Sunday, November 3, 2013

David Hochbaum's Villages in Cans

Classes have finished. A marathon term. I hope to start blogging regularly again soon. In the meantime here is a link to another art project involving miniatures. Chicago artist
David Hochbaum is building tiny houses from off-cuts of his larger works. And only $25.00 from his website (I better order one before they all disappear) Interesting to see how mini art is taking off. I've got another example to post in the next day or so. Here are some examples of David's work from the Coolhunting article. Click on his name above to take you to the full article and a link to his website. .

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Thursday, September 26, 2013


I'm really busy at the moment, with a colleague off sick and life moving at double time it seems. I have some lovely new things but no time to photograph or set up scenes. I keep my mini passion fed by what I call blurfing. Starting with my favorite blogs, I click through to their favourites, then someone else's, and on it goes.

I am always so taken by the different ways people do miniatures: the scene setters, the story tellers, the big project builders, the exquisite craftspeople, the collectors, the teachers, the connectors. What a rich world it is and there truly seems to be no end to it.

Tonight I found Tee Bylo And her many wonderful projects. Have a blurf!

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Jen Spectacular

I've been away for a looooong time, but am about to launch two new projects, so watch this space. In the meantime take a look at Jen Spectacular. I found an article on her tonight on Coolhunting.

She's a San Francisco artist who refurbished and populates old dollhouses, complete with stories, most of which seem to have a kind of gothic twist. She has a film coming out next year.
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Saturday, June 15, 2013

I have been to the mountain (apologies to MLK, jr)

I am in Paris, with a friend, and today we struggled up Montmartre to go to Lea Frisoni' s Montmartre minis. It felt like visiting a shrine.
Ike most mini people I admire her work so much, although its not a style I emulate. U fortunately she wasn't there. The store has a great selection of bare wood minis. I bought a modern chest of drawers and an old fashion toilet for the French flat.

The section wasn't spectacular but in the window there was one of her beautiful French shabby chic dollhouses. It was worth going for that alone. I took a picture through the shop indow:

Very lovely to see.

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Why it is important to read mini blogs: a true story!

This weekend I rented a car so I could explore some parts of Cornwall relating to my research. In the process I was forced by a $&%#€ b****** to back down a very narrow road with hedgerows on either side. [There were 6 pullover spots behind him and the nearest behind me was about a kilometre back] And I do mean VERY narrow. In the process the passenger side of the car got scraped by brambles in the hedgerow. Gone was my £100 deductible.

While driving and cursing I remembered a tutorial by Fabulously Small for restoring scratched surfaces. So I stopped the car, whipped out my toothpaste and a tissue, and voila! Scratches all gone! Fabulous Small you really lived up to your name.

Not much mini-ing going on at the moment. Work, work, work! Here's a photo anyway.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Was looking through my pictures today and realised I hadn't shown these --bought in a toy shop in Ithaca commons. They have many different kinds. I bought three but only seem to have photographed two. As usual I should have gotten more since I have already give two away. They are called Tynies

Here's the turtle

And the parrot

The turtle is about 3/8 inch long. The parrot about 1/2 inch. Should have got more!
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Monday, May 20, 2013

Next phase

I left the US on Friday. I'm now in the UK. It feels like a different planet. I loved Ithaca, so beautiful and parts of it are such classic small town US. It was like driving through an Andy Rooney set. I stayed at the Best Western. I'm not given to commercial plugs, but the staff there were just terrific, such a nice group of people. They really made a difference to the quality of my stay. Things I won't miss: bad coffee, eating and drinking off paper and plastic. What a treat to have china cups and metal cutlery.

Yesterday some fiends and I went for a walk in bluebell woods in the Cotswolds, just north of Bristol. The we went to see a Gothic revival church with stained glass designed by William Morris and his early partners. It was a perfect day. Then this morning I got up and looked out my hotel room window and this is what I saw:

It's going to be a good month!

