Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Therein Lies Treasure...

Hello Everyone,

After a little summer break, it's a new term and a new post.  I thought I'd show you around the drawing room today.  Daviot House has two drawing rooms (two!).  This was not particularly planned (nothing ever seems to be), but grew out of necessity when I realised that I was trying to put 'two rooms into one'.  I had a similar problem with the dining closet, which morphed into a breakfast room and a dining room (more about that another time).  

The drawing room on the first floor has a lovely bay window with a window seat.  I have yet to finialise the curtain situation - for the moment we have a temporary curtain.

A Sue Cook fireplace and Malcolm Hall fire basket.  

The room itself is not very large; 28cm squared, so there have been quite a few constraints.  The biggest problem for a small room is the lighting.  Especially chandeliers.  Most which are available to buy are either too big, or too flashy - Daviot House is not Versailles! So I worked out how to make one that would be just the right size without overpowering the room, or hitting the inhabitants on the head as they walked past.

The chandelier is just the right size for this room

Mostly I wanted to show you this room because it contains quite a few of my treasures.  When I started this blog, it seemed that many people had bottomless pockets to spend on their passion - it still seems that way when I read about people spending thousands upon thousands on a house and contents.  That is not to judge, only to say that it can sometimes be disheartening to a collector with a budget, that our houses just won't be up to scratch. 

An antique miniature above
a working clock from Malcolm Hall

 Ten years later, and I realise that the joy of collecting something is not the ability to spend outrageous sums in an instant, but the gentle coming together of treasured items.  Items that hold meaning, because they were a present, or a fantastic find.  

The miniatures that give me the most pleasure are those that didn't even know they were treasures.  And most of them can be found in the Drawing Room, the most elegant room of the house.

Tarbena mirror above an
Ian Holoran side table

I have always had dolls houses in my life, but my first real 'treasure' was given to me when I was twelve years old.  After a visit to the dentist, my mother and I went to the library where there was a miniatures exhibition.  

An exquisite Delft style plate from a Northern Irish maker

I can't remember much about it, who the exhibitors were, but I came home with the tiniest blue and white plate.  Twenty seven years later, I still have the plate.  It has travelled as much as I have, kept in a jewellry box during the years when I didn't have a miniature house for it.  It has been to boarding school, university, and it even came with me when I moved to France, before I even knew I would become so passionate about miniatures.

 I have searched in vain for the maker over the years.

Faint maker's mark and the date

Two years ago I was trawling on ebay for items and I found a job lot of vases for auction - nothing particularly interesting, mostly imported, but the price for the bundle was a few pounds, and I thought that I would add them to my stash.  

The dragon vase filled with flowers by Ilona, and silver shell dishes by Acquisto and Randall

When I received the order in the post, I was astounded to see that among them, glittering with the most delicate gold, was a perfect vase.  And on the bottom of the vase was the same maker's mark as on the little blue and white dish from many years ago! 

 My heart leapt, and the vase today has pride of place in the Drawing Room, a testament to the joy that my miniatures have given me over the years.

They may not be the most expensive, rare or sought after, but each item in Daviot House represents much more to me, and I do hope that you find many treasures that give you joy for your miniature houses.

An antique print originally from a Georgian dolls house

An extremely hot fire and lit chandelier

Hepplewhite chair I embroidered in front of a beautiful Masters Miniatures sewing table

The stumpwork sewing box I made

The tiniest silver scissors from Don Henry and steel thimble by Danny Shotton

The unfinished sofa and bare floor - the Drawing Room is still a work in progress!

The carpet I am currently working on, of my own design


Saturday, July 13, 2019

P is for... Paper, Paint and Petronella

We had a heatwave a couple of weeks ago - 41°C!  It was terrible because we couldn't go out or do anything, just close the shutters and try to keep cool.  The good thing about making miniatures is that it is calming and relaxing, and so an ideal occupation when stuck indoors.  

I had no energy to take on any big tasks, but a little painting is always fun.  For a corner of the Dining Room, I needed a new painting.  I had been reading about the dolls houses in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, and came across the portrait of Petronella Dunois, the owner of one of the houses.  I though it would be a fitting tribute to have a painting of her in Daviot House.

I carried on the 17th century theme by making a little 'Still Life' arrangement of flowers.  The bowl is a cheap china tureen that I had in my mini-stash, and I painted it with porcelain paint.  You can just about see a little peacock!  I may fill the bowl with more greenery to get that really lush effect of floral still life.  Perhaps if the temperature goes up again?


Thursday, May 9, 2019

Hepplewhite Adorned

I have been busy embroidering over the past few months, and thought I'd show you my most recent work.  I ordered a Hepplewhite suite from Masters Miniatures, and covered the seats with very light cream silk.  The spray of flowers in the centre include roses, lilies and daisies, the summer flowers that are in my real garden around my birthday.

It is extremely difficult to take a satisfactory photo of miniature embroidery!  This one gives you a sense of the scale.  I finished of the seat pads with gold silk cord and tassels - everything looks better with a tassel!

The embroidery is very time consuming, as every stitch counts, but this project was harder than usual, as I had to make the sure the embroidery matched on each chair - not easy with free embroidery, but I think I managed it.

Here are the completed chairs flanking the fireplace in the Drawing Room.  I have yet to complete the sofa that goes with them.

