Monday, 19 June 2017

Has Been A While...Lot's Going On

My goodness....has it really been a month since I last put up a post on here?

Well, if you are wondering why KT Miniatures has been so quiet, there has been a lot going on here and mostly rather nice. For starters of course, I have been undertaking "Grandma Duties" which I am enjoying thoroughly. Plus I have also been away at least three times during the past month, not all holdidays may I point out :) Then there is the ongoing task of shifting my workroom/studio down two flights of stairs to Mr KT's and my old computer room/office. After scraping all the old wallpaper off, my builder/decorator friend Gordon then did all the papering and painting for me, as there were nasty cracks and issues that needed a professional to sort out. 
There are still a few things to be done - such as tiling the boarded up fireplace and getting a carpet. After much deliberaton, I decided against stripping floorboards as they are the open ones and not in great condition. I just couldn't face further chaos and mess in stripping, filling board gaps with sawdust and pva, not to mention staining carpet it is. 

However, I have decided to be arty with the fireplace tiles though and have drawn up a plan with the aid of the computer after having chosen some reasonably priced old looking tiles. I am going for all five patterns from Topps Tiles "Archivo" range. My plan is a random patchwork effect...should be fun.  The next decision before the carpet is fitted, is whether to wax the fireplace and newly fitted shelves or paint. Then if the paint option is chosen, what colour should I choose? Decisons, decisions!

I am moving towards the painted option as I have had that pine fire surround for years and feel I want a change. Although  have never used eggshell paint before, someone suggested that it would be more hardwearing and a more pleasing effect than satinwood paint. Hmm...we shall see.
Meanwhile, I have every intention of beginning to list some rather lovely antique and vintage goodies this week. Unfortunately the old stock is still packed away in boxes up in my old workroom, but a lovely collection came in yesterday, which I will start working on this week as I can lay my hands on them more easily. It is currently piled high in an old pink plastic crate and the items you can see in the above pic. are just the ones laying on the top. Trust me....there are some exquisite pieces underneath! I need to to go through it all and sort them out. I never stop getting excited when I handle these old treasures - I wish I could keep them all! :)
There are also several boxes of tiny random antique accessories.

This particular collection belonged to the maternal grandmother of the owner and it is important to her that these go to a good home. On first inspection they appear to mostly fall into the late 1800s - early 1900s era.  I will endeavour to show some of the more interesting pieces on this Journal over the next few days. 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Yay - I'm a Grandma!

After a nail biting few days I can finally announce that I am a Grandma at long last - yay! Am thrilled to bits.

 Baby Jasper David arrived in this world on Friday evening to the sound of the Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac (apparently),  after giving his mum a difficult time. And even though he is rather battered and bruised, including a big forceps mark across his face - poor lad, he is already healing. 
He is gorgeous and I had my first cuddle with him yesterday. 

So as mum and baby hopefully arrive home today I may be a little pre-occupied on Grandma duties, but will continue to check my emails and will resume further listing to the website in a day or so. 

Monday, 15 May 2017

Few Unscheduled Days Off...Best Laid-Plans And All That!

My best-laid plans have not gone entirely to schedule these last couple of weeks or so, and in the end I decided to take a few days off. Hence the original planned listing of vintage stock never got off the ground, apart from an Amersham dolls house (now sold)...

and this late 1940s/early 1950s Tri-ang No 50 dolls house - which at the time of writing this blog is still for sale.

Life can be complicated can't it? Well it is certainly is here. Am still waiting for the birth of first grandchild - now a few days overdue, and although there have been a few moments in the last couple of weeks including daughter in law being admitted to hospital with high blood pressure, all calmed once again and she was allowed home.

Then after Easter as I embarked on one massive decorating spree of upstairs bedrooms (I love decorating), a spanner was put in the works when builder friend came around to inspect some worrying cracks and newly discovered damp patch just where desk with computer is situated in downstairs room. Turns out there are exterior brick problems that need sorting - am very much hoping they are nothing major and at this stage builder friend assures me that he "thinks" they are just minor but felt that they definitely need attending to. So instead of coming in a few weeks time to decorate that room that will be my new "studio" ie. workroom, he is due to come next week ...I appear somehow to have jumped the queue in his very long client list! Therefore I will need to embark in stripping all wallpaper from this room as a matter of urgency, as I had agreed originally with builder friend to do this...but that was when I had thought that I'd have several weeks to complete the task:) So although I hope to undertake some listing of antique and vintage items to the website this week,  I will only be able to do so as and when I can. As always, you will be able to see at a glance, photos of any new additions at the bottom of my Home Page.
Meanwhile  after much pondering, deliberating and getting the views of family and friends....I decided to go ahead with the purchase of a large circa 1920s Scottish dresser with lower drawers and upper glazed display cabinet. It is now here and I love it...I  can't quite believe it is mine! The twiddly turned pieces down each side are beautiful and quite unusual. I got it from a wonderful local antique pine dealer - CLICK HERE  TO VIEW WEBSITE. Ken delivers all over the UK and even overseas would you believe! The drawers will be filled with the contents of the old filing cabinet which has seen better days, and the glazed cabinet will give extra display options in my new "studio".
In between the mayhem going on here, as baby was still showing no signs of arriving,  I finally decided at the last hour to go to Kensington Dolls House Festival last Saturday in London with one of my miniaturist friends. It was a fabulous day, plenty of absolutely gorgeous miniatures to feast our eyes on and it was super to catch up with so many old miniaturist friends too. It made a change not to have any pressure in having to purchase materials etc, or anything in particular as has been the norm in recent times, but with no workshops in the offing at the moment (I have not given up totally on the idea and still pondering on these) and with no other immediate projects to create either, I had great fun in making four purchases purely for myself.

