Saturday, 20 April 2019

In an Eclectic Manor....


"Easter?" I hear you cry - but on Cestina's blog it still seems to be Christmas. How can that be? Quite simply the real world, with its political shenanigans and Brexit brouhaha of the past months, has so distracted and dismayed me that I have been unable to find any consolation at all in the world of miniatures.

However even my despair, committed European that I am, at what is happening, cannot override my shame at having a Christmas blog post still showing when Easter is very definitely upon us!

Particularly as I already had all the photos poised for the next post...

So even though I find it hard to write about Small Worlds when I am in the UK here goes, with apologies for my neglect. 


I do have here in England a very handy display dolls house - about 4 foot long by 2.5 foot high.


Its usefulness lies in the fact that it is only 10 inches deep so can sit at the back of a coffee table in my bedroom and provide a temporary home for miniatures acquired during my time in the UK.

And what a rich haul it has been this year. Not just the things I have picked up in charity shops, something we sadly lack in the Czech Republic, but the very generous Christmas and birthday gifts I got from Rose-next-door and Jo who looks after her so well.

This is a somewhat photo-heavy post since it mostly consists of showing off many of the items either given or acquired. They won't of course be staying here, with one or two exceptions. Everything will find a home in due course in the Small Worlds Museum. If all goes according to plan I should be heading back there mid-May, with the museum opening on Saturday 15th June.

Pretty well all the furniture in Eclectic Manor, apart from the bathroom and the 3 Raine's Take a Seat chairs, has come from Rose and Jo.

So starting, as one should, in the entrance hall, you can see a small bookshelf and an oak desk and chair....



Moving along to the kitchen......



.... you will find one of two little dolls who arrived, courtesy of Riny Tromp, from the Netherlands. Her companion is up in one of the bedrooms. Thank you Riny!

The Peter Fagan cat pieces, of which I now have a fair number, are all charity shop or ebay finds. The crocheted rug is by Jo, and the maid comes from her and Rose.....


....as does pretty well everything in the little scullery next door ....



In the first floor drawing room is a grand piano and chair plus a fireplace......



...and two Raine's Take a Seat chairs. I have a large collection of these, as many of you will know by now. It irks me that they are slightly out of scale, too small by just a fraction, in the same way as it irks me that the fashion models, also by Raine and shortly to be seen upstairs, are slightly too large for 12th scale. I still use them though. The Christmas tree is handmade by my sister-in-law Mette.



Next door you will find the nursery, most of the items here are charity shop finds, including the puppet show.



I was delighted to come across this as I have quite a substantial collection of Czech string puppets which also live in my bedroom here in the UK. I am on the lookout for a proper theatre for them....tiny clowns at the front are by Butterfly made a great many years ago now.

Beneath the roof, the spare bedroom has Jo and Rose beds and pillows, scented no less....






....and the second doll from Holland; nice that she has a dressing table , courtesy of J&R, to preen herself in front of....The rug is by Jo.

The bathroom houses the first of the headless models which I found in a local hospice shop. These Raine's fashion figures will probably join others in Gosthwaites underwear and corsetry department.



Flat out in the main bedroom is the man of the house. I think he must have been out on the town last night since he is clearly dreaming about very tall, headless women. Poor man....


They too may find themselves in Gosthwaites Department Store


So much for their Christmas presents to me. But I still had a birthday to come - 77 on the 20th of January. I was definitely not expecting what happened when I went round to Rose's for tea and cake!



This innocent carrier contained four pretty boxes which when opened revealed seventy-seven tiny wrapped presents! (Well about 65 tiny ones actually since the biggest boxes had a few rather larger items ...









Can you imagine how long it takes to wrap up and seal 77 presents? A true labour of love by Jo, (under Rose's guidance of course...)

I can tell you that it also takes ages and ages to open them all again! And although I had planned to set everything out and take photos of each and every item I am afraid that you will have to be content with a glimpse into the boxes.....









You will certainly meet everything once it arrives in Small Worlds.


Thank you Rose and Jo for such wonderful surprises!

In the meantime, apologies again for leaving so long a gap between posts and all best wishes for a very happy Easter break. The sun is shining through the window onto me as I write - so much so that I can barely see the screen. I wish you as much sunshine in the days to come and hope to be with you again soon from the Czech Republic.


PS Butterfly has just sent me a link to a wonderful blog post by a regular visitor to my blog - Helen of  Stamping by H.  This is to her other blog Photos by H and as I commented there, has brought back wonderful memories for me of Kew Gardens - visit it for an Easter treat!

Saturday, 15 December 2018

I can't bear Christmas......

.....which statement, judging by the seasonal posts of previous years, is clearly a bare(bear?)-faced lie!   But when I was searching for a title for Part III of the Bear Trilogy, following Bear with Me and Bear Necessities, Butterfly's suggestion was irresistible....

Actually I love Christmas and want nothing more of the Twelve Days than to sit by candlelight, admire our shining tree, listen to all kinds of Christmas music from medieval to White Christmas, taking in Ryba's Czech Christmas Mass on the way, and eat delicious food.  Family and a few select friends are allowed in but parties and social gatherings are out! 

Whether the Small Worlds' bears share my feelings is unclear to me, but they are clearly throwing themselves into the necessary preparations with gusto.

But before we take a look behind the scenes at their activities, let's see what else is going on in Small Worlds at this season of goodwill.

