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Archive for January, 2012

Victorian Valentine Cards

This is the time of year when I ought to be putting all my energy in to getting my accounts ready for the tax man.

Naturally enough, I find as many excuses as I can to do something else instead !

These little Valentine cards are approximately half an inch (1.25cm) along the longest edge.

The miniature scraps are reproductions of Victorian originals and I have glazed them with a water based varnish, so that  they have the feel of the original.

As I did not have any sufficiently fine paper lace,  I used tiny scraps of cotton lace instead.

If anyone would like to have a go at making their own little Valentine Card, there are some excellent examples of  Paper Lace Valentines on a very interesting site called The Scrap Album

And to get you started here are a few scraps that you are welcome to use.

They are tiny images, but because they are 300 ppi they may look realatively large on a computer screen.

open house miniatures miniature card blank

open house miniatures miniature scraps romantic messages

open house miniatures miniatures scrap cherubs

If I resize them to 72 ppi they look like this …

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We had a gleam of sunshine earlier this week, so I tried to take some photographs of a Christian Hacker House that I had just finished.

They were not entirely successful, but they were not bad and the colours were …  nearly right … mostly…

If I sound grudging, it is because the house is very delicately  coloured and I don’t think I have managed to capture this very well.

Open House Miniatures - Christian Hacker dolls' house for a doll's house

The very little that I know about Christian Hacker boils down to a meagre 6 facts

  1. The Christian Hacker factory was founded in Nuremberg in 1835.
  2. They made many sorts of wooden toys – stables,  dolls’ houses, room sets, shops and castles (and many, many more).
  3. The toys were very high quality, often highly decorated and very expensive.
  4. The company twice won medals in Paris at the Great Exhibition.
  5. The company closed in 1927.
  6. If you are lucky the toy may be identified by a stamp, or  label, showing the company insignia of CH on a shield, under a crown

I have never found an old company catalogue for any of the Christian Hacker toys, and the most I have been able to find out about the house that I make in miniature, comes from Faith Eaton’s excellent – The Ultimate Dolls’ House Book (published by Dorling Kindersley).

This house , made in Nuremberg c1900, is typical of those created by Christian Hacker. Although some aspects varied to some extent, other features, such as the lift off mansard roof and the “French” look illustrated here, were invariably maintained.

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In my miniature version the mansard roof is fixed in place, but otherwise I feel it is very close to the spirit of the original.

Christian Hacker House from Faith Eaton's The Ultimate Dolls' House Book

From Faith Eaton's The Ultimate Dolls' House Book

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My last big box of fireworks went to a customer in Holland at the beginning of this month and I was surprised how hard it was to see it go.

I felt I would like to do something to mark the occasion and so recorded the final ceremonial wrapping.

I have had many generous comments about my packaging, and so here is a brief overview of how to make a small, tough box from second-hand cardboard.

Find something that is just a little bit larger than the item you are going to post

Find something that is just a little bit larger than the item you are going to post

I have a collection of plastic pots that I keep for just this purpose !

I have a collection of plastic pots that I keep for just this purpose !

Take thin, flexible, corrugated card.

I often re-use Amazon boxes in this way – their cardboard is excellent quality !

Cut strips of card – just a little bit deeper than the object you are posting.

Cut the card and across the grain – so that you can see the curl of the inner structure

Take thinish, flexible, corrugated card - I often re-use Amazon boxes in this way as their cardboard is excellent !

Wrap this strip, or strips if you find you need more than one, around your shape – two thickness of card is usually enough

Unwrap the strip, apply glue to the inside and then coil it round the shape again

Hold it until the glue sticks, or use a piece of sellotape to keep the end in place

Then apply glue to one end and stick the coiled cardboard to another piece of cardboard

Sometimes I use slightly thicker cardboard for the base and the top

Make sure it is dry before you use it !

When you are sure it is dry, cut away the the excess from the outside of the base and cut a lid for the top

Wrap your item in tissue paper – this will protect it and help to stop it moving about

Some items are very light and delicate - it is better not to wrap these tightly

Some items are very light and delicate – it is better not to wrap these tightly

Sellotape the lid in place

Put the finished package in a padded bag – ready for taking to the Post Office

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Circus Roundabout

Mniature Epinal Toy Circus Roundabout

This miniature toy circus roundabout is a  working model.

It is made from acid free paper and card and is under 1 inch (2.5cm) in width and just over  1 inch (2.5cm) in height.

The original version was published at the beginning of the 20th Century by a French company called Imagerie d’Epinalis.

It was printed on paper sheets and was designed to be to be cut out and assembled at home.

I am particularly fond of my miniature version because it actually works – when the gold knob is gently pulled upwards and turned, the stage revolves and the figures go round and round.

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Really Useful Boxes

I want to sing the praises of the Really Useful Boxes that I was given for Christmas.

They are very nicely made and come in a variety of sizes and colours.

The locking system that keeps the lid securely in place is ingenious, easy to operate and really works !

( no more nasty surprises as tiny things fall out all over the floor !!! )

In short, I love them.

They are the safest, strongest and most satisfying storage that I have ever used.

And absolutely ideal for keeping your precious treasures safe !

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