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Spring Swap, part 2

This is the best I could do in terms of staging a scene with Nancy's wonderful gifts. Remembering that I have been living in hotels for a month so improvisation is key. First of all it prodded me into get the the floor done for the Paris flat. This is not your fancy lay-it-down stick by stick job; its what you get when you have a piece of hardboard, a travellers water colour set, a Swiss Army knife and a tube of Burt's Bees lip salve. I wanted something that looks like very old floorboards of the kind you find in very old French apartments ( Ive only ever been in one). I grooved the floorboards into the hardboard with the knife, then scraped it down with my room key card to get ride of the sawdust that had been raised. Then I washed it down repeatedly with burnt sienna and cobalt blue water colour in various mixes and densities, blow drying it with the hotel dryer a few times so it wouldn't warp. Finally I rubbed lip salve all over it and polished it with Kleenex.
The back wall is the hotel; the side wall is my watercolour pad. I used my French Flat sofa bed. I call it 'Moving into the new studio'.

I bought the lamp in a little housewares shop near the Guggenheim in New York. It's called a Tiny Task. I wish I had bought a couple. I have a Tiny Tim, but it doesn't give off much light.

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Spring Swap part 1

I took part in the Spring Swap organised by Cyd at Mini Mod Pod. My partner was Nancy whose entry to the Spring Fling won The First-time Entrant award last year.

We decided to focus on accessories. Here is what she sent me:

It includes a beautiful easel, 2 baskets, three little crates with labels, 3 bowls, a pumpkin, a sack of potatoes, three shoe boxes, a rug, a pillow and 2 bolsters, plus some knickknacks. Furthermore she made all of these things herself and they are just perfect. But the best of all are three exquisite paint brushes, less than an inch long each.

I feel very spoiled. I'll post a scene tomorrow, using it all. Thank you again Nancy.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

New York Loot

Since im travelling I have been foraging for mini accessories, both in NYC and in Ithaca. Here are some pix;
First from The Tiny Dollhouse in NYC, some tiny tissue boxes, a brass kettle , a rooster and chicken and four of the nicest little mugs I have come across. Unlike the usual porcelain for minis these are perfectly proportioned, not thick and lumpy. I got a few more things but they have been sent off to Nancy on a swap.

Next from a wonderful little antique shop in the East Mall in Ithaca, an art nouveau picture frame, straw hats and beads which will make ginger jars and candlesticks. I love this little shop which stocks all manner of small vintage and antique goodies--beads, jewellery, dolls furniture, old toys, a veritable treasure trove.

I also got this tiny Chinese figurine. It's only 1/2 inch high I just had to grab it when I saw it. I inherited larger similar figurines from my grandmother and then my mother. They are much beat-up, but are among my most prized possessions. I also inherited 1 tiny single figure from this series, so it now has a couple of mates. You'll see them in lots of scenes in the future.

Then on Saturday I wandered down Ithaca Commons and into Ten Thousand Villages where I scored these little beauties. The hugging figures are less than an inch high while the egg containing a nativity scene is about an inch long. The bicycle is one of a set of earrings.

All in all Im very pleased. They will add more life to future scenes. Some will go into the Paris apartment, which I haven't given up on, even though I couldn't finish it for the Undersized Urbanite which has, by the way, some pretty amazing entries.
And I have another mini-justification. They make great souvenirs and take up no space at all in a suitcase.
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Thursday, April 25, 2013

More Triang...achoo, sniffle

I am hunkered down. In a hotel room in Ithaca, NY, with yet another cold. I seem to be travelling around with the sole purpose of collecting new versions of the cold virus. I am doing some mini-ing. Will post about it later, but in the meantime I need to honour my promise to post the pictures of the 1940s Triang house. I realise I didn't photograph everything, but I'll be back there in June. So herewith:

First, my favourites, the bathroom set. It's made of metal, and even has a wee laundry basket and chair. There doesn't seem to be a tub. Must ask if it got lost.

Next favourite is the Art Deco sofa:



And side!

Then we have the grand piano, with a top that opens

Or if you don't want to go to the effort of making your own music there is an up-to-the-minute gramophone, also with opening top.

