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2017 !  How did it get to be 2017 ?
I didn’t think it had been that long since I wrote something for this blog.

There should be a nice photograph here. But I don’t have a camera at the moment and the results that I got from the Android Tablet that I borrowed were a bit… odd…

So you are going to have to take my word for it that the images below are of a really a rather nice little model farmhouse sitting in its own garden, and propped up at a peculiar angle either on the cap of a tube of toothpaste or a cork.
open_house_miniatures_Card_farm_house_put_together  open_house_miniatures_card_farm_house_put_together-size

The farmhouse is something that I was trying out today and, while I was struggling with a knife blade that wanted to break and paper that wanted to tear, not to mention disbelieving the way the card I was using absorbed water-based glue like a sponge and went soggy, I thought that, as well as being relatively simple to make (just don’t use the card I tried using first of all), the finished farmhouse would look good in a miniature nursery, school-room or shop.

And so here, if you would like to try making this for yourself, is a pdf of the parts for you to play with too:
OHM_Farm_and_Garden_20170524
UPDATE: 3rd June 2017 – black and white versions of an 8 card set are now in this post

The usual request remains the same: make the model, share it and, if you want to, sell the finished article (but think of all the other people who will do this too), but please don’t re-sell the pdf or the artwork itself.

Instructions for putting the model together:
The paper or card that you use and your printer ink will affect the finish and the colours you get. 
If you have never made anything this small before and would like to see detailed, step by step pictures for a similar project, please take a look here at another small house on a base – the walkthrough is towards the end of the post (which is much shorter than this one!)

Materials:
I used 200gsm paper and water-based glue, which I applied with a brush.
This was mainly for speed, as this was a trial run for me.
Printing on a thin paper and gluing this to thin card would work equally as well.
The main thing is that you need something that will hold its shape when folded and will not fall apart when glued.
Note: If you glue 2 sheets of paper, or paper and card together, make sure they are completely dry before cutting them out.

First (for reference only) look at the picture below:
The fold lines are marked in red and the slots that need to be cut out are marked in blue.
These lines are fine and black on the pdf and, if you don’t know what you are looking for, they are easy to miss.

Reference picture for A M Davis farmhouse and Garden Kit

What I did:
Scored along the fold lines first. 
Then cut the slots out, cutting away from the corners.
Then cut around the outlines.
Then made the creases in the various parts – centre roof, house walls, etc.

I found that it was best to fit the front of the house into the roof first and then fit the back to these two pieces once they were assembled. A little bit of glue inside the house, applied with a paintbrush, will hold all the parts together.

The hedges fit around the outside of the garden base.
A small amount of glue, applied with a paintbrush, and left to dry on the thin edge of the garden base is helpful. Once this is dry, another thin layer of glue can be applied and the hedges should adhere to this without giving too much trouble.

I assembled the garden so that the coloured part of the hedge was on the inside and, when it was all in I place, I discovered that there was a significant gap between the front hedge and the garden base.

So, after I had glued the house to the back and the base and was certain that everything was dry and fairly stable, I made a second base out of two layers of card.
I measured and cut this to be a little bit wider than the original base. The new, slightly larger, base makes a tiny ledge around the sides and also strengthens and neatens the appearance of the whole thing.

The white, unprinted card and the cut edges now looked a bit stark to me, so I washed some thin water-based paint over them – green for the base and the outside of the hedges and light orange for the chimneys.

I am sorry that I do not have the means of taking better photos at the moment – this is a nice little model and deserves a better picture than I can achieve right now.

A Minor Point :
The original cards are about A5 in size. This would be very small if reduced to 12th scale, so this model is not 12th scale, just a useful sort of size for a dolls’ house.

About the Cards :
There are 12 cards in the set that I have. They were published by A M Davis, Quality Cards & Co (London).

