small holes in an art gallery wall.
 (Which turned out to be very difficult to photograph well with a phone camera!)
Tiny miniature 'open 24 hrs' sign, seen through a peep hole.
Tiny McDonalds sign, seen through a peep hole.
There's a much better photo of the scene below on Tom's Facebook page, for instance,
Tiny miniature cowboy figure, seen through a peep hole.
 and more photos of the scenes on his Instagram page.
Tiny miniature shopping carts in a desert, seen through a peep hole.
Tiny miniature man in coveralls, sitting in front of a bank of miniature TV sets, seen through a peep hole.
The eagle-eyed amongst you (hey, if you're a miniaturist, that's all of you), will have noticed some of the peep holes had small buttons beneath them. If you pressed the buttons, there was light and/or movement in the scenes.

Once again, I did the best I could with the camera I had:
video
Finally, speaking of videos: I had two sightings of dolls houses on screen in the past week.

First up, was in the children's bedroom of the (rather excellent) movie Hidden Figures, which I took myself to see last Friday afternoon.

And this evening I spotted this beauty in the hallway of a house in the first episode of the 70s/80s TV show Sapphire and Steel (which I remember loving as a child, when I found it cheap on DVD at latest Lifeline Bookfair):
Screen shot of a vintage dolls house in the 1970s TV programme Sapphire and Steel.
(See it for yourself at around 18:50 of this video on YouTube)

So, as I stare at the range of bits and bobs on my desk (accumulated since the beginning of the year, and waiting to be dealt with now that it's cooler (and I'm better)), I've decided that I need to stop being so hard on myself and just try to have fun. 
Selection of pieces for use in a one-twelfth scale dollshouse scene, including a glittery guitar, a jar of miniature shells and some metal pieces.
(Because, really, what says 'fun' more than a glittery guitar, a flying duck, a slightly cross-eyed owl and two fried eggs? Especially when they're small enough to stick in your pocket?)