There is a fireplace for warmth:

A vacuum cleaner for cleaning

And two comfy armchairs for relaxing in after the house is tidy

Finally, would you like o meet the inhabitants?
Granny and Grandad

Mum, dad and kids

Promise kept (achoo, sniffle).

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

I ('') NY

It's been a long time since my last blog,but that is because I have been on the move for almost a month,the last week in New York City. Mostly, I have been working at the NYPL, but I have had some time to do other things. The first few days were devoted to trying to find a decent cup of coffee. New Zealand, along with having passed the Same Sex Marriage Act this week , also has the best coffee, across the board, of any place I have lived or worked.... By a long shot! ( no pun intended) it bemuses me that NYers, world famous for being demanding about their food, should put up with such lousy coffee, really, like weak dishwater.

So, the best coffee of all the places I tried on the Upper East Side, where I am staying, is at a little place on 92 St and 3rd Ave called Effys Cafe. The food there is pretty good too --Israeli specialties for the most part, nice and fresh. But the coffee is extraordinary. I don't know what the barista does to it but it tastes like it has Kaluha in it --just a drop, mind you. Definitely worth a visit if you care about coffee.

So much for the essentials of life. In terms of minis --the big (as in momentous, rather than size) find was The Tiny Dollhouse at 314 78th St, between 1st and 2nd Aves.

It's run by a lovely man named Lesley who also builds custom houses. The houses in the shop come in various forms from componentry, to assembled but not finished to fully finished

He also stocks all the possible bits and pieces from toilet paper rolls and darling dog bowls to exquisite porcelain and beautiful handcrafted dolls and animals. The shop is laid out so that there are open roomboxes down the left side with things you can touch, and closed ones down the right side with the things which are expensive and handmade and to die for. The photo below is on the right side

The centre of the shop is mostly taken up with houses:

The first day I was there a regular customer who had been a textile curator talked to me all about her houses, one of which was at the shop waiting to be delivered. It was a beautiful 4 storied brick house which she was setting up as a 19th century Jewish household. Today when I went in there were three little girls picking out things for their houses --oh, the agony of having to choose from all those lovely things. I was tempted by two Staffordshire-type kittens about 1/4 inch high (@$23 each), or one of three gorgeous Art Deco brass statuettes, less than an inch high (each @ $60), or a Clarice Cliff tea set, the price of which I didn't even ask. But I refrained, and instead bought little things I could use for my Undersized Urbanite French apartment and put into my Spring swap. But I will be back. And if you are in NYC so should you!

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

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Triang. --ulated

At last the Triang photos. My friend was born in 1943 and was given the house before she left England as a child. She doesn't have all the original furniture, but does have quite a bit so here is the house

And some shots of the interior wallpaper, which is really spectacular:

Children's bedroom

This is the kitchen:


Living room:

Master bedroom

Downstairs floors:

More tomorrow
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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Long lounge

Carmen of Adventures with Indy and Poppy has posted pictures of the chaise longue I made for my February giveaway. She wanted something that could go in a Victorian cottage. Here it is in its new home:

Photo by Carmen.
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Monday, March 25, 2013

All the mod cons

Just before I left NZ I finally conquered the sofa bed issue,so here it is made in steel blue linen. No legs yet as its travelling with me. So here's the sofa:

And in bed mode:

With mattress pad:

And fitted sheet:

And fully made up:

I learned HEAPS doing it, among which

1. 1/4 inch foam board is NOT easier to work with than 2 pieces of 1/8 inch glued together

2. Fabric glue is easy to smear on accidentally, but hard to get off

3. You don't have to swear at double sided tape if you don't cut it until after you have attached one side to the piece. Attach, cut. Rather than cut, attach, then struggle to get the backing off without taking either the tape or even the surface underneath.

The other big news is that my hostess has a 1940s Triang dollhouse with original dolls and furniture, which she has given me permission to photograph and post. Check in over Easter to see.

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