.A M Davis - Quality Cards Logo

The original cards are uncoloured line drawings. I made copies and coloured some of those. (This was a lengthy process as they were probably lithographed and the interference dot-matrix pattern, or whatever it is, is appalling. It would have been quicker to draw my own design out.)
The set is undated and I have no information about the original publisher.
A quick look on the internet did not  make me much better informed about them, but I did find two enjoyable sites, which are worth a look if you are interested in vintage cards:

http://www.postcardy.com/article04.html

http://vintagerecycling.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/am-davis-quality-cards.html

If you are interested in making paper based projects like this one there are a few more available on this page

Finally:
I have always said my photographs are awful, but this has to be a new low point.

open_house_miniatures_dollshouse_farm_and_garden_a_m_davis_original

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12th scale dollhouse miniature christmas angels on a stand

These angels weren’t designed as a set.

I was trying to find a way to show that they were all slightly different.

It is a pity that the photograph (above) could be misleading because I like it much more than my usual effort (below).

12th scale swedish style dolls' house angel candlesticks

The angels were inspired by traditional Swedish Christmas ornaments. The design is mine and they are not a copy of an existing decoration. Each one is cut out, assembled and painted individually.

The angels holding a star are (from the bottom of the base to the top of the star) about 1 inch in height (2.5 cm)

The angels holding a candle are (from the bottom of the base to the top of the candle) about 1 and 1/4 inches in height  (3.2 cm)

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open_house_miniatures_ christmas_2015_dolls'_house_nativity_set_umpainted

This week I borrowed a Daylight Company D45000 4 Watt Foldi LED Portable Lamp and I have to say that it has exceeded my expectations.

It is compact, solidly weighted and stable. It give a very clear light – don’t look into it, you will hurt your eyes. It makes painting by artificial light possible (not good, but possible) and in the photographs that I have just taken the colours that I see on screen are very close to the colours that I see in real life.

The lamp is available from Amazon (UK) and when I looked it was on special offer, which makes it very, very tempting as far as I am concerned, although I need to see if it can help out with photos taken in daylight before making a final decision.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The nativity scene in the photos is probably going to be my 2015 set. I am saying probably because the figures illustrated are fixed to the stand and I would prefer them to be free standing. They are glued down because they are very small and light, especially the baby Jesus who goes missing despite all my efforts I make to keep him safe.

MATERIALS:

Varnished wooden base (gloss varnish)

Hand-painted resin / plastic figures and star. These are finished with a very tiny amount of gold, sealed and given several thin coats of matt / satin varnish so that they have a slight sheen, but are not too shiny.

SIZE:

The stand is -1″ wide (approx 2.5cm) x  just over 1″ tall (approx 2.75cm)

The tallest figure (Joseph) is 2cm – roughly 3/4 of an inch

As the stands are handmade and the figures are hand-painted, they are all slightly different.

UPDATE: 24th November 2015

open_house_miniatures_ christmas_2015_dolls'_house_nativity_set_daylight

As far as I am concerned, daylight is still best.

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Open House Miniatures - Spoonflower - Test Fabric

It is certainly possible to print onto fabric at home (See Bits and Pieces for an example) but it is not something that I would encourage anyone to do, unless they have a printer that can cope with fabric.

The printers that I buy are designed  to print letters and invoices etc, and they tend to jam if I ask them to print on anything much thicker than thin card.

This being so, I only attempt to print onto fabric when I know that my printer is about to expire and I am going to need a new one soon anyway.

There are other reasons for getting fabrics commercially printed. Here are some random examples –

  • Cost – believe it or not, given the price of ink, it is actually cheaper for me to go to a proper print shop and get my printing done there – and not have the bother of maintaining a very expensive piece of machinery.
  • Dust – fibres from fabric will inevitably get into the mechanism of the printer – even though I am scrupulous about No Loose Threads.
  • Size / quality of print
  • Guaranteed colour-fastness of a fabric print (Some people recommend using Bubble Jest Set – I haven’t tried this (yet) as I find that simply boiling cotton fabric works sufficiently well for me.)

However, generally speaking, I would say that getting a fabric commercially printed is a costly and time-consuming business – and very often you are expected to buy yards and yards of the finished product too.

Given all this, I have been eyeing up Spoonflower (rather skeptically) for a while and wondering if I could justify the time involved in preparing some files to their specifications.

