Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Sorry to be absent for so long--I just seem to have too much going on in RL this summer.

Today I want to show you yet another fabulous transformation by my friend and fellow miniaturist Bill McGuire for our mutual friend, miniaturist KB.  We have always loved this kit but KB beat me to getting it done.

The project started with a Real Good Toys Front Opening Conservatory Kit.  This is what the kit looked like when it was first put together.  Your standard MDF construction--nothing special.  Nice windows, though.

Here's a photo from the RGT site of a finished kit the way they envision it.  Nice, but again, nothing remarkable about it.

Here's the conservatory when Bill was finished working his magic. Isn't it amazing?

Bill was inspired by, but not slavishly wedded to, the look of the Petit Trianon at Versailles.  He chose Lawbre trim elements to transform the plain kit into a jewel box of a French-inspired structure -- including the classic balustrade, Rococo frieze, acanthus corbels, palmettes, and the shell above the door. These motifs continue around the sides.  Next he added a mansard roof--just peeking over the balustrade--which he painted to look like aged copper.  Finally, he sited the structure on a base and added several steps to the entrance, with room for planter boxes.  Then he painted the whole structure to look like pale, glowing stone.

I just love the way this looks and am once again in awe of Bill's talent.

Now it's up to KB to decide what to do with the interior!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Kensington Dollshouse Festival Report

As expected, I had a great time at the Summer Kensington Dollshouse Festival in London last weekend. Devoted miniaturists started lining up early with their carry bags (I was among the first 50 at 9:15 am for an 11:00 am opening) and soon the line snaked around the Kensington Town Hall courtyard and around the block. The entrance is under the overhang on the right--on the left is the line as it snaked around the plaza and continued down to Kensington High Street.  I met a number of friends from around the world who were also in line -- catching up was a good way to pass the time till the doors opened.

Two perspectives on the line from where I was....fortunately it was a beautiful sunny and warm day so people didn't complain much.  The Festival had helpers passing out the show booklet which was perused avidly in the interim.

Once in the door I did a quick reconnaissance mission around the three floors just to get situated and to pick up a few things I knew would disappear if I didn't jump on them.  The main floor had the most artisans so that's where I spent the majority of my time.  You can see the floor plans here: http://www.dollshousefestival.com/kensington/floor-plans/floorplans.pdf

I had placed orders in advance with a number of artisans so I was able to save those stands for last.  Of course I had to stop and greet friends so it took me quite a while to make the circuit.  I was happy to see and chat with Leslie and Lyndel Smith (painted furniture and oil paintings), Susan and Andrew Bembridge (wallpaper and fabric), Sue and John Hodgson (gilt furniture and accessories), Karen Griffiths and Peter Armstrong (Stokesay Ware), Susie Rogers and Kevin Mulvaney,  Rohit and Radika Kahanna (furniture), Jens and Shaney Torp (sterling silver), Charlotte and Martin Wilmott (Mousehouse Miniatures), Jan and Paul Brownlee (Country Treasures), Annie Willis (Fine Designs), Liz LePla and her sister Kate (ELF Miniatures), Marie France Beglan and her sister Catherine Muniere (dolls)...never mind, I can't list them all!

Mulvaney and Rogers were showing a recently completed project for a Middle Eastern prince.  It is a department store and simply amazing.  I got a few photos but not as many as I wanted because there were so many people crowded around the structure every minute of the day.

This is the front.  I wish I could have gotten the woman in brown to move but she stubbornly refused.

The window on the left--The Princess and the Pea!  My favorite fairy tale!!!!

The right window.  I don't know who she is but look at that dress!

Here's the inside--as much of it as I could capture.  That's the furniture department on the top floor.  Shoes on the left on the next floor, then dresses and a dressing room on the next floor, handbags on the ground floor on the left, jewelry and sunglasses in the middle next to the entrance, and the final room on the right has vases and I think dishes.

My favorite was the handbag department.  Long before I collected miniatures I collected handbags.  Love the mini red Birkin on the display table.

It's a really impressive structure and every little detail is perfect.

Fit for royalty indeed!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The House That Giac Built

I am absolutely thrilled that Miniature Collector has chosen my story about Giac Dell'accio's Dewell Manor for the cover of the July issue.

Dewell Manor is a huge project--Giac claims it's still not finished--and he has done all the work himself. I'm in awe of his ability to do everything from floors to faux finishing to window treatments.

You can see more of Giac's work on his blog:  http://englishmanordollhouse.blogspot.com/.

Congrats, Giac!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Kensington Dollshouse Festival

I am really excited about attending the 30th Annual Kensington Dollshouse Festival in London next weekend.  I'm looking forward to seeing artisan and collector friends with whom I mainly communicate via email between shows.

Of course, I have an ever-expanding shopping list--both for my website and for my own projects (LOL).

Let me know what you are working on so I can keep my eyes open for you.  And if you have suggestions for artisans whose work you would like to see on the site, or if there is a particular piece you would like to have available, leave me a comment or shoot me an email.

If you are attending the show--look for me!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

It's Showtime: Chicago International This Weekend

I will be at Table 105 in the Orange Ballroom--with lots of new and exciting artisan minis from around the world!  Do stop by if you are attending the show.

Exclusive Preview Show & Sale
Friday, April 11 - 10 am - 5 pm 
Saturday, April 12 -  9am - 10am 
Admission:  $25.00
Includes Early Buying Privileges and 3 Day Admission
Preview is sold out - call for cancellations

Show Hours
Saturday, April 12, 2013 ~ 10am - 5pm
Sunday, April 13, 2013 ~ 11am - 4pm  
Daily Admission:  Adults $8, Children Under 12 - $4

8535 W. Higgins Rd
Chicago, IL  60631 
Telephone:  800-228-9290 or 773-693-4444 

Come visit! 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Secret Christmas House

Lest you think I have given up miniatures -- other than writing about them -- I thought I would show you a few photos of my almost-finished Robin Betterley Secret Christmas House.  I realize Christmas was 3 months ago but I didn't have much time to work on this during the winter.

First, a few disclaimers.  I am not a kit person.  Nor am I skilled at making anything smaller than 1:12 scale.  But this project is so adorable that I knew I had to try it--urged on by my friend Kris, who can make anything!

I found the instructions to be absolutely crystal clear and there were plenty of photos, which helped me immensely.  So kudos to Robin and Shawn--I suspect this is the reason why their kits are so very popular.

So here is the house closed.

And here it is with the "secret" rooms open.

Here's a close up so you can see the adorable wallpaper that comes with the kit.

And here's the other side--I just love the Library!

I've finished making the table upon which the house is intended to sit....but early on, when I was not keeping every single scrap of wood and paper, I lost two of the front steps.  So I can't put the house on the table until (hopefully) they send me replacements.

Now I have to tackle the furniture kits so I can furnish this delightful little house!  It will feature prominently in my holiday decorations next year!

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Interview with Michael Walton

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

If you have a moment, listen to this wonderful interview with Irish miniature furniture maker Michael Walton -- it ran today on WBEZ, Chicago's public radio station.

The reporter, Linda Paul, just happened by Michael's shop and wandered in.

Here's the link:


Photo by Linda Paul

Michael will be teaching two furniture finishing classes at the Chicago International.  You can sign up here:

I feel so lucky that Michael lives nearby and is a good friend!