Handpainted mantel clock by Victoria Fasken

Handpainted ornate resin clock by Lenda Boswell

I purchased two clocks for my own vintage style clock shop.

Miniature farm set by Franzes Paradise of Switzerland
Miniature giraffe by Reina Mab Miniatures of Argentina
 The other two purchases were tiny toys from overseas traders for my vintage style toy shop.

 One day I will do another blog about my shops but for now here are a couple of pics as they are at the moment. 
I made this to sell at Thame Fair earlier this year but I just couldn't let go of it in the end as it was a one off,  inspired by a miniature building that I saw at the Bethnal Green Museum Of Childhood. The back slides out for access.

The quirky vintage style clock shop's stock is as you can see, rather sparse of clocks but I am looking forward to filling it to the brim with a combination of real antique clocks plus vintage style artisan miniature clocks.

The antique style toy shop has been featured on here before and is filling up nicely indeed - CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY. Am rapidly running out of shelf space and am going to have to put some thought into further shelving and maybe some hanging rails. It is very difficult to photograph as the there is so much reflection on the front glazing but when the additional shelving etc. is in place I will attempt to properly photograph once again for this Journal. This structure was the original prototype of one of our workshops we ran a couple of years ago and I love it. There are so many stories attached to lots of the pieces in here and a friend suggested documenting a detailed list of contents,  which is a brilliant idea and which is now on my long "to do " list.

Well I am hoping that the next time I blog on here my very first grandchild will have arrived safely. As you can tell...I am rather excited!!!!!!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Has Been A Busy Easter...

I hope you all enjoyed your kind of seems a long time ago now. It has certainly been a busy time here and I've just realised that it has been quite a while since I put up a blog posting so I thought I'd better let you know that I am still here:)

My Easter weekend was spent knee deep in spiders webs, dust and disintegrating  black bin liners, up in two loft eaves, clearing away junk that we had acquired over many years. One word of advice  - NEVER USE CHEAP BLACK BIN LINERS to store loft junk in!  We discovered that we had unwittingly used several and they had simply disintegrated almost into was disgusting.  The heavy duty bin liners had been  fine though, so not all was a mess. My  two sons were brilliant and got into the tiny spaces that I couldn't manage and lifted the really heavy stuff. Thankfully spiders don't bother me and just as well as there were all shapes and sizes up there!  I could not believe how many "bits" of carpet we  had saved over the years "just in case we might need it" .  Of course we never did!
We did away with all the old cheap bin liners which were in varying stages of deterioration and put as much as we could into brand new plastic boxes with lids.
We decided to be brutal in what we got rid of and very quickly the skip was filled to the brim. Was fascinating what we came across though, completely forgotten toys from the boys childhood such as the early 1990s version of Tracy Island, Micro Machines, Action Force, Action Man, dozens of toy cars, soldiers, Airfix Kits, Subbuteo and so on... including the large scale fort I made in 1978 for my woodwork project whilst on my nursery nursing course. (It was those woodworking lessons where I discovered a real love of working with wood and tools).  Needless to say all these treasures were taken out of the bags and transferred into large plastic boxes with lids where possible, then put back in the loft. We only found a handful of my daughters toys, as most of hers are stored over in the eaves of the side extension. 

 However other things that we found included my 1970s Laura Ashley wedding dress - unfortunately discoloured now as it appears that a suede jacket within the same suitcase had gone a little strange and affected everything around it. Silly me...I think the suede jacket was only put in there as a temporary measure during one of our house moves over 30 years ago, but somehow got forgotten about!
My goodness...I had a 24" waist and weighed just 8 1/2 stone when I got married! I couldn't even get this past my hips now. My children could not believe I could have ever been this small!

Amongst the old baby clothes and old cot, was this beautiful shawl given to me on the birth of my daughter from my lovely old next door neighbour (sadly no longer with us).

We came across long forgotten love letters (both mine and hubby's) and the most gorgeous old school art books belonging to my mum from the 1930s. They are so beautiful that I am going to scan some of the images for family members and for myself, and print off on special watercolour art paper, as I don't think any of these would look quite the same on ordinary paper. I don't want to use the originals as I would be afraid that the colour might begin to fade. As these have been stored away for decades the colour has remained glorious.