In the end I had an “If Not Now When?” moment and uploaded a large design which I had ready. (This had not been tweaked to fit any of Spoonflower’s recommendations – which was very unfair of me.)

And the result was ?

  • I uploaded the design on a Friday and paid for a proof to be sent to me. ($6 in total for one sample)
  • My 8 inch x 8 inch proof was posted to me on the following Monday. (20.3 x 20.3 cm)
  • The proof arrived the following Tuesday. (I am in the UK and Spoonflower is in the US.)
  • I sat and looked at it and thought – This is pretty amazing. There must be something wrong with it.

But there isn’t.

The sample was folded when it arrived – and neatly creased along the folds.

So I washed it.

Open House Miniatures - Spoonflower - Test Fabric washed

and ironed it on the reverse (I always iron printed fabrics on the reverse).

Open House Miniatures - Spoonflower Test Fabric - Ironed

I had asked for a sample in the cheapest  fabric available and this is very fine and smooth (and slightly transparent).

It is also looks unbleached and is very slightly creamy in colour, and this does affect the colour of the print.

(The fabric on the left and the paper print on the right – again, this is an unfair comparison as I can only print in CMYK and Spoonflower prints in RGB).

Open House MIniatures - Spoonflower Test Print - colour comparison

I would say that, on this fabric,  the print quality is excellent, with very minimal colour bleed.

(The ruler is showing millimeters).

Open House Miniatures - Spoonflower Test Print - minimal colour bleed

But what made me smile most was the one of the nicest compliment slips that I have seen for ages.

Open House Miniatures - Spoonflower fabric compliment slip

This fabric by Khandisha is here
http://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/2077900

And the thing that made me laugh when I saw it…?

(You will need to take a look at my previous post to understand why.)

Open House Miniatures - How big is this

I really must see if I can get some American coins, mustn’t I?

***   ***   ***

In conclusion, am I planning to see if Spoonflower can handle some very small prints?

I am very tempted to, and if I do I will report back – with a sample book of the various materials available and a ruler !

***   ***   ***

If you would like to visit my Spoonflower page in the meantime, it is here –

http://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/elizabethp

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Open House Miniatures - Cinderella Cartel Clock

This type of clock is sometimes called a Cartel Clock. Cartel Clocks are usually made from gilded metal and designed to fit flat against a wall.

There is quite a story attached to the making of the clock, and the book that inspired it deserves a blog post of its own (which it will get shortly) but here (very briefly) is what happens in my version of Cinderella –

There is no big, booming clock to signal midnight because, in my experience, most drama happens quietly, and there is never a beautifully timed clap of thunder when you need one. Anyway –

The Prince and Cinderella were sitting on a gilded sofa and one of these clocks was on the wall, above their heads.

The Prince had just begun to say,

“Mysterious and Beautiful Maiden, will you marr …”

when the little clock started to whirr and then to chime – chinging, ting, ting…

“Oh !” exclaimed Cinderella, jumping up…

And the rest, as they say, is history.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

I don’t know if you have noticed, but I have just done two things that I usually avoid doing on this blog

I have used a richly coloured back ground and I have indulged in story telling.

Why have I done this?

Well, you know my boring, boring photographs and my long-winded explanations? Even I get fed up with them sometimes, however let us consider the alternatives…

Open House Miniatures - Cinderella Cartel Clock

Does this photograph tell you
how large this clock is?

open_house_miniatures_three_cinderella_cartel_clocks_crushed_pink_velvet

Does this photograph tell you
what the clock is made from?

open_house_miniatures_three_cinderella_cartel_clocks

Does this photograph tell you
anything at all?

open_house_miniatures_three_cinderella_cartel_clocks_striped_fabric

All this says to me is – STRIPES !

open_house_miniatures_three_cinderella_cartel_clocks_with_ruler

Oh well…

***   ***   ***   ***

As a matter of interest it has taken me about 6 weeks to get from here –

Open House Miniatures - Cinderella Cartel Clock

to here –

open_house_miniatures_cinderella_cartel_clock

– and now I am not at all certain that I like the metallic finish and I am going to have to look into alternatives.