Since friends kindly open the museum for me during the one day Christmas market held in the adjacent building, it is worth my setting up a few Christmas treats for visitors....

On the table near the entrance there is a town scene, complete with train, tree, Christmas creche, villagers and lights.... 


As every year, Christmas is happening in the Walmer Victorian dolls house and because they enjoyed last year's house concert so much, they repeated it this year, once again with the visiting harpist from the Dutch house next door....

The carol singers are also in full voice - though the group seems to have lost some members since 2015!



The hot chestnut seller is doing well......


....and the post box is probably bursting at the seams.




So what are those bears up to then?   All over the house there is feverish activity preparing for the festivities, from the ground floor to the roof itself.

Come and join them....

What goes on in the kitchen is regarded by many bears as the foundation for the success of the celebrations....
Pudding and gingerbread bears done!
....but before we can enjoy our Christmas dinner, there are the cards to be sent out....


...the door wreath to be puzzled over....

  ...the tree to be wrestled with.....

...and the carol accompaniments to be rehearsed...


Who can blame those bears who retreat to a quieter place ...

...or decide to spend time in the comfort of the bedroom decking themselves, rather than the tree?



Oscar Wilde Bear has decided to flaunt his dressing gown on the balcony...
and Santa Claws (!) has arrived just where one would expect him to be....
Given the importance of music at this time of year,  the bears and I would like to leave you with some musical wishes for a joyous festive season - see you in the New Year!


But just a minute before you go - Santa Claws naturally has to have the very last word - he has wrested the signs from Oscar (I bet he's wild(e) about that)!


Thursday, 29 November 2018

Bear necessities....

In my last post a number of bears of all sizes took over half the window area of the Small Worlds museum.   Today it is time to take a first look at what is in the other half of the window....

When I moved into my newly renovated full-size house in Bavorov in 2007 one of the first things I wanted to do was renovate a much smaller house - an Ebay purchase I had brought over from England for my then four year old granddaughter.

However this was way before the days of Small Worlds and The Stables, so all the useful stuff I now have in the Czech Republic for doing anything under the sun for a dolls house renovation was still a distant dream.

Almost my first visitors back then were my brother Ian and his wife Mette  - she is a highly skilled miniaturist who amongst other things writes regular columns for the magazine Dolls House and Miniature Scene.  When I knew they were coming over I asked her to bring a few useful items like flooring and wallpaper so that we could do up the house together.

She did so, but we were still short of carpets and upholstery so we raided the cleaning section of a local supermarket, ending up with coloured dusters, chamois leathers, and green scourers (which latter make very excellent seat covers when cut to size-I suspect they are rather unpleasant to sit on though!). 


We were very proud of what we achieved with such limited means but I have to confess that the house interior had become badly faded over the years, not helped by having stood in bright sunlight most of the time....


Time for a renovation before a large family of bears takes it over ready for Christmas.....

A few dabs of paint on the worst bits was all that I was prepared to do outside.... 





....plus covering up a large, unexplained hole in the side - Butterfly suggested running a drain-pipe down with some mesh to prevent leaves getting in.   Out came the useful hair-curlers to act as mesh and a black straw drainpipe

.



I ripped off the very tatty vegetation that had been growing up the trellis work and replaced it with something rather more seasonal.





The greenery is from our favourite cheapie shop, Kik, and after some hunting...... 



....through my supplies I settled on wooden beads for the red berries.  





Please do not enquire as to the type of plant that resulted though!



The front doors needed some attention, as did a balcony door. A nameplate (which some of you will recognise), keyhole and doorknocker completed the outside work. 



I was pleased to discover that none of the rooms really required repapering. It was mainly a matter of replacing most of the flooring 





In one room I decided not to let good taste be my guide!  Who knows what appeals to bears anyway?


The other rooms are more restrained




The kitchen floor had always distressed me - it looked more like a roof than a floor - a coat of very pale blue stone paint, greatly improved matters.  


Before

The staircase satisfied a great need - many years ago Mette gave me a strip of hand-embroidered carpet (with I think the promise of more, which sadly never materialised) which I have never actually found a use for because there was not enough of it. 



There was, however, almost enough for the very visible staircase and so I thought I would try the experiment of photocopying it and using the copied bit right at the top, where it could not be seen so well.   I am quite pleased with the result...

Then all that remained was to prepare the bears for their occupancy. They all looked a bit too summery for my liking - indeed, as you may remember from the last blogpost,  several were stark naked.


I hunted out some knitted jumpers, the work once again of Sheila Randall who has been mentioned many times in these blogposts.  Getting some of them on was a bit of a struggle!

 I also dismembered a pipecleaner doll, of which I have several, to get a cosy scarf for one of the bears.  

Trousers were donated (or maybe just lent) by some small dolls. 



It is surprising how a bear can be transformed by removing a silly bow from its head.....






Another visit to the bric a brac stall in Vodnany produced two more useful bears - Butterfly has named this one Oscar Wilde Bear, thanks to his opulent dressing gown

The second will make his appearance in the final post of this trilogy, much nearer to Christmas......

In the meantime I leave you with some final views of the house.  Have a Happy Advent and watch this space!








My thanks to Anya for allowing this repurposing of her dolls house.  I hope she approves of it.


PS And for those who don't know it - a clue to why the post-title!