You've got to hand it to her!
29 November 2012
If you were wondering whose hand is so glamorously featured on the front cover of our December issue, it's time for me to 'fess up'. Yep! That's my dainty little paw. Now, before you gasp in horror that we failed to employ a professional model… I'll have you know that I could have been a hand model!
Strangely my careers advisor at school pointed me in that very direction. For years now I've scoffed at her ill-judged advice. Not that my hands aren't quite delightful (well, judge for yourselves) but is that really the best she could come up with for a reasonably intelligent 14-year-old desperately seeking a career path?
But as I reconsider now, many years later, I realise that Miss Harris (God rest her soul) was a canny old bird. Mine was the first school year to be offered the chance to go out into the big wide world for work experience. The problem was that we had to suggest to Miss Harris where we'd like to go. Terrified of committing myself to a career at such a tender age, I sat like the sulky teenager I probably was, and said "dunno" a lot.
Miss Harris's suggestion that I consider hand modeling was a rather clever ploy. A case of "you've got a nice face for radio", or rather, don't waste time thinking you're going to be famous/glamorous/marry a pop star.
So indignant was I at this ludicrous advice to put my hands under the lens, that I made a snap decision to grace the offices of our local newspaper with my presence for the week. There I sought to impress, was invited back regularly during my sixth form studies, and eventually employed as a trainee reporter.
I hope that in this issue of The Dolls' House magazine, I have done Miss Harris proud!
Diary date mix up
28 November 2012
I love dolls' house fairs - such a great opportunity to see and buy all those wonderful miniatures. The Dolls' House magazine includes a regular list of forthcoming dolls' house fairs which we aim to keep an accurate as possible.
But MM Fairs have just called to say that due to an admin error on their part miniaturists should note that they are not holding a dolls' house fair on 2 December in Sutton Coldfield as listed in our December issue.
But do join them at their next fair on January 5th at The Benn Hall, Newbold Road, RUGBY, Warkwickshire CV21 2LN What a great start to the New Year that will be!
The wonderful Kensington Dollshouse Festival Christmas show
27 November 2012
For a thoroughly wet and gloomy November saturday I was very glad to be indoors...and where better than the Christmas Show put on by the Kensington Dollshouse Festival! It was a bit of a nightmare journey with the Circle and District underground lines being out so there were lots of rain-soaked tourists squeezed onto the buses, but all that was forgotten when Karen, Anthony and I met up at Kensington Town Hall last saturday.
Once Anthony was set up in his temporary studio under the stage, Karen and I consulted our 'shopping lists' then it was out onto the various floors to collect the marvelous miniatures to support our forthcoming editorial.
The joy of Kensington is that the exhibitors here represent the top end of the market, more for the collectors of miniatures than those who are looking for items to make miniatures. And there were plenty of people buying. But one item that wasn't for sale was a fabulous James I Great Chair by David Hurley, although it did have pride of place on his stand. David explained that it was very rare to have a chair with carving on three sides - which he had captured with great skill. The chair took such a long time to make that he admitted that he wouldn't be repeating it (and his wife would divorce him if he sold it!). When we took it away to photograph David produced a customed-made traveling case for it, he held it in such high regard.
It was lovely to return a favour to Georgina Ritson who loaned us a doll family for one of our project shoots. John Cutts' snow street (which you will see in our January 2013 issue) took pride of place on her stand. If only you could animate these little figures, I'm sure there'd be snowballs flying in no time at all!
You'll see that Karen has her trusty notebook (infact the 'shopping survival kit' featured in December's magazine is standard issue for us!). Karen's a whizz at shorthand, so all the vital statistics could be recorded of each miniature that went under Anthony's lens.
Show organiser, Charlotte Stokoe, has a merry band of helpers. Robin was very amusing working on the reception desk in the lobby, where the KDF Keep-safe box was being promoted alongside a charming dolls' house book. It all added the friendly atmosphere of the show!
It was a long day but well worth the braving rain and the crowds, and we've a fabulous portfolio of images which you'll be able to see in our Spring issues (you'll love them). But more than that, for me seeing miniatures like this is so re-invigorating; the ideas, the possibilities. I lost count of the times I oooed and ah'd over the tiny treasures. And my face ached from smiling. And of course, catching up with my maker friends - never enough time to chat!
Bring on the next show!
