Sunday, 19 March 2017

How Strange Life Can Be Sometimes...Does Anyone Else Have This Problem?

Amongst my family and friends, our smoke alarm tales have been legendry.

Let me explain....I had three smoke alarms, one on each floor and all attached electrically as well as with battery backup (over 20 years ago at the time of our loft extension, it was compulsory for them to be electric). So if one went off, all the others would automatically go off too. 

For years we have had trouble with our smoke alarms going off in the middle of the night (never during the day) and apparently for no reason at all.  Mr KT and I would go through a ritual of changing batteries and vacuuming them (yep - in the middle of the night) in a vain attempt to stop them and most of the time it never did stop them. The last resort was to take batteries out and turn the electricity off at the mains, just until the morning so that we could get some sleep! As you can imagine, the noise of all three going off was deafening!

 Even then on one occasion a few years ago, they still went off for a while with all batteries taken out and the electricity turned off!! So how can that be? At that point we got an electrician in to check them out and he was baffled....couldn't explain it other than the smoke alarms could be faulty..or that we may have a spook:) 

So we had them all replaced with new ones but the same thing kept happening all over again, just once in a while. By then, we kind of learned to live with it....we didn't have a choice but I hated the damn things!

If you Google this topic, there does appear to be one or two other people with this problem. It has been suggested there could be a draught of wind, insects and extreme cold as a cause. Well, of course that is possible. But on an ordinary night, with no wind, not particularly cold in a centrally heated house, with no visible signs of insects....and no smoke, the cause is a real conundrum. And for the past couple of years, my alarms had gone quiet anyway.

But then, yep you've guessed it, one Saturday night just recently the alarms started again...all of them,  at 2.00 in the morning. Luckily one of my sons was randomly staying here that night, so at least I didn't have to tackle them on my own:) However, after changing the batteries and much swearing, we decided to leave them going and eventually after some considerable time, the damn things did go quiet. the morning, I decided that I could no longer put up with this, and I dreaded having to deal with them on my own.  So a very sympathetic (but I must say a little sceptic) builder friend came around and offered to dismantle the smoke alarms and put three new ordinary battery operated smoke alarms in so would not be attached to the electricity. As he took each alarm down, he did all that was necessary to the now redundant electrical wire ends, and all old alarms were put in a plastic bag by the back door, minus their batteries, ready for me to take to the local tip. The builder friend was just showing me how to change the battery in the three new alarms which were by then in situ....when not one but two of the old alarms started going off in the plastic bag!!! Well I am glad they did whilst my builder friend was there, as no-one would  have believed me. He was stunned, shocked and lost for words, and agreed with me that it just wasn't possible.  As they continued he offered to get a mallet to them to shut them up....ha ha, and as soon as he said that, they stopped. I kid you not!

All seemed well for a few weeks and I was very happy with my new non electric, just battery operated smoke alarms. 

But then, yep you've guessed it....late the other evening, the alarm on the main landing went off. I rushed around the house checking for smoke, absolutely petrified. And then it stopped. And then it started again. By this point, my sense of humour had completely left me and I was just contemplating removing the battery, plus as a last resort taking it down and shoving it in a bucket of water....when it stopped. 

I dunno...perhaps it is a mischievous spook after all:)

Anyone else have this problem?

Friday, 3 March 2017

Stunning Rare Art Deco Dolls House Bedroom Furniture..

 If you are a recipient of my KT Miniatures emailed newsletter or a keen watcher of new stock that is added to my website via the LATEST UPDATE sliding picture box (situated at the foot of KT Miniatures Home Page)...then you will have seen these rare Art Deco beauties go up for sale yesterday. Consequently they were snapped up pretty quick and in reality could have been sold umpteen times over. The lucky buyer who emailed her order in first before everyone else, was from overseas where it was in fact the middle of the night where she was but nevertheless had decided to get up and check if I had listed any more unsold Thame Fair stock! Now that is dedication for you:) !!!!!!

When I first saw these I assumed that they were of German origin, but as yet I have not been able to identify them. Certainly their construction is very similar to some of the more commonly known old German makers. If anyone out there recognises these and can put a name to a maker, I really would love to hear from you. 

Art Deco Dressing Table
This dressing table came in with a matching bedside cupboard and gorgeous chair. They were part of a collection which had been much cherished and passed down the same family, having originally belonged to the previous owner's mother in the 1920s. 
It is of wooden construction in a cream painted finish, with a mirror and one centrally opening drawer. The two cupboards either side of the drawer are non opening so just for effect only. The  dark coloured painted pattern is very much in Art Deco style and gives added charm. 
The beautifully shaped mirror swivels. 
The construction is very similar to many of the German pieces, and the back of the mirror is still covered in the original brown paper, for protection and neatness.