So what about this clock?

I made the original clock from DAS modelling clay. I then made three moulds from this original, and I then cast three clocks from the three moulds.

I did think about making a slideshow about the whole process and then decided that Life Is Too Short.

The essential, minimum details are as follows –

I cast the clock in resin, rather than metal, for two reasons.

The main one was weight – in my experience, miniature metal clocks fall off walls with depressing regularity. Araldite seems to be the only thing that will keep them in place.

Secondly, if I had wanted a metal clock, I would have had to make my master in something like Milliput. I would also have had to send it away to be cast, because I do not have the equipment to do this myself. This would not necessarily have been the more expensive option, but I would have had no control of the process and making changes would have been difficult.

The finished clock is 2 and 1/8th of an inch long, just over 1 inch wide at the widest point and just under 1/4 of an inch deep at its deepest point (54 mm x 25 mm x 7 mm)

The clock dials are reproduced from antique scraps.

(By the way, did you know that most modern clocks are photographed with their hands at 10 minutes to two? This is supposed to give them a “smiley” face.)

***   ***   ***   ***

I bought the mould making and casting supplies from MB Fibreglass   If you are interested in casting (on any scale), I can thoroughly recommend checking out their product range. Their service is excellent too.

I used –

Polycraft GP-3481-F General Purpose RTV Silicone Mould Making Rubber for the mould – http://www.mbfg.co.uk/rtv-silicone/gp-3481-f.html

and

Polycraft SG2000 Paintable Fast Cast Polyurethane Liquid Plastic Casting Resin for the clock – http://www.mbfg.co.uk/liquid-plastics/sg2000.html

This was the first time that I had used either of these and I was very impressed by the performance of both.

Open House Miniatures - Cinderella clock miniature mould and unfinished cast

Last, but by no means least – I would like to thank Susan Mortimer (I am so very, very deeply jealous of her photographs) for bringing David Neat’s WordPress blog to my attention.

If you are interested in casting or working with paper / card to create models, I would urge you to take the time to visit it too – http://davidneat.wordpress.com/

His tutorials are clear, well-presented and full of essential detail and his (mainly London based) list of suppliers is truly impressive.

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Open_House_Miniatures_Fairy_Tale_Theatre_Made_Up

Dear RG,

I have tried to email you, but my message has been returned as “undeliverable”.

In answer to your questions –

Yes, you may.

No, I don’t mind you asking – if you don’t ask, you will never know !

I am sorry, I don’t have a Cinderella scene for this theatre.

I found the parts that I do have in a small second-hand book market that used to be held on the South Bank of the River Thames, by the Royal Festival Hall. It was years and years ago now.

*** *** *** ***
Open_House_Miniatures_Fairy_Tale_Theatre_Proscinium Open_House_Miniatures_Fairy_Tale_Theatre_Curtain Open_House_Miniatures_Fairy_Tale_Theatre_Backdrop Open_House_Miniatures_Fairy_Tale_Theatre_Scenes

*** *** *** ***

The above images above are 80 ppi – They are not the best quality but they are “not bad”.

They should each print onto an A4 piece of paper / card – they are SMALLER than the original pieces.

In order to make the theatre at this size, I would use at least 140 / 160 gsm paper.

Sometimes this weight of paper is sold as “card”.

I am in the UK and I would look for something called “cartridge paper” – basically you will have to find a card / paper that works for you !

Everything that I wrote about scoring, folding, etc for the miniature version of this theatre I would say again for this size.

***   ***   ***   ***

4th May 2013 – Sharon has very kindly shared a couple of links, please see the comments for her full explanation –

I recently came across a link to this “set” on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/taffeta/sets/72157614068345415/

… Images for the theater in this post were published in the magazine in 1924. They can be found starting in the middle of the third row of images… The images are posted by the “owner” of the Agence Eureka blog, where she has posted hundreds of vintage paper projects over the years… http://bibigreycat.blogspot.com/

*** *** *** ***

I have been busy this week, and I am still paying back the “Blog Time” that I borrowed earlier, so to be very, very quickly –

Image7

I make the cloth books as an antidote to “This has to be exactly right” book-binding.