19 November 2012
Added to the usual domestic chores, I've had a pretty hectic weekend. To get my creative fix I've been making Christmas presents at home, as well as running up a little addition to a dolls' house project for our February issue. I also joined my sister to take part in a mosaic workshop for a community project.
I've popped over to see my brother to wish him a happy birthday - and meet his family's new kitten - so very cute (and all amidst the chaos of their new kitchen finally being finished so that all the cupboards can at long last be re-filled and proper meals cooked). I've popped down to my local beach taking advantage of a beautiful sunny afternoon to indulge in my love of photography.
For the last three evenings I've been doing the props for Heber Opera's production of Acis & Galatea. Such lovely music (by Handel) and some superb singing by our principals and chorus.
But - if I had a minute to spare and the Wentworth Court kit from The Doll House Emporium, I could have squeezed in building a dolls' house too! Just watch this clip from the popular mail order company to see how it's done.
We're pinning up Christmas
15 November 2012
You know what it's like when you get creative people together - the ideas just flow! It's been like that in The Dolls' House magazine office this week as Karen and I prepare the editorial content for the spring 2013 issues. Honestly, I sometimes think that we need a weekly publication to give all our ideas proper coverage.
Now that we have Pinterest set up we can share some of our inspiration with you. It certainly helps that 'where did I see....' moment as now there is a whole heap of visuals to refer to when it comes to finding ideas for your own miniature scene. Check out the link below for ideas for Christmas Past & Present.
Let us know what inspires you? And remember to send us images of your dolls' houses and projects so that we can share your talents with others. Who knows who you might inspire!
Christmas is coming - the advent calenders on sale...
12 November 2012
The Christmas season is looming, and children (and busy parents) are about to count down the days (children say, "too many!", parents "not enough!").
To help with that task once it is December, you'll need an advent calendar. I really like this one as it features the Uppark dolls' house - it's the National Trust's 2012 Advent calendar.
On sale for £5, it features the Palladian style doll's house at Uppark in West Sussex. Behind each window and door you will get a glimpse into a nursery at one of the many National Trust houses. The calendar measures approx: 42cm x 29.5cm and comes with an envelope if you want to post one to a friend.
Go on, you know you want one!
If dolls' houses could fly
12 November 2012
Now here's a strange image - a flying house! It's not a dolls' house...but it doesn't take much imagination to see that it could be! Image manipulation is nothing new these days but I love these quirky images by photographer, Laurent Chehere.
Meanwhile, over in Spitalfields in London artist Sebastian Harding has his models of houses on show. Models of real houses in small scale....does that sounds familiar? Catch them at the exhibition before November 24th
What I love about both of these stories is how the subject of houses can be interpreted in such a fun way. That is a sentiment that readers of The Dolls' House magazine can relate to.
Dolls' house in The Paradise
7 November 2012
As you know, I'm pretty much hooked on The Paradise, the shopping emporium costume drama based on Zola's novel. Catching with the recent episode last night I noticed that a number of dolls' houses appeared in The Paradise's shop window. I'm sure they would appeal to the Edwardian shoppers with money to spend. A splendid rocking horse was another window-display star. Dolls' houses and rocking horses - classic toys for the Edwardian nursery.
Wanting to know more about where filming took place a quick internet search came up with this...
Just where would we be without our real period houses to form backdrops....wouldn't that make an interesting room box or dolls' house even. You could have your dolls' house figures - period dressed for the cast and modern for the crew! Where can I find a mini Mr. Moray?
Send me your photographs if this takes your fancy!
Making music minute
6 November 2012
It's always good when talented miniaturists get coverage in the 'big' world. We've long known about the talents of David Edwards here at The Dolls' House magazine. But you might be interested in reading about him here.
An unexpected find
1 November 2012
It's good to know that my work colleagues are tuned into dolls' houses even when they don't work on this magazine title. Katy Evans from Knitting magazine spotted this lovely old dolls' house when she was at a photo shoot location in a private house yesterday. Taking a break from piles of wonderful woolies she snapped this beautiful vintage dolls' house. The owner explained how the interior is often lit with fairy lights.
Mind you, Katy does know a thing or two about miniatures as she worked with me as my Editorial Assistant before moving to Knitting magazine. Being a keen knitter she is now in her element, but it's good to know that a little mini magic has rubbed off!