Art Deco Bedside Cupboard
The bedside cupboard has matching decoration to the dressing table and an opening door.

As with the dressing table, the construction and shape of this piece is very similar to various German makers of that era. 

Art Deco Bedroom Chair

Now I have a real thing for old dolls house chairs, I love 'em  - and this one does not disappoint.
It is exquisite! What I find particularly intriguing  is the way the seat pad has been made. It appears to be some sort of open weave material such as hessian, that has been inserted in to the seat rather than simply stuck on to the seat, assumingly a chunk of wood had been cut out for this insertion? Which shows that a lot of care has gone into the construction of this and a sign of real quality.
 So these little treasures are now winging their way on an extremely long journey across to the other side of the world, ready to start a new chapter in their long life!

Sunday, 26 February 2017

The Annual Post Thame Fair Listing Has Begun, Starting With A Few Handmade Items...

Well now that my annual post fair stocktake is over, listing of unsold Thame Fair stock can now begin. Yesterday a few of those  newly created handmade items went up for sale on KT Miniatures website, and although there were not quite so many as usual, it had felt so brilliant to be creating again, as it's been a while since I was at my workbench! But before I start, I will show you a close up photo of one of the tiny handmade vignettes that was sold the other day. It did create quite some interest at the Thame Fair.

And here it is... Nurse Dolly And Her Friends. Many of the items fixed into this tiny scene were vintage and damaged in some way, so it was challenging but great fun to create. I used a tiny drawer from an old smoking cabinet that I'd had knocking around my workroom for many years, so wanted to do something unique with it. The vintage Japanese Googly eyed doll was completely naked so I created a simple nurse uniform based on the one my aunt had made me back in the early 1960s - except I used old felt instead of cotton material.What do you do with an old celluloid doll with a split head....well wrap a miniature bandage around it of course! :) And what do you do with a late Victorian, early 1900s toy lead drummer soldier missing one arm....well you could stand him in the corner and let Nurse Dolly look after him! This little scene was snapped up by an enthusiastic buyer early on at Thame Fair, but I do have some other tiny framed 3D vignettes for sale.

With the birth of my very first grandchild just a few weeks away now (exciting times ahead - yay), I have been pondering on nursery vignettes and pictures for several weeks. Anyway, one thing led to another and I hit on the idea of  making nursery 3D pictures for grown ups....tapping into our own childhood nostalgia. The following two pictures are most definitely not suitable for children and should be kept well out of their reach,  as not only is the glass hazardous to them but there are tiny items that could come adrift and therefore become hugely hazardous in young hands. 

Playtime In The Nursery
 This is a gold painted shallow box frame, backed with an image from the page of a vintage children's book, edged with antique lace and the foreground filled with some of my own handmade items.
Some of those KT Miniatures handmade items include a fixed arrangement of antique toy bricks, a 1930s colouring book, dog on wheels and some of my old books.  The toy sailor has been artisan made but  I have had it for so long tucked away in a box, that I have now forgotten who made it (apologies to the artisan)!

Let's Play School

I have long adored this vintage image of a little girl at her easel, "teaching" her toys. This takes me right back to my childhood, when being the only girl with five older brothers, I spent hours playing on my own when they were off doing football, rugby, cricket, etc. and of my favourite games was playing  "schools" with my toys. I had an old battered toy blackboard perched on a small wooden easel (it had been well used by the older brothers by the time I got it and was decidedly wonky) and I would perch my few toys on books, boxes and anything I could lay my hands on, as I basically turned into a very bossy teacher! Ah, those were such wonderful days....
Anyhow, in this scene are more of my handmade books, toy elephant on wheels, decorative box, plus a commercially made teddy and an artisan knitted dolly (again, I have had this doll for so long I cannot remember where I got her either, so yet another apology to the unknown artisan). 

Both of these are now up for sale and can be found on the following page:

A Vintage German Style  Kitchen Shelf 
I created a smaller and slightly different version of this last year for Thame Fair. However, this time I have created a more chunky look that was based on my actual antique German dresser. There is something about the old printed tiles and images that decorate the old tiny furniture (and old dolls houses) that I adore, and makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I suppose again, it is that old childhood nostalgic feeling. This has been based on the upper half of my old dolls house dresser and have added real life size tacks to hang utensils, etc. from, just like on the actual dresser.