I also made a fire screen for the breakfast room.  It is on light yellow duchesse satin, and the bouquet includes very Jacobite white roses, thistle, bluebells, heather and rowen - all very symbolic of Scotland.  Again the photos don't quite do it justice...

It looks much better in place!

I was very touched by your comments on my last post, and thank you all for welcoming me back,


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Moody Blues or I got stuck!

Sometimes I think I am in control of Daviot House.  I decide what goes in, which rooms are where, which furniture to use etc...  But sometimes, just sometimes, I have the sneaking suspicion that the house has its own opinion.  Some rooms fall into place, and others Get Stuck.

  I last posted A LONG TIME AGO after a Spring Clean, when I changed the colours of the morning room walls.  But something wasn't quite right.  I wasn't happy with the layout, the sofa, the colours.  And I got stuck.  I didn't touch the house for quite a long time - I didn't find a great deal of inspiration, and things weren't working.  

Looking at other people's blogs made me feel a bit guilty that I wasn't being productive, or leaving lovely comments, or joining-in with everyone.  I had contracted that strange disease, 

                                The Miniaturist's Blues!

I think quite a few of us feel it from time to time, often Real Life gets in the way of creativity, and I'm sure some really great miniaturists have disappeared from the blogosphere due to it.  So things were pretty blue in my Mini World!  Well, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  If you feel blue, go blue.  And that is exactly what I did.  Here are the results:

The Breakfast Room in all its splendour, set with the finest silver and blue and white china ...

I painted the porcelain with a dainty pattern...

The table cloth was a wonderful find at a flea market - it is the perfect size for the table, and the lace edging is just about in scale for an Edwardian crochet hem.

 The rug was a very damaged evening bag - although I don't like cutting up antique petit point for miniatures, this was far beyond repair as a bag, and I cleaned, mended and backed it with linen to preserve it.  I love the muted colours!

The panelling and fireplace were inspired by a visit to Fort William in Scotland last year, from a room in the Highlands Museum there, dating to the mid-eighteenth century.  It is very simple, made from cardboard and Das clay.  

There is a rather snooty gentleman in a Tarbena frame, but I do like him, I think he stops the room from being too twee.  The sconces are my usual DIY using elements from Bindels Ornaments, and the clock is by Malcolm Hall on Etsy.  

The breakfast table is set with various pieces of silver, including a fabulous butter dish from Stephen J Randall, a toast rack from Art Forge and a teapot that was rescued from a charm bracelet.  

The egg cups, bud vase and cutlery are pewter from Warwick miniatures.  The stunning tea caddy is from Malcolm Hall.  It was a good Christmas this year!

The corner cupboards are filled with porcelain that I painted myself, and others from my collection from V&R Miniatures, Muriel Hopwood and Deerness ceramics.  

It is very good to have all of my blue and white collection in one place, and I think that the black accents of the sconces and the clock on the mantle piece help to tone down the blue, so it doesn't feel overdone (although my RL addiction to blue and white china has spilled into my miniatures!)

I hope you have enjoyed the Breakfast Room of Daviot House, and forgive me my long absence - I will be back again to keep you updated on other rooms of the house that I have been working on during my sabbatical,


Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Little Spring Cleaning...

Hello again, and thank you so much for your lovely comments about my garden, they are so appreciated!  However, no one managed to spot any Easter eggs... 

 All this spring sunshine has seen me clearing out, cleaning and reorganizing Daviot House.  I thought I'd start with the parlour.  This room has bothered me for quite a while. I love all the pieces in it, but for some reason, they didn't seem to go well together... it seemed a bit stark and cold.  So I found some paint in my stash, I think Dulux Mango, and put a coat on to see it that helped....
plus a rug to tie things together and a different position for the sofa...

I think it works much better now...it's funny how a simple thing like wall colour can change a room.  It is much more sunny and welcoming.  I have to find a good fabric for the curtains, but it is already a big improvement.

I have also started playing around with cold porcelain, making tiny chinoiserie figurines to go on the shelf from Arjen Spinhoven.  I like the little touches of the orient in the parlour, from the Imari plates I painted on the wall to the 'ivory' statues by the fireplace.  

Cold porcelain is super easy to use, and great fun, I much prefer it to fimo, though you have to work really quickly before it starts to cure.  I painted the figurines with porcelain paint.

In my flurry of spring activity, I also started a new bedroom.  This is what it looks like so far... also very spring like.  I hope someone puts Dolly the lovebird back in her cage before the cat finds her...

I started making some clothes for the new season.  Daviot House is an old family home, full of centuries of antiques, but the current date is the 26th April, 1920.  Very specific, I know!  So a white lacey cloche hat with pink roses and a delightful parasol were just the things to go with the cool silk day dress.

And it wouldn't be Latchkey and Jonquil without a little embroidered bag to match!


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Chasse aux Oeufs!

Spring is here, and so is Easter too!

The kitchen garden has been quietly growing over the winter months, and now it is starting to bloom...

There is a very, very early pink rose, and the hostas are starting to crowd the path... There's still a lot of good, brown earth to plant, including in the vegetable patch.

The alpine aquilegias are flourishing...

And the Pierre de Ronsard rose is making a good effort...

Elizabeth's chives are already in flower, as is the Nelly Moser clematis.  The cold frame is still protecting some herb seedings from the dreaded snails!

And look at this!  Someone has left a basket of Easter eggs on the path, ready to hide for the children to find...  How any can you find in the following three photos?

Look carefully!

A few more?

Wishing you a very happy and flourishing Spring!