This ABC book is based on one published in the late 19th Century by the McLoughlin Brothers in the USA.

The books are very flexible and can be opened and “posed” in a variety of ways. If they are left open for any length of time they will need to be placed under a solid weight, or between other books on a miniature bookshelf, in order to shut flat again.

The smallest text is just about readable without a magnifying glass.

Just as it does in real-life cloth books, the printing on the interior pages wanders up and down a bit – particularly on the last page.

The top and bottom edges of the pages are slightly rough.

These “faults” are intentional and reflect the condition of the original book.

Size when closed – 1 inch x 3/4 of an inch (2.5 cm x 1.9 cm)

PLEASE NOTE – the books are not “toys”, they are “collector’s items”

Image3

open_house_miniatures_mcloughlin_cloth_book_abc_2

open_house_miniatures_mcloughlin_cloth_book_abc_01

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Open House Miniatures - Theater Bilderbuch - one scene

I haven’t seen many copies of the Theater Bilderbuch, and the (very few) antique ones that I have seen usually resemble the one on the V & A website.

[ Lucia Contreras Flores has an edition on her website that I have never seen before – you may need to scroll down the web-page to find it. ]

There are two modern editions that I know of –

  • a German edition (ISBN 978-3480131631)
  • an English language edition (ISBN 978-0722655368)

and these have been  re-engineered to work on a smaller scale, and using much thinner materials, than the original publications.

In order to make my miniature version work (to my satisfaction) I had to re-work the original construction too.

Open House Miniatures - Theater BilderBuch - construction of one scene

My version was designed for 100 gsm paper (I use the smoothest, best quality that I can find.)

90 gsm paper (in my experience) tends to be a little bit too thin and “soft” and, with repeated opening and shutting of the book, quickly loses its crispness.

I am mentioning this here because I have been experimenting with some paper that was recommended by the printers who do most of my printing.

It is 90 gsm, comes on a large roll and is designed to go through a printer “under tension” – in other words it is thin, smooth and relatively tough. It also gives a superb print finish, with excellent colour reproduction.

The printers call it “proofing paper”.

I still don’t know much about it, but I am quietly excited by the possibilities it seems to offer.

In the following slideshow I am using that “proofing paper”.

I would still say that most 90 gsm papers are probably unsuitable for this project, but you may know of a paper, or discover one, that will work better for you than the 100 gsm that I recommend.

It is definitely worthwhile experimenting !

***   ***

The pdf for this is here –

Theater_Bilderbuch_Christmas_Eve_OHM20130419

– and there is a page for those who like to Make and Do here.

I am going to repeat here what I have written there –

  • Simply click on the link to open the pdf on-line. You can then print it without downloading it.
  • If you want to save the pdf to your computer / a CD / data stick etc. you may do that too.
  • You may use the contents of the pdf for yourself – and if you would like to make 10 of something and try selling them please go ahead, but do think first of all the other people who will be doing exactly the same thing.
  • You may share these projects with your friends and family, and miniature club.
  • You may link to them from your website / blog / satellite station, if you have one
  • You may customise them.
  • You may use them / the design ideas, in whole, or in part, as for inspiration for making your own things.

You may not copy the pdf, or the contents of the pdf, in whole, or in part, and re-sell them.

***   ***   ***

I found the method used to construct the modern German edition of the Theater Bilderbuch very interesting.

The background scene, the text for one play and the front of the next theatre in the series are printed on one sheet and the various sheets are then folded round each other and glued together.

reproduction theater bilderbuch structure

Technicalities aside, the way that the front of the theatre frames the scenes, so that the edges are hidden – even when viewed from an angle – and the way that the overall scene changes depending on the viewer’s position make this (for me) not only an extremely good example of paper engineering, but it is also a wonderful piece of “theatre” – in every sense of the word.

reproduction theater bilderbuch side view

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