Category Archives: Small projects

Dolls’ Houses Past & Present new website now open!


Dolls’ Houses Past & Present

A website and ezine about dolls’ houses: antique, vintage and modern.
Plus furniture and accessories

So much sustained hard work done by the administration and developers of this new site and it’s so good to see it working.  Members are busy uploading the photos of their collection(s) and work you can watch it grow before your eyes. Why don’t you ‘drop in’ as it were and watch it happen too?

In case you missed the link above


Still very full of a stinking cold here and been sorting out my bits for the Dolls’ Houses Past & Present site through watery eyes while simultaneously dabbing helplessly at a bright red, sore nose.  I feel about five years old.


Just been working on the small trinket and cigarette box photos that I’ve gussied up into scenes and took this photo of the 3D Dutch Still Life study early this morning when full light had not yet broken.

Who moved the hankies and the waste basket?!

Last look at …


In the style of C17 Dutch Still Life

In the end I cheated with the extra lighting, pinching one of the battery candlesticks from the Market Cross building and adding it on the left-hand edge of the table.

Looks a little odd on the wall, but no doubt will get used to it, particularly if one of us gets inspired to wave a duster around.

Next move?  I’ve a fancy for a little C18 costume so am looking into a structure to house a suitable scene.  Got some ideas but need to learn a new skill or four.  I’ll let you know the outcome of that unlikely adventure 😉

A day or twenty in the life of a post box watcher


or the adventures of she who waits

I like to keep busy, turn my hand to something and move from one task to another.  I like to sit and read too, but there’s a limit to being static for periods of time, particularly if Time itself is on you tail, then repeated exercise becomes even more of an essential.

I’ve been post box watching for weeks, so you can guess from the above that this is not my favourite ‘sport’.  Do you ever find that  non-activity sends your daily-doings into a sort of hypnotic state and very little gets done?  I’m becoming blanked by the waiting and only come to life at the sight of the post van arriving in our lane.  A little similar to the times you send off a job application and almost hold your breath with the waiting.

Enough of that

Still sitting under the letterbox for mini things and, as the waiting has lost its magic, I reckon if I make the things that haven’t arrived (and I’ve contacted the sellers but had no response) then the post van will most certainly bring them to my door tomorrow 🙂

And so I have now rustled up homemade substitutes.

In the meantime, in order to shake of some of this lassitude, I’m starting something else and a very loud raspberry from me to the missing items.

and the the third is the putting the framing on with the table in situ problem which I’ve moaned about before.  This way, if I make the dark mount surround from stiffer card, I should be able to put the table in after the frame has been attached.

Lots of waiting still going on

Meanwhile, the whole village is waiting for some resolution to a river difficulty and a danger of flooding (again).  More news on that front when there is any.

Some items have arrived through the magic letterbox; my passport for instance.  Recently everything ran out at once; passport, driving licence; stick a pin in it and its time was up.

A wee warning to any short, follicly challenged folk

Passport online application is a hoot as the system automatically assesses whether the photo is acceptable or not.  After four photos from different sources were refused for lack of clarity as to where person ends and background begins, we went on the trail of yet another photo machine but one that generates reference numbers.  You can get them with a code that is printed on the sheet of mini photos which can then be entered in the online forms for a passport, telling the system which photo booth holds the digi info.  I’d already tried two of the recommended new machines but, after being fed money they didn’t give code numbers after all, and the images, scanned, were dismissed by the online system once more.  Despite the fact that the machine we finally found looked identical to the others and it kept giving me messages thhat it didn’t ‘think’ the photos being taken would meet requirements (yes, it used the same image software program for detecting where the head shape ends), it did print out a code and after feeding the magic number to the online form, hey presto, the passport was with me within five days!  I had the odd thought that I’d receive a document with someone else’s pic, but all was OK.  One thing all the machines did have in common is that the seat in the booth did not adjust enough or even safely for those of us of limited height!  What a joke being judged by a machine because you can’t get your head within the required egg-shaped markers or guide lines and can’t balance on the wibbly wobbly stool enough to be sufficiently still.  Sheesh!

The driving licence is another matter.  Suffice it to say, because they’d input my postcode wrongly when they went digital and I couldn’t fill in the form without lying through my teeth (on the advice of someone on the end of the phone at DVLA) about where I lived and for how long I went back to the paper form.  Why does it need renewing?  Because of age, and, it seems, it has to be renewed every three years after that.  Always assuming they’ll renew mine this time that is … still waiting.

Still it rains

But never mind, on with new things 🙂

How much do you take in at a glance?


How much when you study?

I’ve been working on a 1:12 scale ‘scene’ in a small room box, 9cms deep x 16cms wide by 14cms high.  The main feature of the scene is a dressed table in the style of C17 Dutch painters, in particular the work of van Beyeren.  The intention was to select one or two images, take inspiration from them and then lay out a still life of my own according to my fancy, mostly to use as many as possible of the objects that have accumulated in my ‘Potting Shed’ and generally keep my hands busy now and then.

I ended up choosing one painting (one of the many Still-Life with Landscape) and it became a bit of an obsession, as I studied (or thought I studied) what items had been used in the piece and how they were set out.  On looking again I’d find yet another little something hiding under a rim or balancing on an edge.

It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve looked at it I see a different relationship between the angle of one object against another, a different line of flow of objects.

I tried to work some of this out by building it in a 3D mess-about, using the bits and pieces I had to hand, but failed miserably and have, totally against my original intent, (1) of designing my own still life layout and (2) of not buying in new pieces, now bought in items that might represent more closely the style of thing that has been used in the van Beyeren set-up.  I have made some additions from stock shoved in here and there where the object can be adapted, or as a fill-in in the odd place where failure to pick up what’s really going on in the painting means there’s a hole.  I’m not trying to copy it so much as understand the geography of it.

The painting has a continuity of food-jumble and tableware, the breath and roundedness of life, you can almost smell it, but I can’t grasp it.  I failed miserably and I suspect I should have returned to plan A a long time ago and just laid out a home-grown still life loosely in the style of.

The box is now at the stage where I’m awaiting a couple of things and, as I once again look at the painting I spot yet another feature that I’ve missed over on the right-hand edge.

So, how much do you see at first glance and how much information do you gather on closer study – and how often do you check it?