I also came across some of my own art homework done as a teenager which my children had never seen and I hadn't actually set eyes on for decades! Sadly they had been rolled up so are quite crinkled. Not quite in the same league as my mum's colourful artwork, but nevertheless it shows a little of my family social history, as I had drawn the kitchen of our Cotswold stone cemetery lodge house (built in the 1930s). The drawing shows an old maid saver cabinet which I remember well, an electric clothes airer and an old Belling electric cooker from the 1950s. Our back door was a solid wooden door about 6" thick and I can remember the key was big and heavy - not something that you could easily carry around in one's pocket. The picture on the right was the view out of our lounge back window. That same view now would be very different as Farmer Long's field on the other side of that hedge is now part of the cemetery grounds plus at the top of the hill is a new school and houses. I suspect the view of the old church tower would no longer be visible from that window. These would have been drawn in the early 1970s.
This was a charcoal picture of the corner of our lounge in the early 1970s. Because the charcoal has faded greatly it is difficult to see the detail, but there is a metal Ladderex shelf to the left with a record player and LP's underneath. The black leather chair is so very 1960s! Standing to the left of the chair was one of two huge speakers with a black mesh, for the record player. The television on legs is so very 1970s, don't you think? Those beautiful lead windows set in stone pillars are now long gone I understand. I loved those windows, they always seemed so magical somehow, but understand they were a pain to keep clean. In the corner is a bureau/bookcase that my parents had when they first got married in the late 1940s.

There has been much reminiscing and laughter I can tell you these past few days prompted by all the wonderful things we had found in the some tears too. 

With two grandchildren on the way, plus my grown up daughter having moved back home, I am embarking on much decorating to several bedrooms ...I love decorating and probably just as well:).  Hence the need for lots more space to store additional stuff up in the loft. Also, as it is about nine months ago since Mr KT passed away, I felt it was definitely time to dismantle his two computers from his desk, pack his bits and pieces away and finally dump his old chair which was falling apart. After he died I remember someone saying to me that I will know when it is time to let go of his things.  And it is true. Most of the items had gradually gone in one way or another over these past months but I just couldn't let go of his chair and contents of his was just as he had left it all those months ago and gave me some weird sense of comfort. But finally about a month ago I suddenly felt it was time that it was sorted out. I could suddenly begin to envisage that room very differently. As I now have a dodgy right knee and no longer have Mr KT to help me carry big dolls houses or heavy stock up two flights of stairs to my loft workroom, things are having to change. 

Surprisingly am suddenly feeling very enthused at the thought of having a downstairs workroom...and all kinds of plans are now afoot.

On my travels last weekend, whilst buying this old pine chest of drawers to contain my daughter's clothes (it is still sitting here in the middle of the room, next to my computer desk),  I came across the most beautiful dresser from the 1920s from the same dealer and perfect for my new workroom....or "Studio" as an old friend suggested calling it the other day. I still need to measure and ponder a little more, but if I manage to get it I will show you it on here.

Meanwhile, now that the Easter holiday break is over and all visiting  relatives have now departed,  it is time to knuckle back down to KT Miniatures. Listing of more old treasures will begin this week and I do have one or two old dolls houses to put up for sale too. 

Thursday, 6 April 2017

How About A Spot Of Miniature Gardening?

With spring now well and truly upon us here in the UK, many of us are busy with our real life size gardens. However today I have been very busy listing quite a varied selection of miniature Britains Lead Garden and other manufactured garden items to KT Miniatures website, for you to feast your eyes on.
I do have an enormous box of Britains Floral Garden items too but they will have to wait for another day as I have run out of listing time for the moment. Maybe your old dolls house has a back yard or space in front or at the side to have a few plants or garden items? Or maybe you could start up a miniature garden on its own? Even if you are not interested in purchasing any of these, I hope you will still enjoy looking at them. I had the plastic Britains Floral Garden as a child during the 1960s, which followed on from the c1950s Britains Lead Garden items, and I still have every single item packed away in Cadburys Chocolate boxes and Moreland Matches matchboxes! I was very organised as a child and looked after my toys, as in those days we didn't have much. I used to design all kinds of garden layouts with my lovely childhood dolls house.

Amongst some of the unusual pieces now up for sale is a round mirror pond with two c1950s J Hill & Co lead swans and freestanding reeds.
 And then there is this  magnifiicent metal lawnmower...
...and deckchair.

Curiously both the lawnmower and deckchair came together and the green paint used on both items is identical so I am assuming that they have been created by the same manufacturer. However, there is no maker's mark. But in THE GREAT BOOK OF HOLLOW-CAST FIGURES there is a piece about a distributing company based in London called B&S (but not affiliated to Barrett & Son in any shape or form who also was known by the initials B&S)  who in 1950 issued a gardening set which included this lawnmower and some other items....YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED TO READ AN OLD KT MINIATURES JOURNAL POSTING

But further to my original posting, it looks like they were not made by B&S, but simply distributed by them. So at the moment the maker remains unknown. However, someone has suggested that the company DCMT made these items...but I still cannot substantiate this. Anyhow, regardless of who made them, I think they are pretty magnificent.

Meanwhile,  the c1930s-1950s Britains Lead Garden Page has been greatly updated with many new additions as from today, plus I still have more to list.  Included is a wonderfully aged old cold frame with seed box, round pots, cats, walls, flowers, flower beds, pergola and much more...even a garden gate with hedges!