 The reproduced tiles and frieze is very much in the Delft style. This would look fantastic hanging on the wall of an old dolls house kitchen. It can be found on the following page:

Replica Of 1910 German Dolls House Fireplace

 This, you have seen before. Last year I decided to create a replica of an antique German dolls house fireplace that I have had for years. I had been hoping to find one exactly like it so that I could have another for my old dolls house, but over the years one just hasn't ever turned up. So in the end I'd decided to make one. In fact the couple of spares sold out almost immediately last year, so I decided to create a couple more.

Hence, here we are. The tiled cut out was a scanned reproduced image from the tiny German fireplace, so too the hearth. It has been a given dark finish with acrylics and am chuffed to bits with them. 

This can be found on the following page:

Over the next few days I will begin listing some of the antique and vintage unsold stock from the fair, so if you are interested, do keep a watch of the LATEST UPDATE sliding box at the foot of KT Miniatures Home Page.

Friday, 24 February 2017

End Of Another Era...

Well it looks like it is the end of yet another era in the life of the Thame Dolls House & Miniatures Fair. 

Last Saturday the present organisers of Thame Dolls House & Miniatures Fair - Ron & Felicity Holland, announced that it was to be their last and unless a new organiser is prepared to take it on, the event will be no more. I shall always be grateful to them for taking over the organisers mantle from Mr KT and myself  a few years ago, at a difficult time when Mr KT had just been diagnosed with serious illness. But now Ron and Felicity wish to embark on lots of other activities in their retirement and the fair is no longer part of their future plans.  I am sure that many of you who have been to the Thame Dolls House Fair in recent times, would like to join me in wishing them well for the future. And let us hope that there is someone out there who is prepared to take over the event, otherwise it will be no more... and another main UK dolls house fair will bite the dust!

For the well seasoned Thame Fair attendee, it was clearly apparent that attendance was down last Saturday compared to previous years. But I hope that those of you who did come, had a lovely time. 

I understand that the  popular charity sales table and raffle raised an incredible £2314.11, which is a wonderful achievement, and huge credit must go to the team of brilliant volunteers who gave up their time freely as always to work tirelessly throughout the day. 

I enjoyed all the lovely chats and chuckles with customers last Saturday, and it was great to catch up with old friends. To have my ex workshop colleague Robin Briton helping me on my KT Miniatures stand for a couple of hours in the morning, was an added bonus and we did have a laugh!  Plus she amazed me with her knowledge about my products, which shows that she HAD been listening to me over the years when I used to bore her to death about my recent creations or latest antique/vintage acquisitions!:)
Having been away for a few days break directly after the fair, I am now back at my desk and undertaking the annual post fair stocktake. Once that is complete, I will embark on the usual listing of unsold stock from the fair, beginning with my handmade items.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Thame Dolls House Fair This Saturday - Hope To See You There!

Yes, it is that time of year again and this Saturday KT Miniatures will be exhibiting at the annual 

Thame Dolls House & Miniatures Fair.

I will have on offer various handmade as well as numerous antique & vintage dolls house items. There will be at least two old dolls houses too (a c1950s Amersham and c1950s Tri-ang No. 60). Everything is to be sold on a first come, first serve basis and cannot be reserved before the event. Please note that I will not have the facility to accept credit or debit cards at the event, so it will have to be cash transactions only, although as usual cheque payment may be available to regular known customers. However, for all those of you who cannot come on Saturday, all unsold stock will be listed to KT Miniatures website later next week. 

Here is a peek at just some of KT Miniatures handmade miniature items that will be available for purchase off my stand on Saturday....

Vintage Style Toy & Co, Nurse Dolly & Friends Plus Other Framed 3D Vintage Style Pictures.
Vintage German Style Shelves With Replica Delft Style Papers Insipired By My Old Miniature German Dresser.

More Replica Early 1900s German Style Fireplaces Based On One From My Own Private Collection.

And Now A Peek At Some Of The Antique & Vintage Dolls House Miniatures That Will Also Be For Sale On My Stand At Saturday's Event.

I hope these photos can tempt your miniature tastebuds!
 My Stand Is No.38 In The Main Hall.

Hope To See You There! 
PS. My old retired mate from Coombe Crafts (and ex workshop colleague) Robin, will be helping in the should be loads of fun. Please do drop by the stand and say "hi", we would love to see you.